Sunday evening saw the Asia Cup Women's finals at the Chengdu Stadium.
Host country China failed to qualify for the women's World Cup for the first time ever, and for the first time in nine years, the country did not qualify for the Asia Cup. The disappointing turn of events led their coach to resign from her position.
Since the Democratic People's Republic of Korea lost against Japan in the Group A games, but Japan won against China but lost against Australia in the semi-finals, China won against Australia, tied with South Korea, and lost against the DPRK in the semi-finals; and Australia lost against China, it was determined that the DPRK and Australia would face off in the final round.
The stadium was mostly empty, save for a few clusters of vocal Australian and DPRK fans, alongside locals who came along for a look.
After the players came out on the field, national anthems for both countries were played over the stadium's tinny loudspeakers.
Australia managed to score one goal in the first half. Shortly after the second half started, the DPRK team scored a goal, and then the rain started pouring down, leaving all but the most die-hard fans (who merely deployed umbrellas) scrambling to covered seats and the players slipping and sliding all over the field and frequently running into and sometimes over one another.
Australia clinched the cup after overtime and penalty shots (DPRK missed one of theirs), and then, on the muddy field, the awards for the Women's Asia Cup 2010 were handed out.
FIFA Women's World Rankings
Japan + DPRK fifth
Most Valuable Player
Jo Yun-Mi (DPRK)
Kozue Ando - 3 goals throughout the matches (Japan)
People's Republic of China
As you can probably tell by this post, we don't even know anything about football, nor are we particularly interested in the sport either as players or as spectators. Nonetheless it was fun to see a game in Chengdu, especially one featuring the mystery-shrouded DPRK team. So it was a surprise to see so many empty seats in the stadium, especially considering that tickets were being scalped right in front of the stadium for as little as RMB10.
Finally, what everybody wants to see: Asian cheerleaders
Photo courtesy Syndey Morning Herald