The World Cup is over for another four years and so we may now go back to our everyday lives. In Bangladesh, enthusiasm began to wane somewhat with the exit of Argentina and Brazil in the quarter-finals within one day of each other, but there was still enough good football on display to keep everyone's attention through Spain's triumph in the final.
In the end, the spectacle provided value for money, and even though the tournament was not a classic, it did provide its fair share of classic moments, memorable games, and superb individual and team performances, with Spain, the consensus favourites, before the tournament and reigning European champions, emerging as worthy winners.
The World Cup in the Bangladeshi context makes an interesting study. I doubt very much that there is any other country in the world with as little direct connection to the cup (and even in many countries with such a connection) where it is anticipated with such enthusiasm.
For the duration of the tourney, the streets are a riot of colourful national flags hoisted by their supporters in cheerful disregard for nationalist etiquette and the country ground to a virtual standstill at 5:30 and 8:30 pm, with significant numbers of die-hards staying up even to catch the last kick-off at 12:30 at night.
As with Ramzan, I would be interested to see figures on lost productivity for the month, though, as with Ramadan, one could counter-argue that any lost productivity is in a good cause, and that one cannot put a price either on quadrennial world class entertainment or on the expiation of the soul.
Paradoxically, even thought the World Cup is a nationalist extravaganza par excellence, it seems somehow to bring about a fellow feeling, and even in Bangladesh where we seem to support either Argentina or Brazil for the most party, with the fervour usually reserved for AL and BNP or the other binary oppositions that make up our life, there is a fair amount of camaraderie, and the rivalry is a good-natured one.
Now we are back to everyday life. Hopefully the good feelings engendered by a month of football will help raise the national mood. If it leads to a shot in the arm for domestic football, all the better. Football is both great recreation and has the potential to be big business -- and in Bangladesh we need as much of each as we can get.