World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Biased Chinese commentator apologises

LONDON - China Central Television commentator Huang Jianxiang, who I blogged about yesterday following his over-enthusiastic commentary on Italy's last-minute defeat of Australia, has apologised.
The Associated Press reported the following statement posted on CCTV's website: "In the last minutes of the Italy-Australia game, I added too much personal emotion to my comments. What I said led to the viewers' displeasure, and they have expressed their views and criticisms, and I sincerely apologise."

Anyway, you can re-live every second of his fantastically biased five-minute rant, I mean commentary, here. (Sorry if this is stating the obvious, but it's in Chinese..).
Claire S, blog editor

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:07 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Tony wrote:

Blatant bias should be encouraged in commentators. Nothing worse than a fool trying to be impartial. It's why Sky Sports Fan Zone is always a better listen than sky's usual commentary teams. It's also why Aussie rules commentary improved so much once the likes of MMM and channel 9 got involved. Even as an Aussie I don't think he has anything to apologise for.

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  • 2.
  • At 12:59 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Jak Clark wrote:

the funniest commentary I've ever heard, altho' it probably helped that I couldn't understand a word of it (but, did I need to ? lol)

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  • 3.
  • At 01:14 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Ross wrote:

Fantastic Commentary,
I haven't laughed so much at a sports commentary since Darryl Eastlakes was commentating the weight lifting at the olympics. Initially I thought he was taking the piss with Grosso following in that great Italian tradition of diving.
His outrageous commentary and subsequent "apology" have certainly lightened up my post game blues.
After all the ref only made one error and was far and away the best ref the aussies had at the world cup

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  • 4.
  • At 01:22 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Leigh Matthews wrote:

Can anyone translate EXACTLY what he's saying? I'd like to know just how biased he was being!

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  • 5.
  • At 01:23 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

I didn't understand a word he was saying but it still made laugh. Is there a translation anywhere?

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  • 6.
  • At 01:30 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

As an Englishman living in Argentina, I have been subject for the last seven years to match commentary with more than a little "home" emphasis. During the Argentina - Serbia & Montenegro game, the commentators spent almost as much time making comments about what Brasil, England and France can't do, than talking about the game itself.
Having said that, I like the idea of a national commentator making comments in favour of his country. I've missed not hearing world cup commentry in English (another problem of living overseas - the bbc can't broadcast live commentary on the games, in Enlgish, due to broadcasting deals), but I don't miss the neutral, bland emotion free commentary that so often I've had to endure.

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  • 7.
  • At 01:40 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Leigh Matthews wrote:

Steve & Tony, he wasnt being biased towards his own country though. He was cheering on an entirely different country to spite someone else for entirely personal and derrogatory reasons. This sort of thing can't be tolerated. What if John Motson was cheering on Ghana against Brazil because he'd been to Rio and someone stil one of his coats? The nation would be up in arms, calling for his head!!

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  • 8.
  • At 01:51 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • R Davies wrote:

People want to hear opposing views, so long as they're pretty measured and considered. Take the BBC, Hansen (undoubtedly the best football pundit in the UK) normally takes a position, as do the others they have on. Sky Sports commentary is boring because the whole ethos of the coverage is sell the channel, sell the channel, sell the channel. It's no wonder they're unable to attract anything but the most extraordinarily uninteresting yes men and irritating has-beens like Andy Gray. Buying all the coverage in sight and trying to please everyone by being hopelessly bland and stat-obsessed (thank goodness the World Cup is still on terrestrial) does not good coverage make.

The scary thing for me about the Chinese commentator is the reverence he has for Italy, and his phrasing. Sounds all a bit cultish. But then, what can you expect from an administration that prides loyalty above all else...?

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  • 9.
  • At 01:52 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Jimbo wrote:

I for one love the impartiality of BBC commentary.

So often, whilst watching games on ITV, I find myself screeching at the TV whilst the commentators make outlandish statements about English performances. Or when they whinge about refereeing decisions going against the national team when really there's very little to complain about.

The problem with trying to 'fight your corner' whilst commentating is that this often leads commentators to make statements which bend the truth. If we are honest with ourselves we don't build ourselves up for a fall and this makes success (if ever this comes along) all the more sweet.

