The adventure is (kind of) over; the signs have been ripped down by fans eager for souvenirs; the fake Brazil shirts are on sale ridiculously cheap in the streets of Salvador; and the 2014 World Cup is, officially, done.
As seems to happen so often, it was a game of twenty-two men, ninety minutes (and thirty more this time), and then Germany won.
And Argentina lost.
And Messi didn’t play as well as he usually does.
And Schweiny got battered and bloody and came through a hero.
And Mario Götze became an overnight legend.
And the Argentinians on the streets of Rio, where i happened to find myself, didn’t take too kindly to the not-particularly friendly joking of their thrilled Brazilian neighbours, and my friends and I got off the streets for an hour or so.
But we eventually found ourselves at the German kiosk on the beach not far from Copacabana, the unofficial Teutonic home of partying for the night, where we joined in the celebrations, as did a few of the friendlier Argentines as the night wore on, (and so did the awful electronic music).
I had failed in my quest to find a ticket.
Well, that’s not strictly true: I had found a few tickets, but for some reason had refused to pay anything from $3,500-8,000US for one, in an uncharacteristic rush of common-sense to the head.
I had left a Saturday evening party and karaoke session early (and moderately sober) in order to wake early Sunday and spend four hours standing at the airport. Welcoming the streams of corporate competition winners and hospitality ticket holders, along with their official representatives, was a tired-looking English guy with a sign asking if anyone had any spare tickets. In four languages.
They didn’t, and all flights stopped two hours before kick-off. Rather than wander the streets and metro stations around the Maracanã I decided to be sensible, join my friends, and watch the game at the beach.
There are worse things to do in life than watch a World Cup Final, with friends, on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, sipping coconut water and caipirinhas (not at the same time) and chatting to new people, occasionally exchanging jerseys with them.
And with that, the World Cup was over.
There will be more blogging to come: reminiscences, statistics, trivia and various fun and games.
But for now, I am going to make a start on this book I’ve been promising to write:
PS In case you’re wondering, I wore my Germany jersey for the first half, my Argentina jersey over it for the second half when it got chilly, and my Universidad Peruvian jersey at the end of the game to avoid antagonising anybody.