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Adam Minter

Iraq Loss Final Straw for China's Soccer Lovers: Adam Minter

Death, destruction and corruption -- the raw materials of a Chinese online frenzy. In just the last few months, netizens have vented on Chinese microblogs about shoddy infrastructure, government loan sharks and the decline in public morality. And in the early morning of Nov. 12, they let out a long, collective howl shortly after China fell to Iraq 1-0 in a qualifying soccer match for the 2014 World Cup.

The loss all but eliminated China's long beleaguered national team from the next edition of the world’s premier soccer tournament, and left the ascendant global power's soccer-loving netizens wondering why, if their country can field the world’s second largest economy in three decades time, they can’t also field a World Cup qualifier.