Saturday, August 2, 2014

After the Cup

12:00 AM

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“Germany has won the 2014 World Cup! The first European nation ever to win the tournament in a South American country…” 


The commentator continued with other facts and ramblings, but the previous statement was about all I got before zoning him out and watching the players celebrate.

Germany has indeed won the little 36.8 cm trophy, with at least 34 million people watching a 120 minute (plus stoppage time) game. Argentina defended brilliantly, and more than a few attempts were made on both sides. In the end, though, the team with the better game won out. So, congratulations Germany. But what am I supposed to do now that you’ve won the whole thing?

At the danger of sounding melodramatic, the end of the World Cup has left me feeling a bit empty inside. But let me defend myself – anyone would feel a bit lost and hollow if something that you’ve been following religiously for a month straight ended. It’s strange that the need to sync with Brazil local time doesn’t exist. My parents won’t find it normal to see me awake at 6 in the morning, and they definitely won’t ask me to text them the results of a game that went into overtime. People won’t see my tweets and glean what happened during the game from them; nobody will chat me up on Facebook to ask for news from their “World Cup updater”; I won’t be posting my opinions and feelings about games on my blog; and my friends won’t know to not talk about a certain game (cough Brazil vs. Germany cough) since I consider it a low blow.

In short, it’s a weird and abrupt transition back to normality. I’ve had to stop myself from talking about football in a regular conversation, knowing that people won’t be as forgiving or as interested anymore. I can actually get up at 8 am and not go to bed at that time (though fixing my body clock to be able to do that was a pretty big challenge to begin with), and because of that, I’m back to being a functioning member of society (kinda). Every time I open Google, I’m still slightly disappointed that the Google doodles are gone, and that the match schedules and player stats aren’t accessible with a simple click.

But my personal life isn’t the only aftermath of the cup I’m gonna bring up – there are also the noticeable effects economically, in travel and tourism, infrastructure, etc. There’s an interesting infographic here with some of those numbers along with a few other facts thrown in.

Besides the increases mentioned in the infographic, there’s also been an increase in the number of transfers or signings of players to different teams, and that was pretty much directly affected by the competition. True, some of these transfers were already arranged before the cup (like Claudio Bravo, the Chilean goal keeper, signing onto FC Barcelona), but a lot more people now know about these transfers because they’ve seen the players in action. There were also other transfers made during/after the tournament, like Luis Suarez also signing onto FC Barcelona, Toni Kroos transferring to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich, and coach Louis Van Gaal moving to Manchester United. I’m sure there will be other transfers because of a player’s World Cup performance, but there’s an argument made here that the tournament isn’t that great of a test for transfer value. Well, we’ll see in the upcoming games, won’t we?

Speaking of players, it’s not just their transfers that the matches brought attention to, but they themselves. There were the forwards like Lionel Messi (who most people say was the reason his team went to the finals), Neymar Jr (the poster boy of Brazilian football) and Robin Van Persie (who scored the unforgettable header in the Netherlands vs Spain game).

Supporting them were midfielders like James Rodriguez (winner of the Golden Boot), Toni Kroos (who won Man of the Match in the Brazil vs Germany game), and Arjen Robben (with 4 goals, and 3 Man of the Match awards).

Behind the midfielders were defenders like Thiago Silva (Brazil’s captain), David Luiz (who took Silva’s place as captain when he couldn’t play), and Philipp Lahm (Germany’s captain, who recently retired from international football).

But it was the goalkeepers who seemed to shine especially bright this year, with players like Guillermo Ochoa (currently a free agent, though he might not be for long), Tim Howard (whose 16 saves made him the face of countless memes on the internet for some time), Manuel Neuer (winner of the Golden Glove), and Julio Cesare (the country’s savior in the Brazil vs Chile game).

It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s going to be another four-year wait before this month long event comes back. I’m sure that the time will slip by pretty fast (as time is known to do), but thinking about it now makes it seem like it’s going to be forever before it gets here.

But hey, in the next few years there will be other games and leagues that will undoubtedly play a part in shaping the teams competing in Russia 2018. And by then, the only aftermath left will be the drive it gives the teams to win – something I’m looking forward to seeing in the next World Cup.

Article by Rio
Art by Txin-txin Orig
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Rio is (trying to be) an engineer-in-training, an athlete and a singer, with her love for science, sports, and music in that order. She's also (trying to be) a writer, with her trusty laptop/phone, sour cream flavored chips and/or strawberry ice cream. (Whether or not she succeeds is another story altogether).
Arantxa Orig is an Information Design student. She likes to draw people and all sorts of whales. She is currently trying to figure out her own aesthetics and art style.

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