I'll be honest, I did not watch too much of these Olympics and even lesser of the football that was played. In betweeen shifting homes and hosting colleagues from far-off, I managed to catch a few glimpses here and there.
Of course, for me the stars of these Olympics are not about Phelps or Bolt or the Chinese, but the far more closer to home names of Bindra, Sushil Kumar and Vijender. But these were the Olympics and whatever else was happening all around me, I couldn't have lived through them ignoring the football.
And so I saw the American ladies beat Brazil in extra time for the women's gold, though I admit it was lucky that the pub I was in, chose to show the game and not models walk up and down on F-TV.
And equally fortuitously I managed to see the second half of the final between Argentina and Nigeria, being telecast right after I had finished my own Saturday morning game. As we all know, a Messi inspired Argentina scored the only goal to clinch gold with the Africans settling for silver. But it definitely was not Argentina all the way. While the blue-and-whites kept most of the posession in that second half and Messi entertained every time he touched the ball, the Nigerians waited patiently for their chance and whenever they did get the ball, they produced something dangerous.
It was sublime stuff and difficult to believe that most of the players were under-23. How I wish the leagues and the continental club tournaments could serve the same quality - skilful, artistic and clean. I have read many English fans moan about the irrelevance of international football, but on the evidence of the last few months, there is definitely more joy there, than the "don't beat me even if you don't lose to me" club fair that is served. And with my favorite intenational team emerging champions, I had a happy Beijing '08.