By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- The shock announcement a week ago
that Brazilian midfielder Paulinho was leaving Barcelona after
just one season to return to Guangzhou Evergrande put the
Chinese Super League in the headlines; not easy during the World
There were nine
players participating in Russia who now ply their trade in
China, helping to give more credibility to a competition which
is gaining in strength every season, but is still seen by some
as the jungle for a player’s international hopes.
That was the opinion
of young Uruguay striker Maxi Gomez, who opted to stay at Celta
Vigo in January to further his international aspirations and he
was partly successful, with a good season in Spain and a place
in the Uruguay squad which reached the quarterfinals.
thinks differently and playing in China didn’t damage his
chances of forming part of the Brazil side before his year with
Barcelona. Nor has it harmed the chances of his teammate Renato
Augusto, who made three substitute appearances in this World Cup
and scored the header which gave his side momentary hope as they
lost their quarterfinal 2-1 to Belgium.
Playing for Belgium
was Yannick Carrasco, another player who took the opposite view
to Maxi Gomez in January when he left Atletico Madrid to play
for Dalian Yifang.
Carrasco remains a
key part of the Belgium side which thrilled everyone on their
way to the semifinals although he had to be content with a
substitute appearance in their 1-0 defeat to France.
Axel Witsel benefited from Belgium coach Roberto Martinez’s
plans in the same game, starting in central midfield and
producing another typical battling display against Paul Pogba
and N’Golo Kante.
defender Jose Fonte is a teammate of Carrasco at Dalian Yifang
and although you could argue the 34-year-old saw a move to China
as the chance for one last big payday, his international career
didn’t suffer and he was a key part of the side which qualified
for the knockout round.
another La Liga escape in January when he joined Hebei Fortune,
was a fixture for Argentina as they limped through to the last
16. The years caught up with the ‘Jefecito’ in Russia and
although his courage was unfailing, his pace let him down. He
has since announced his retirement from international football.
No one knows how far
Jon Obi Mikel’s Nigeria could have gone had they not narrowly
lost to Argentina in their last group game. Mikel played that
vital game just hours after receiving a call to tell him his
father had been kidnapped, a secret he kept to himself for what
must have been a traumatic 90 minutes.
Yatai’s Odion Ighalo failed to set the World Cup on fire and
ended up without a goal in one start and two substitute
Kim Young-Gwon, who
will soon link up again with Paulinho at Guangzhou Evergrande,
was a fixture in the South Korean defense, playing all 90
minutes of every game, including their historic win against
Those big name
players playing in China have more or less lived up to their
reputation, nevertheless, if the Chinese Super League is to
improve its status, it needs to attract more young players like
Carrasco, rather than veterans like Fonte and Mascherano, who
can add experience, but whose presence will only ever be
China police smash
over 100 football betting rings during World Cup
BEIJING China (Xinhua) --
Chinese police have handled more than 300
football gambling cases and busted over 100 football betting
rings during the ongoing World Cup, said the Ministry of Public
involved in the cases exceeded 1 billion yuan (151 million U.S.
dollars), said the ministry.