As every fan’s month-long affair with the very demanding mistress that is football comes to an end, it is time to sink back into the bed with a long sigh, stare at the ceiling and let the mind wander over all the things she left you with. Sure, she took my heart and she took my money – not to mention my sleep for us here in India – but after all that hype, and all that noise (you know what I’m talking about), was it all worth it?
Sports is entertainment, and by that metric alone, this World Cup has surpassed all previous editions as catalogued by us here. That is not to say that there was a lack of ‘entertainment’ on the pitch through the course of the cup. The finals will be a story by themselves, some version of which each of us will have already encountered. It was not necessarily the showpiece event for the greatest show on earth- that was the 3rd/4th playoff match. It was like the understudy upstaging the lead actor, because the lead actor got too caught up by the pressure of it all. Could the match have been made any better if Howard Webb was not trying to emulate Picasso by mixing up his reds and yellows to make Oranje? I doubt it. His first few cautions may have been to assert His Mighty Baldness on the game, like he tries to do in every derby in the Premier League. But in some cases, including the now-famous ‘This is Spartaaaaaa!’ moment from de Jong, his only fault was probably leniency.