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There's no word-for-word translation I can find, but i quoted chunks of it in English here yesterday.

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  • 11.
  • At 02:13 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Iwan wrote:

Nice to hear some measured comments Jimbo. I would disagree that the BBC are impartial however. There is a rather large dose of England cheerleading on display along with (similar to the Chinese commentator) an obvious emnity to other nations. Germany and Argentina are two obvious ones - were forever being told how 'we' don't want to see them win the WC. Really. C'mon Argentina!

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  • 12.
  • At 02:13 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Ray wrote:

I don't think he has to appologize to what he said. It is just a football game and nothing else. If you are a real football fan, you don't have to hide your emotion during the match, otherwise you will lose your passion obviously. So at that moment, he was a real football fan as a football commentator.

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  • 13.
  • At 02:15 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Geraint wrote:

I love that.
Only an Englishman would claim that the BBC's coverage was impartial.
Ask a Welshman or Scotsman what they think of it!

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  • 14.
  • At 02:17 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Ray wrote:

I don't think he has to appologize to what he said. It is just a football game and nothing else. If you are a real football fan, you don't have to hide your emotion during the match, otherwise you will lose your passion obviously. So at that moment, he was a real football fan as a football commentator.

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  • 15.
  • At 02:27 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Rob Mannel wrote:

I think our commentators go the other way though and are far too negative in their commentary of England games.
I'm sure Motson must think that England should be soooooooooooooo good that the opposition are unable even to enter our half. He certainly seems to want to conduct a major inquest each time the opposition dares have a shot at out goal.
News flash for you John!!! There are some good teams out there and even the not so good teams are pretty good nowadays.
It also annoys me how our commentators describe the likes of Brazil as if they are almost God like.

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  • 16.
  • At 03:08 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Ziyang wrote:

A native Cantonese speaker translating from Potunghua or Mr. Huang:

"--- Grosso, Grosso, Grosso has achieved it!! PENALTY! PENALTY! PENALTY! Don't give them a chance! The great Italian left-back, inheriting the glorious Italian tradition, Fachetti, Maldini, ..., Grosso, he on his own represents the long and great Italian football tradition. This is not an individual's fight. He is not on his own. Totti, Totti faces this penalty. He is facing all the eyes of Italian fans of the whole world. Schwarzer saved two penalties in the World Cup playoff. Can he face this man in front of him? What will be his complexion 10 seconds later? [HE] SCORED. THE GAME ENDS! ITALY WINS, KNOCKING OUT AUSTRALIA! THEY DON'T FALL IN FRONT OF A HIDDINK TEAM AGAIN! ITALY THE GREAT! THE GREAT ITALIAN LEFT-BACK! MALDINI, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! VIVA ITALIA! Bearing all Italians' aspirations, this penalty is absolutely the archetypical coup de grace. Italy now in the last eight. Victory belongs to Italy, belongs to Grosso, to Cannavaro, to Buffon, to Zambrotta, to Maldini, TO ALL LOVERS OF ITALIAN FOOTBALL. Maybe Australia will regret in the 2nd half, when with 1 man more, Hiddink played too conservatively. He has lost his courage. something unclear He finally tasted his own medicine. They should go home. They don't need to return to the faraway Australia. Most of them live in Europe. Goodbye!

===================================
Much funnier than any translation at work! Cheers! BTW not all countries have Great Britain's glorious tradition of neutral commentaries exemplified by the BBC. Don't get too serious, English fans!

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  • 17.
  • At 03:17 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Ray wrote:

Please see Huang's comments translated into English by someone.

"Penalty! Penalty! Penalty!" "Grosso's done it, Grosso's done it!

"The great Italian left back! He succeeded in the glorious traditions of Italy! Facchetti, Cabrini and Maldini, their souls are infused in him at this moment!

"Grosso represents the long history and traditions of Italian soccer, he's not fighting alone at this moment! He's not alone!"

"Goooooal! Game over! Italy win! Beat the Australians!"
"They do not fall in front of Hiddink again! Italy the great! Left back the great! Happy birthday to Maldini! Forza Italia!

"The victory belongs to Italy, to Grosso, to Cannavaro, to Zambrotta, to Buffon, to Maldini, to everyone who loves Italian soccer!

