Reports have emerged that FIFA World Cup 2022 champions Argentina may be set to play Australia in a friendly international football fixture in Beijing.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that an “independent promoter” approached the Australian and Argentinian football governing bodies earlier this year.
The match could be played at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium – built for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games – though the fixture has not yet been confirmed.
A spokesperson for Football Australia – the country’s football governing body – said they were “actively investigating potential match opportunities” for the Australian national team in June.
The Socceroos reached the Round of 16 at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, before being knocked out by none other than Argentina.
Argentina, of course, would go on to beat France in the final of the competition, leading captain Lionel Messi to firmly cement his place in history as a true footballing legend.
The Sydney Morning Herald goes on to note that since winning the competition, Argentina have become “the most in-demand and possibly most expensive opponent in the international game.”
China’s national team failed to qualify for FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, finishing second from bottom of their qualifying group, above only Vietnam.
On the domestic scene, a number of clubs from the Chinese Super League (CSL) – the country’s top professional football league – have collapsed in recent years due to financial woes.
One of said clubs includes Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic Football Club where players had to resort to delivering takeout (waimai) and driving Didi taxis.
However, when it comes to watching the beautiful game, including international matches, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm from the Middle Kingdom.
During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, China contributed around 655.7 million views, or 18.4% of the global total. Some estimates put the number of views for Qatar 2022 at over a billion on Chinese social media platform Douyin alone.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that if the Argentina-Australia fixture is confirmed, there’ll be a fair few people heading to the Bird’s Nest.
[Cover image via Wikipedia]