The streets of Istanbul were filled with the sound of vuvuzelas.. There were cheers and groups of people dancing and celebrating all down Istiklal. We watched the game in a bar in Nevizade, filled almost exclusively with our friends, among who there were just a few lone Dutch fans.
This was my first World Cup. I watched almost every game and went from supporting the US to Argentina and finally Spain. There were extreme highs like when the US qualified for the round of 16 at the 91st minute and extreme lows as watching Maradano and his crushed teams’ grief stricken faces as they saw their World Cup dreams die.
I celebrated this great event as I read articles about how the World Cup brought joy to the poorest of people, reading one poignant headline that said, “For the Poor, Soccer is Everything” and it made my heart happy that this wonderful challenge gave such joy to some people who had nothing. And then I hated the game when I read about over 300 incidents of domestic violence on the night of England’s defeat and later the murder allegations against the Brazilian goalie. I wondered what kind of values this testosterone filled sports was promoting.
South Africa brought pride to Africa by hosting an amazing World Cup. Their economy surely benefitted and a great sense of pride is surely felt by the South African people. And then there are the oft forgotten stories of all those that were displaced and ostracized because of the World Cup.
Finally there were the hopes of a country who is facing its worse economic crisis with one in five people out of a job and the hopes of a country who apprehensively waited as their national team took their third attempt at being world champions.
There will be players and coaches who will bury their World Cup dreams in 2010 and there will be those who have already began to think about 2014.
So, who is in for Brazil?!