"Hiddink ... lost all his courage faced with Italian history and traditions ... He finally reaped fruits which he had sown! They should go home. They don't need to go as far away as Australia as most of them are living in Europe. Bye!"

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  • 18.
  • At 03:37 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Weast wrote:

As a Chinese living in UK, I think there is a clear line between a football fan and a football commentator. The latter is a profession and should be performed with a professional manner.

It is perfectly fine for Mr. Huang to be over excited with Italy at home by himself. But for a TV commentator, he sounds to be biased in the favour of Italy.

He could ONLY be excited with his national team if China could be in the World Cup. Othewise he should apply for a job in Italian TV station.

What if Australians won the match? What would he say? I wonder...

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  • 19.
  • At 04:04 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Super noodles wrote:

You can get most of the good bits translated here...

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/06/28/1151174235245.html

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  • 20.
  • At 04:18 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Aussie Jim wrote:

Biased, but very funny.

Italy can have their quarter final, at least we still have our dignity.

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  • 21.
  • At 04:33 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Paolo, Milan, Italy wrote:

A similar row just stirred up in Italy, regarding an article written by a German Journalist (Achim Achilles) on "Der Spiegel Online". The gentleman calls italians "parasite life forms", and a long line of other compliments... Well, they also wrote an apology in german and italian at the end of the article.

Why don't journalists concentrate on football instead of judging nations and peoples?

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  • 22.
  • At 04:52 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Rory wrote:

Bias is extremely annoying in commentators. Espicially English ones. Dont they realise I would like to hear about the other team as well???
The best commentator of any sport was Rugby Union's Bill McLaren, a gentlemen and a scholar that always managed to entertain and never got on anyones nerves by biased commentary. If Scotland got thrashed and deserved it he said so, he always told it as it was.
Motty et al could learn alot.

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  • 23.
  • At 04:56 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Philip Tibbetts wrote:

I think the BBC is good at being impartial. It also succeeds in showing support for England but balancing it with criticism and praise.
I believe the sourness that sometimes surfaces elsewhere in the British Isles against coverage of English teams is a form of hyper-sensitivity where they notice 'bias' where it doesnt actually occur.
Funnily it is forgotten how the media can equally go crazy for the other British Teams. Ie Olympic Curling, Andy Murray, Scotland 1-0 Holland, and even Irelands Triple Crown highlights from the 6 Nations is avaliable on DVD and they didnt even win the tournament itself!
These instances aren't bias, but rightful celebration and shouldnt stop. What should stop is the sulky bitterness, sensitivity and double standards.
There was actually an article on this very subject in an Irish newspaper that I was shown by an Irish friend of mine a few days ago (we are both studying abroard in Denmark currently.)

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  • 24.
  • At 05:00 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • hex_enduction_hour wrote:

I agree totally with the comments on watching BBC punditry from a non-English point of view. As an Irishman I find it almost impossible to watch an England match on BBC (or for that matter ITV) because reason goes out the window. Motson, for example, practically wets his pants with excitement any time England even approach the opposition's penalty box. It's a shame because, aside from England games, I think the BBC's coverage has been really good.

Instead of BBC I've tried watching the England games on RTE (the Irish national broadcaster) but that's no good either as the half-time pundits are fanatically anti-England, the team can do nothing right in their eyes. So I've resorted to just turning the sound off during England games as it's just too irritating on either channel. Sad but true.

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  • 25.
  • At 05:02 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • zargorn wrote:

I think bias may be a little worse in china than it is for the BBC. Those people don't have their own team playing. They follow european football a lot and know many players. They cheer for different teams. So if you are biased you will certainly offend half of your viewers.

The BBC should at least have a focus on the English team. And they do.

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  • 26.
  • At 05:07 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • Frank wrote:

ITV commentator wanted the whole Portugal team to be banned before playing England. That is SHAME and LAME!!! Bias is all over English television. Really Really SHAME!!!

