Frigin’ Flags

Being a Canadian it goes somewhat against our (lack of) national identity to watch any sport other than hockey when the Stanley Cup is on… however, in China the madness is all about the quest for a different Cup.

Of course I’m talking World Cup. Yup, for any Canucks reading this, there is indeed a whole other major sporting event happening right now. You may have heard pepperings of Fifa World Cup fever in between how the Oilers are trying desperately to hold on in the finals.

Being my first time in a country that cares about the World Cup while the World Cup is on, it’s an experience to say the least. Though my ill-informed self is learning little in the way of how this football thing is played (I understand it about as much as I understand N.A. football, which means I know it involves a field, and kicking), I have noticed something startling.

Countries are about as creative as a Chinese counterfeiter when it comes to their flags. Now I’m sure they’re just chock full of patriotic import, but honestly… there could be a bit more variation.

Take, for example, last night’s match between Serbia and Montenegro and The Netherlands.


Or the one a little later in the evening (+8h – Beijing time) with Mexico facing off against Iran.


Of course there are differences, but it made distinguishing who had 3 and who had 1 a bit tough (again, I know nothing about football, so stuff your “Of COURSE Mexico would have three, ya knob!” sentiments).

In fact, as I was getting these flags, I noticed Ireland‘s and The Ivory Coast‘s flags…


True, Ireland’s a bit under-represented in Germany right now, and so there’s not likely going to be much confusion on the television … but really?

I do understand there’s a limit to the colours that work on a flag, and again, I know that there are likely very good historical-political reasons for the use of these colours, but really…

Respectively: Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Western Sahara.

Can you imagine if there was a major war that pitted any of these countries against one another. A lot of friendly fire casualties I think.

9 Responses

  1. Hi Ryan,

    I see your point. When the Dutch and Servia Montenegro flags were carried onto the field I was a bit lost too. But as a Dutch I’ll have to defend the Dutch fans who, instead of using the flag colors, have taken the color orange to the next level. There’s no other color that stands out from crowds of football fans like the Dutch orange.

    Are you supporting any team in particular?

  2. Seems like the abbreviation of World Cup is WC(toilet), that means football fans in all over the world have to be obsessed in it long as one month’s time,Haha, kind of collective action. What a miracle!

    Hey Ryan,It’s unbelievable that you just divert your attention to the distinguishing flags. so, Peter, I don’t think he is a big fan of any teams.

  3. @Peter: Haha, yeah, orange is a good pick.

    As for who I support… I’m drawn. I mean, do I go with North American teams, or go with my embitterment that Canada was the only N.A. team not to go to the World Cup? If so, then do I support another “Western” team like England or Australia or do I go with an Asian (Japan or Korea) team because I call Asia home now?

    Basically, jury is still out. I think I’m going to watch the Korean game tomorrow and might come out of it a full-on Red Devil supporter. I’ll probably play the World Cup like I play the Stanley Cup… tier my support so as I’ve always got somewhere to go when my team fails (I’m a Toronto Maple Leaf’s fan).

    @Kate: Yeah… it’s a bit like asking a Chinese person who they’re supporting in the Stanley Cup. But, without someone to support, it does get kind of boring watching the games, and as there’s no hockey on CCTV … I’ll work out someone (leaning towards Korea).

    And as for the WC thing… interesting observation. Toilet humour. You’ve brought my comments down to toilet humour. 🙂 As everyone but those in China are unfamiliar with the overused and outdated W.C. (water closet), I think we’re safe. Actually, come to think of it, I’ve done my share of toilet-related posting.

  4. Get supporting England! You know it makes sense! And then (if you fully imbibe the English way of thinking) you can have a great moan when we inevitably get knocked out “unfairly”!! It’s the English way!

    Re your flag argument, it goes even further when teams wear kits that don’t even resemble their nations flag! For example, every Chinese persons favourite team, Japan, wear blue… but pray tell – where is the blue on the Japanese flag?! And the Italians, their first choice kit is also blue, their nickname is the “Azzurri” (the blues) but again – where’s the blue on their flag?! Australia’s first choice is green shorts and a yellow top & socks, but the last time I had the misfortune to look at their flag I could’ve sworn it contained only blue, white and red.

    With most kits there’s logic, e.g. the English 1st choice kit not only uses the same colours as the George Cross but features the cross on both shoulders. I’m assured by my mates that study Italian that there’s some logic regarding the Italian kit (something to do with some old royal house or something.. I kinda trailed off listening half way through).

    Oh well! Just sit back, enjoy the flowing football and take pride when your colonial cousins England go on to win the trophy!

  5. Oh soccer’s on tv again? Hmmm. I’ve been wrapped up in Stanley Cup fever…(Go Canes!). Oh and still shaking my noggin over the giant flame shooting oil rig the Oilers had on the ice at the start of the game. That’s a serious WTF! And with all the musical talent in Canada, hard to imagine why they had the “opera” singer/dentist doing the anthem thang.

    Although, I will say it was a nice moment to hear the crowd sing, “O Canada” with such passion. It’s been a rough couple weeks with the whole Toronto trrst ring and all, so I imagine national pride is kicking in.

    Oh, do Canadians play “soccer” or “football”??

    Cheers mate! And good luck to yer Oilers!


  6. @db: We Play Hockey! 😉 But yeah, we call it “soccer” too. I do agree with the widely accepted argument that “football” is a much better name for it though, having a helluva lot more to do with feet than American/Canadian football. I was spared the singing/drilling … haven’t caught a game yet. Need to see if anyone is streaming them live online.

    Oh, just an FYI about Oilers vs. Hurricanes… the Canadian team members to American team members ratio on the Oilers is 20:5 (out of 32 players), and on the Hurricanes it’s 11:10 (out of 28 players). Whomever wins, two things are for certain: 1] Canada owns the Cup. 😉 and 2] I’m a loser with too much time on my hands.

    @Tom: England will be one of my tiers (tears?).

  7. With Rogers having exclusive advertising rights to the World Cup in Canada (like Bell with the Olympics), we’ve been showing every game on our 42″ HD LCD at my store. We definitely have the WC fever flowing through Rogers! Too bad we don’t have a team to support… =P I’m always one to support the underdogs (hey, someone has to support the little guys!). Go Trinidad-Tobago for holding off the Sweeds! And the Ausies kicking Japan’s ass!? Who saw that one coming!! I’ve never been a football/soccer fan until this year… but then, it does help sales when you know what you’re talking about. ;9

    As for the flags, that is why I will never stop loving Canada’s!

  8. That’s really interesting. I’d never thought about the similarities of different countries’ flags before. At least our two countries’ flags are unmistakable. And I’ve always rather admired Canada for choosing a flag that isn’t just another version of the Union Jack (like those backwards Austrailian blokes). And regarding hockey: We (Anaheim) were so close this year, but, like some other Anaheim professional sports teams I might mention, they let us down again.

  9. Yeah… love or hate the Canadian flag, it’s easily recognizable. That is until it’s on a poorly printed, b&w schedule of the World Cup games… then it looks remarkably like Mexico. Should you exclaim this however, expect your Korean students to laugh at you.

    Oilers are still hangin’ in there… OT goals lose all excitement when read the next day on… If it goes to a game seven, I need to convince someone to put it on in one of the bars here in town.

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