Chinese fans win the award for World Cup fanaticism.
China didn't qualify for the 2006 World Cup, but that doesn't mean locals are ignoring the tournament. The viewing audience in
China for the England-Paraguay match on the second day of the tournament was 62.9 million people -- larger than the populations of England and Paraguay combined.
The Chinese media are
filled with reports on the extremes fans are going to watch the tournament, which is broadcast in the middle of the night.
In Fujian province, a woman awoken to hear her husband yelling
during the Argentina-Ivory Coast match turned off the television in their living room only to be locked by her husband in their bedroom. The husband turned the TV back on and continued to watch
the game, all the while ignoring his wife's loud protests to let her out.
In Beijing, a fan was so enthralled by Tuesday's France-Spain game he refused to let the small matter of his
house burning down keep him from watching the Bleus' dramatic comeback.
"When the neighbors shouted 'Fire!" I took my little baby and ran out in my nightclothes," the man's wife told
the Beijing Daily Messenger
. "My husband paid no attention to the danger, just grabbed the television and put it under his arm. After getting out of
the house, he then set about finding an electric socket to plug in and continue watching his game."