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  • 27.
  • At 05:29 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • DaveH wrote:

You may find this strange, but I'm an English England supporter, and I agree that the commentary for England games on both the BBC and ITV is absolute garbage, and extremely irritating. The commentators (and especially Motson), seem to think that the England players have super-powers or something. They're hyper-critical of any small error, and over-enthusiastic about anything that anybody does that's positive. They also appear to try to reflect whatever the current media take is within their commentary - hence Owen Hargreaves couldn't do anything right at first, but now he's an integral part of the team. I'm surprised that Wayne Rooney hasn't been asked to wear his underpants outside his shorts...
As for when Brazil play... Ronaldinho only has to touch the ball and the commentators wet their pants with excitment. Ronaldo was just there for them to laugh at in the first game - now he's scored a few he's back to being the greatest striker ever to have graced the world cup..

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A commentator should have some responsibility during the commentary as fans of the both team hear the commentary and if they find something very personal opinion and supportive comments then the fans should be disheartened. So, it needs to be conscious about the personal feelings and the feelings of the fans of the both sides. Here, one thing can be considered that the commentators are not beyond the human characteristics so it should be treated positively as the commentator apologized himself.

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  • 29.
  • At 10:49 PM on 28 Jun 2006,
  • lei_lei wrote:

i think Huang's commentary is hilarious and so much more entertaining than "unbiased" opinion. What shocked me was he actually remembers to wish Maldini a happy birthday! That just tells me he is "true blue". It also takes a lot of guts to say what he did on CCTV.

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  • 30.
  • At 12:28 AM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • Thomas Ng wrote:

Huang's commentary is gut-busting and is much better than your typical run-of-the-mill commentary you hear everyday. Yes, I understood every word of it. Who are we kidding, everyone is biased, and it's worse to cover it up. Of course, there is the fine line of what you should say on TV as a commentator, but as long as he apologized, I see no harm in what he did, as it's human nature. He does have a lot of guts to say that on Chinese television.

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  • 31.
  • At 03:17 AM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • hbs wrote:

As a Chinese who have stayed in the U.S. for sometime, I have something to say about this. I have been to UK several times and I have watched British commentaries on soccer matches. If the opponent of Australia is China, I can totally understand Huang's excitement on that, but I feel it's ridiculous to be so biased towards Italy for a Chinese commentator. I do believe that if he is watching the match himself at his home, it's natural to express his feelings like that, but he is a commentator whose voice is to be heard by millions of Chinese audience, most of whom are not Italian fans. A commentator can have his own taste, but he needs to show respect to both teams. One thing that is not inaccurate in the translation is that in addition to the saying that "They (The aussies) should go home", there's another Chinese word which means "go home" but is much more irritating and insulting. I do believe if a commentator in ESPN or FoxSports says such kind of words, he or she would be immediately sacked. As a summary, a commentator needs to show respect to both teams.

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  • 32.
  • At 03:35 AM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • hbs wrote:

I have something more to say about this commentator, Huang Jianxiang.

I have watched the video of his explanation after his commentary of the match. His main points are:

1. During the 1981 World Cup Asian qualifying stage China and New Zealand compete for one "admission ticket". China lost to New Zealand and Huang, who was a teenager at that time, hated New Zealand very much as, according to him, "they are all players from Europe who holds New Zealand passports". That's why in his commentary he used the sentence "They don't need to go as far away as Australia as most of them are living in Europe". I don't know what others think, but I do believe first, it's ridiculous to blame Australia for what New Zealand have done, second I think Huang needs to blame his own team first for not being able to beat the New Zealand team instead of blaming New Zealand used European players for the matches. As we all know, New Zealand is an immigration country, how can you expect a New Zealand team without European immigrants?

2. Australia is going to join the Asian Football Association (AFA) after the World Cup and Huang thinks this would make China more difficult to enter the World Cup. Again I don;t know what others might think, but I do believe the most effective way to enter the World Cup is to strengthen yourself instead of preventing other strong teams or players to enter.

Therefore I do believe his explanation was as ridiculous as his commentary and it's a shame for a commentator who needs to show respect for both teams.

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  • 33.
  • At 05:13 PM on 29 Jun 2006,
  • storyteller wrote:

I wrote a complaint about the followinig news:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5125016.stm
saying that according to me, Huang Jianxiang DIDN'T say anything similar to "I hate Australia",as written in the news.
But the mistake remains the same. Like it or not,as there is political connotation in it, I hope the editor can take it responsibly.

