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Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you know that the biggest event in world sports is going on right now – the World Cup (世界杯 – shì jiè bēi). The 2018 edition is being held in Russia (俄罗斯 – È luó sī) for the first time ever. Although the Chinese team did not make the cut (again), as many as 100,000 Chinese tourists were expected to travel to Russia to experience the World Cup. All over China, people have been staying up late to watch the games in what has been a thrilling and unpredictable tournament thus far. If you’re interested in football but are having a hard time talking about it with your Chinese friends, here’s a list of useful Chinese World Cup vocabulary.
Now see if you can put your Chinese to use by answering a few questions about the World Cup. Feel free to leave a written comment if you’d like!
nǐ xǐ huān zú qiú ma
Do you like football?
nǐ shì zhēn qiú mí hái shì wěi qiú mí
Are you a true fan or a fair-weather fan?
nǐ kàn shì jiè bēi de bǐ sài ma
Do you watch the World Cup matches?
nǐ gěi nǎ ge guó jiā jiā yóu
Which country do you cheer for?
shéi shì nǐ zuì xǐ huān de qiú yuán
Who is your favorite player?
nǐ jué dé nǎ ge guó jiā néng yíng zhè ge shì jiè bēi
Which country do you think will win this World Cup?
As far as China’s World Cup dreams go, the country has only qualified once before in 2002. They lost all three of their matches in the group stage that year and have yet to return. A new generation of Chinese football players are picking up the game at private sports schools, so perhaps they’ll make the cut next time around. If not, at least they have 2026 to look forward to, when the number of teams that qualify will increase from 32 to 48.