The story revolves around three generations of Chinese men: a lonely boy, his father who is too busy with his work to pay much attention to him, and an elderly neighbour who misses his own grandson. The boy and the neighbour come together in their obsession with football, watching the 1998 World Cup matches in secret, as the boy’s father wants him to focus on his studies. The neighbour fiercely resists attempts to tear down the traditional courtyard in which everyone lives to build a new block of flats and throws himself into a mission to prepare the boy for the try-outs for his school’s football team. After an unexpected discovery, the boy decides to run away with his old neighbour in the hope of staying with his best friend and ally. The film shows us a summer of adventure, discovery and pain for three men from three different generations. We witness the process of how they face their own confusion, loneliness, and longing to be understood at a very special moment in China’s history, when the country is starting a journey of transformation in its social, economic and political structure. In the words of the director, it allows us “to become aware that the maturing process is not something that only happens to children or adolescents, and that men of any age deserve the opportunity to grow up and appreciate the complexity and uncertainty of life”.