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Chinese commentator in spotlight for losing his cool in World Cup broadcast
27/6/2006 17:10

A Chinese World Cup commentator caused an uproar in the country as he shouted "Long Live Italy" and declared "I don't like Team Australia" after Italy knocked out Australia on a last-minute penalty shot in Cologne of Germany yesterday.
Huang Jianxiang, a commentator for national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), lost his cool as Francesco Totti scored a penalty in the last minute of stoppage time to give 10-man Italy a 1-0 win over Australia in the World Cup second round.
The 38-year-old Huang shouted himself hoarse after Italian defender Fabio Grosso tumbled over Lucas Neill's challenge in the Australian box. As Francesco Totti blasted home the penalty, Huang shrieked in excitement.
"Biased and crazy as he is, Huang Jianxiang has to quit as a soccer show host," a netizen named Ximen Yidao posted on Xinhua News Agency's portal
Popular Chinese portals such as and's online discussion forums were flooded with messages about Huang's outburst on Tuesday. More Web surfers blasted at Huang than those siding with him.
"Huang went too far," said a message on Sina. "He shouldn't extol an ugly-playing Italian team and ridiculed the brave Australian squad."
As Australia coach Guus Hiddink disputed Italy's last gasp penalty which killed Australia's World Cup dream, Huang said Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo's decision was wise.
"It was an undisputed penalty," shouted Huang in the last minute of the game.
"Grosso made it! He made it! Don't give Australia any chance! Great Italian left defender. Grosso alone represents the long and deep tradition of Italian soccer. He is not fighting alone.
"Totti! He is about to take the shot. He shoulders the expectations of the whole world.
"It's a goal! Game over! ... Italy didn't fall to Hiddink's team this time (Hiddink had led South Korea to oust Italy in the 2002 World Cup). Happy birthday to Paolo Maldini (born on July 26)! Long Live Italy!"
Huang then turned to the Socceroos: "Go home! But they don't need to fly back to Australia which is too far away. Most of them live in Europe. Bye-bye."
Huang was unrepentant for his controversial comments in the post-game satellite linkup with the Beijing newswroom.
"I am a human being, not a machine, and I can't be impartial all the time," he said.
"Australia reminded me of a lousy team which eliminated China in the World Cup qualifiers in 1981. Australia is just like New Zealand team that beat us in 1981.
"It (Australia) is full of neutralized Australians who play and live in Britain. I don't care about the Australian team and don't want to see Australia have good results in the World Cup.
"Australia (which has joined the Asian Football Confederation) now will fight for an Asian World Cup berth and it may not be good enough to handle South Korea and Japan. But it will very likely take advantage of the Chinese team. So I don't like it."
Beijing newsroom host Zhang Bin tried several times to interrupt Huang to avoid further damage, but Huang rattled on until the linkup was severed.
Zhang then tried to make up, apple-polishing the hard-fighting Australians and guru coach Hiddink in the rest of the program.
Despite Chinese soccer remains at a low level, its soccer media is as racy as its English and German counterparts.
Chinese TV hosts' preferences can be easily heard in their comments. CCTV reporters and commentators usually favor traditional powers such as England, Italy, Argentina and Germany. In the 2002 World Cup, CCTV hostess Sheng Bin stunned millions of Chinese audiences as she openly wept at Argentina's early exit.
China's sports media took off after the nation launched a professional soccer league in 1994 and began broadcasting English and Italian soccer on state television.
A newfound passion for the sport, combined with rising incomes, fuelled demand for more colorful and informative news. As the market becomes more competitive, China's fledgling soccer paparazzi can do anything for a story.

Xinhua By Sportswriter Cao Jianjie