Some Chinese soccer fans have turned to unorthodox ways to predict 2018 World Cup results, with ancient Chinese divination texts often cited.
While a lot of people are focused on the games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, some people are interested in predicting match results, as can be gleaned on Chinese social media.
People post predictions on the internet, some of them even cite I Ching, or the Book of Changes, an ancient Chinese divination text. These posts claim that the predictions followed the book's traditional and complicated method and have a high accuracy rate.
The predictions usually involve a "formula" from the book. Match schedules, places and team characteristics will be put into the "formula" to calculate the result.
This unorthodox way has become a popular topic on Chinese social media platforms, as people jokingly refer to the method as "Xuanxue," which literally means a field that people do not understand.
People turn to such a method because they simply want to get involved and have fun, said Wang Yuhao, a soccer fan who lives in Beijing.
"Even with professional analysis, it is difficult to predict soccer matches… People predict matches in such a way to add spice to their World Cup experience and enjoy bragging rights," Wang said.
Even those who post such predictions understand their entertainment value. When a netizen commented under a prediction that he will be betting money, the author replied: "It is mainly for fun. Please be responsible for your own bets."
"Predictions made by I Ching are usually vague," Bai Hao, a Beijing-based I Ching hobbyist, told the Global Times, noting that the predictions are only creating lively discussions rather than shedding light on what to expect.
I Ching is not the only thing soccer fans turn to for predictions. They also ask animals, including cats, dogs and crayfish to choose a winner prior to matches, or even refer to other aspects from history books.
"Germany will not go far in Russia. They were defeated there during World War II," said a netizen on Sina Weibo prior to Germany's failure to advance from the group stage.
Newspaper headline: Soccer fans use I Ching to predict World Cup results