5 reasons why India loved this Football World Cup!

The World Cup fever enveloped the Indian audience on and how!

Last Updated: Jul 13, 2010, 20:06 PM IST

Chayan Rastogi

The World Cup fever enveloped the globe on and how!

The 19th Football World Cup played in South Africa was not a boring, useless ‘Made for Men’ game for Indian audience anymore. According to reports, football viewership leapt by a huge 40% in our country.

Colleges, canteens, chaiwaalas– the only common story doing rounds there for the past few days was football.

For a country which ranks 126th in FIFA rankings, the love for the ‘Beautiful Game’ is unprecedented and here are the 5 reasons why this Football World Cup took netted fans by the herds in our country.
1. Thanks God, It’s not cricket!

For a country that has got bored of watching their team make first and second round exits from World Cups, Football is a new found love for the sports crazy people. Who cares if people barely know the rules or only know Pele among the complete set of football greats, this World Cup at least brought the smiles back on people’s faces who had almost forgot the art courtesy price hike in fuel, food, booze and what not! Though for football purists, statements like “Match shuru ho gaya, pehle kaun khel raha hai?” hurts but that’s okay for people who watch this game once in four years!

2. Everyone has a say about their favourites, even Octopus!

Indians like ‘Masala’ and if the World Cup didn’t give us the cheerleaders to talk about, we’ll talk about octopus, parrots, crocodiles and dumbbells, who were on a mission to steal a sneak-peek of the future and tell us about the potential winner. The popularity of these animals has broken all the viewership ratings and if rumours are to be believed, several Indian news channels have sent their bids to purchase ‘Baba Paul’ and plan to run a daily one-hour prime time show where everyone’s future will be predicted. Now you believe the popular adage – Every dog has its day.

3. ‘Bowled’ over by the ‘beautiful’ statements!

Before the start of the World Cup, Argentine Coach Diego Maradona came up with the statement of a lifetime. He said that if his team wins the trophy, he’ll run naked on Argentine streets. This followed a counter statement by a Paraguayan lingerie model to do the same if Paraguay won the World Cup! Needless to say, all the Indian prayers being offered in churches, dargaahs and Hanuman mandirs got converted in favour of a Paraguay victory. But as luck would have it, both teams got knocked out before the final and as preferred by Indian audience- We had a ‘no-nudity’ family audience World Cup!
4. Acting - Bollywood ishtyle!

If you missed a good Bollywood movie lately, World Cup Football is just the right recipe for you! Featured with Filmfare winning performance by players who try to fool referees for penalties and free kicks, these players get over with mightiest of body pain in a flash when the other team player gets penalized! Now you know- “Mard ko kabhi dard nahi hota!”

And the last but not the least-

5. This time for Shakira, again!

Yeah baby! Football means Shakira for many and why not! This Columbian girl shows no sign of ageing and her dance moves from ‘Hips don’t lie’ to ‘Waka-Waka’ have just got hotter! For Indian crowd who has now got bored of listening to Rehman’s orchestra and Lata Mangeshkar’s nightingale sweet voice, Shakira was a welcome change!

But what stands apart is the fact that this World Cup taught Indian audiences the ‘art of dumping emotions’. From people who take extreme pleasure in burning effigies of cricket team players over a loss, it feels incredible to now be part of people who dump their emotions for their favourite team after a loss and pick another favourite!

Yes, it’s a beautiful game, indeed!