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  • 34.
  • At 01:16 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • ToBBC wrote:

I agree with " storyteller". That is a quite stupid translation mistake for such a "famous" company.
I am a Japanese living in Germany. Here, English fan is called "english dog" by German football fans. They think english just know how to bark like dogs, but never execute it. like the matches between England and Germany, Germany won the most matches. And english are not welcome in Germany, I also saw english fans want to aggravate german, so terrible!! Maybe football, China can not compare with Australia, but in Olympic Game, Australian... I am "sympathy" u.

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  • 35.
  • At 09:55 PM on 02 Jul 2006,
  • Jamie wrote:

There have been an awful lot of horrific, cringe worthy moments on the BBC over the last few weeks, what with all the ridiculous "big up England" nonsense, but yesterdays commentary where "John Motson?" -perhaps another commentator- referred to the Current "German" team as WEST Germany really took the biscuit! I mean, THE IDIOCY!! How long was Germany even Divided?? How long has it been united!?? That kind of stupidity should warrant a sacking as it garnered disguist from a full Irish pub, branding this commentator and English representitive an IDIOT!! Bad enough most English people still believe the REPUBLIC of Ireland is in the UK....but to regard Germany as WEST Germany in this era defies belief!

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  • 36.
  • At 05:23 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

please, i urge someone to translate this to english and let people from western democracy know our culture, our speeches, our thoughts and our heroism(麻木颂拜的英雄主义) under a totalitarian regiem and a mindless education system. i am western-educated chinese and i can say chinese should be ashamed of ourselves, we are so far away from modern/western civilisation. another example of chinese gutted (中国人又一次出洋相了).

i done my primary and secondary school in china, and my gcse, a-level and bachelor degree in the uk. i can feel the deep-root and dramatice differences between 2 education systems, (even edu in the US is more liberal than the UK). Please forgive us, the chinese people, it is not our thoughts, we are peace loving but the way we live is under tight control, fairly comparable to nazi.

Dannyellow88 &&& krojbbjork are so right, in china, it is full to hatred. why??? look at the CULTRAL REVOLUTION 40 years ago.

the CULTURAL REVOLUTION is all about 介级斗争,你斗我,我斗你,你死我活. (excuse me, i can not put this in english) and today, chinese people still have not recovered from the cultural revolution

AS CHINA IS BECOMING THE ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER,IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE WEST TO UNDERSTAND OUR NATION, OUR HISTORY, OUR CULTURE, OUR DIVERSITY AND OUR PLACE IN THIS WORLD, ESPACIALLY THE YOUNG GENERATION.

as a matter of interest, how would he comments on Italy VS China?

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  • 37.
  • At 05:29 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • terryterryterry wrote:

please, i urge someone to translate this to english and let people from western democracy know our culture, our speeches, our thoughts and our heroism(麻木颂拜的英雄主义) under a totalitarian regiem and a mindless education system. i am western-educated chinese and i can say chinese should be ashamed of ourselves, we are so far away from modern/western civilisation. another example of chinese gutted (中国人又一次出洋相了).

i done my primary and secondary school in china, and my gcse, a-level and bachelor degree in the uk. i can feel the deep-root and dramatice differences between 2 education systems, (even edu in the US is more liberal than the UK). Please forgive us, the chinese people, it is not our thoughts, we are peace loving but the way we live is under tight control, fairly comparable to nazi.

Dannyellow88 &&& krojbbjork are so right, in china, it is full to hatred. why??? look at the CULTRAL REVOLUTION 40 years ago.

the CULTURAL REVOLUTION is all about 介级斗争,你斗我,我斗你,你死我活. (excuse me, i can not put this in english) and today, chinese people still have not recovered from the cultural revolution

AS CHINA IS BECOMING THE ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER,IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE WEST TO UNDERSTAND OUR NATION, OUR HISTORY, OUR CULTURE, OUR DIVERSITY AND OUR PLACE IN THIS WORLD, ESPACIALLY THE YOUNG GENERATION.

as a matter of interest, how would he comments on Italy VS China?

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  • 38.
  • At 01:25 AM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • mayonmoo wrote:

Oh...it's just a game...football forever...

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