The curtain on the 2018 FIFA World Cup came down on Sunday but the hangover of the month-long football extravaganza continued with football fans in Bangladesh still busy discussing the events unfolded in the past one month.
The whole country was engrossed in the World Cup ever since it got underway on June 14 in Russia and it took a very little time for the event to be the part of the fans daily routine.
The flags of different countries were seen flying high on most of the buildings in Bangladesh while people wore the jerseys of their respective favorite teams too often to offer their support.
The tournament lost some of its gloss with the pre-mature exit of Germany, Argentina, Spain and Brazil but fans found new team to support with Croatia pulling off a surprise and Belgium entertaining with their slick passing football.
It was the electrifying speed of France’s youth brigade that prevailed in the end, providing fans new heroes in Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Pavard, N’golo Kante.
But no less than the players, football fans also cherished the presence of Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who added an extra-glamour to the tournament.
Kolinda, a 50-year old former diplomat-turned politician, was present in the World Cup until the very end, soaking in the rain and hugging Croatian players in graceful manner to touch the hearts of the fans of beaten finalists.
‘To tell you frankly, the craze of the World Cup didn’t finish just yet,’ Rezaul Karim, a MBA student from Dhaka University, told New Age on Wednesday.
‘We still do argue in the classes and tea-stalls about what happened in the World Cup. Some teams had performed really well but somehow they failed to win. Big teams could not perform to the expectations while mediocre teams had a tremendous run. I think people have so many things to talk about until the next World Cup,’ he added.
Rezaul, however, claimed that he and his friends have deviated slightly from their daily routine after the end World Cup as they started attending early morning classes and preparing for exams.
‘When three matches held, we remained awake till 4:00-5:00am discussing the matches. As we had vacations on that time, we woke up late in the morning and immediately stated our preparations for the day’s matches. Most of the times, I watched matches at Zia Hall premises or TSC with thousands of people. It really gave a goose-bump. But now I really missed those days as I had to go back in my previous regular routine,’ he said.
Shahjahan, a tea-maker at Banglamotor shared his experience during the World Cup days and he revealed that because of having no television, he got fewer customers in his tea-stall.
‘People often use to watch matches at home or on giant screens. I had fewer customers at that time as I have no TV in my shop. Those, who got TVs in their tea-stalls, had a good business in that time. I even lost some of my regular customers but now they are coming back,’ he said.
Sumon Mohammad, a Computer Science Engineering student from Jagannath University was a bit of upset with the performances of his favorite team Argentina and informed that his World Cup excitement lessened since Lionel Messi and his Co had been eliminated with 4-3 loss to eventual winners France.
‘I’m very much disappointed as Messi could not perform well in the World Cup. I’m not happy to see France winning the World Cup as though played very calculative games to win matches. They played defensively only to score in the counter-attack and were lucky to get goals from set pieces at crucial times,’ he said.
Sumon also said he is now waiting for the start of new club season as he claimed not to be a seasonal football spectator. Sumon also wished to see Bangladesh’s domestic football but had little idea about the schedule.
‘I have no idea when Bangladesh plays a big match. If I know I will definitely watch them,’ he said.
Currently ranked 194th in the world, Bangladesh played just one international friendly in the past two years.
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