Wed, Mar 06, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Smart money in Taiwan on Brazil for World Cup

By Jules Quartly  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Taiwan lags behind most other countries in Asia when it comes to soccer, but there will be solid support for the World Cup when it kicks off at the end of May.

A survey of the Asian market in January this year found that 56 percent of Taiwanese plan to watch the tournament on TV.

Part of the reason for the demand is that it will be the first time the World Cup will be held in Asia -- in South Korea and Japan from May 31 to June 30.

It was found that 56 percent of Taiwanese men and 31 percent of Taiwanese women would be tuning in to the World Cup.

Most Taiwanese are betting on Brazil to win the World Cup, with 45 percent of respondents picking the team with the best World Cup record.

Brazil has not only appeared at every World Cup since its inception, but has also won it more times (four) than any other country.

Soccer legend Pele, however, recently revised his opinion that Brazil would play in the final against either Portugal or Italy.

In an article published in the Brazilian daily O Globo, Pele said the current "chaos" in the leadership of Brazil's football had led him to change his mind.

In other Asian countries, Thailand favors World Cup champions France, as does Hong Kong.

Singaporeans will be putting their money on Argentina, while Indonesians are expecting Brazil to win.

The Asia Market Intelligence survey of 1,658 people in Asia showed that 79 percent of respondents would be watching the World Cup.

Indonesia and Thailand were found to be the most soccer-crazy countries in Asia among those surveyed, with Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan next in line.

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