The World Cup is over for four years, though for the fans of some countries, it was over long before.
England departed the tournament with barely a whimper after being knocked out of the group stages, which was their worst performance in 60 years – though they did not qualify at all in 1974, ‘78 and ‘94. Others found their country’s exit too hard to watch and looked around for other interests.
With the gap between the end of the tournament and domestic league seasons now being very short (just a matter of weeks), there is now, for many, something of a footballing hangover. Having been used to staying up until late at night watching Ivory Coast v Japan, there is now a significant gap in the TV schedules and in the life of many supporters.
Image via flickr
Perhaps the greatest example of this was Neymar, the poster boy of the tournament who was injured in Brazil’s quarter final win against Colombia and was forced to watch his country’s semi-final against Germany from the sidelines. The forward watched the game at home and could not bear to watch as Germany demolished the hosts. As Germany scored their seventh of the night, Neymar reportedly turned off his TV and went off to play poker instead.
It should be noted that Neymar, in turning to poker, was only following the lead of many other sportsmen who have sought refuge away from their regular sports, at the online poker table.
Tennis player Rafael Nadal is perhaps the biggest current sports star who has caught the poker bug, but former Brazil star Ronaldo is also involved in the game. Both act as brand ambassadors for online poker giant PokerStars and their team of sports stars, regularly competing in events. Ronaldo even took on Nadal in a tournament last year.
Other players and supporters look to summer sports to cure their football hangovers. Many play golf and The Open has just finished in Britain with many other tournaments taking place in the next few weeks. In cricket, the Test series between England and India continues and tennis has moved from the Wimbledon grass to the American hard courts in preparation for the US Open which takes place at the end of August.
Music is another great diversion, especially in the warm summer months when the number of outdoor festivals featuring headline acts (as well as other entertainment) is at an all-time high. Many believe the festival season begins and ends with Glastonbury but that is far from the truth and it now tends to herald in a host of other great outdoor events.
However, for those who can’t get football out of their system, they do not have long to wait before getting back into their routine. This summer, football never really stopped at all; by the time the tournament came to an end, most clubs were already back in pre-season training and were arranging friendlies ahead of the start of the domestic season beginning in August. So, those hoping for a lengthy break from football will be disappointed.
Soon, the international game will be but a distant memory as supporters concentrate on their club side’s fortunes, and TV channels will once again show football games from all over the world day and night!