Kolkata: After 51 days of cricket, focus turns to action-packed football World Cup

Kolkata: After 51 days of cricket, focus turns to action-packed football World Cup

KOLKATA: Two sporting events on Sunday — one that happened in Europe in the early hours of the morning and another that happened later in the night at Mumbai in India — indicated a shift in how you are going to spend your next one and half months while in front of the TV. The Champions League final at Ukraine where Real Madrid defeated Liverpool FC on Sunday marked the beginning of a football-packed season after a gruelling spring of 2018, where cricket ruled the television.

“Sunday morning’s match was such a high-octane game that I lost interest in the evening’s IPL final. I am geared up for the biggest sporting event — the football World Cup, which is scheduled to begin in a fortnight,” said Samadarshi Chakraborty, a software engineer and an avid sports fan.

The football World Cup starts on June 14 with host nation Russia taking on Saudi Arabia to mark the beginning of a monthlong football fever that will end on July 15. Unlike other years, this time football fans will not have to spend sleepless nights to catch the games. They can watch all the matches live between 5.30pm and 12.30am.

During the same period, cricket matches will continue with India playing Afghanistan in Bangalore in a single test match between June 14 and June 19 and then taking on Ireland in Ireland in two T20 matches at the end of the month.

The football World Cup’s knock-out matches will begin from July 6, three days after India’s tour to England begins. The test matches, however, will resume only on August.

“I understand India will play plenty of cricket during the period but during the World Cup, football is my only priority,” said Souvick Basu, a Jadavpur resident and an avid Brazil fan.

In the last World Cup, India registered a record TV viewership of at least 75-80 million in some of the matches, including the final of the football World Cup when Germany defeated Argentina to lift the cup. Not just that, globally too, Indians accounted for the second-greatest social media engagement after Brazilians during the month-long tournament — a data extremely encouraging for the promotion of the game in the land where cricket rules.

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