Only Four Years Away

Korean Soccer

Korean Soccer.

I don't know about you but I am feeling down. No, make that miserable since the World Cup ended. Nothing comes close in life to the month-long euphoria of that tournament, especially if you went to Germany to imbibe the World Cup 24/7.

The post World Cup stress disorder has hit millions worldwide so at least I am not alone. An internet poster described it quite succinctly today as akin to having a four week fling with Kate Moss only for her to dump you for Bernard Manning. I'd liken it to her disappearing without trace with your wallet, passport and broken heart.

I am scrabbling around looking for crumbs of comfort but there are not any. Cricket, the Euro 2008 qualifiers, the Inter-Toto Cup? I don't think so. I went to one or two domestic games almost every week last season but I can't feel excited about the new season remotely. I have awoken from my dream and I am not happy.

I don't want to hear club fans mouthing about how great players like Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard are when they manifestly fell flat on the game's biggest stage. You can bet those three will be banging them in again for their club sides come August, which makes their failure for their national teams that bit more irritating. Whatever Arsene Wenger might say, international football is more important than club football.

I felt the same back in 2002 after returning from the Far East with 'Daeghun Minguk!' (Republic of Korea!) ringing in my ears. It took me a while to recover. These past few days I have deliberately tried to continue my holiday back in London by drinking German beer and eating Turkish kebabs but to no avail - I feel a deep sense of loss at the same time. Out in Germany every beer was a cause for celebration and it felt like wearing an England shirt meant you would be smiled at and you could strike up a conversation with random foreigners everywhere.

But here every beer is a melancholy one and everyone seems so cold and unfriendly once again: (Life will go on and already the four-year hour glass for South Africa has been upended. At least I was there. We all were there, wherever we watched the games. Football unites and gives reasons for living like nothing else. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive but to be following the World Cup was very heaven. The Americans just don't know what they are missing.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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