Five things to do during a summer without a (men’s) World Cup

There's even a great chance to resurrect #itscominghome


Are you already experiencing a bit of a lull? A certain emptiness in your stomach? Did it start round about full-time in the Champions League final? Thought so.

It’s natural to feel loss at the end of a football season, especially one with so many highs, and things are only going to get worse over the summer when there’s no men’s World Cup to keep the excitement going. You’ll get reminders of this time last year on social media, making the void even bigger, but please don’t think all is lost.

We’ve come up with a few other things that you can do with your time, to ensure there’s never a dull moment in what you thought might be a quiet summer.

Gareth Southgate

Watch the Women’s World Cup

Yes, there’s still a World Cup this summer, just not the one you were thinking of. Plenty of the same countries are involved, too, so if you’re English you can still sing Three Lions for a solid month – the England women’s team finished third last time around, after all, so the idea that it could be Coming Home isn’t that far-fetched.

Sure, you might not watch all the players week after week for their clubs, but there’s plenty of time to read up on what to expect and… what’s that? It starts on Friday? Okay, then, if you’re not already clued up then you can consider it an adventure into the unknown.

Get into a different sport

You’ve probably already seen a bit of the cricket World Cup, purely by absentmindedly sticking on Sky Sports on Monday night and forgetting the Premier League season wrapped up weeks ago. Excellent news! You’re already ahead of your mate who stares blankly at any mention of cricket, as if you’re trying to converse in a dead language.

We’ve also got Wimbledon on the horizon – perfect for those of you who treated the 2018 World Cup as an excuse to drink pints and get sunburned and need to fill that gap – while we’ve got the athletics World Championships in September, which means lead-up events in the interim. Remember how excited you got about the 2012 Olympics in London? Don’t you miss that feeling?

Back to cricket, and there’s also The Ashes at the start of August, pitting sports fans who hate the English with sports fans who hate Australians, and what is competitive sport if not finding someone to enthusiastically root against. Or Root against.

That’s a cricket pun, there – you’ll find it funny some time around September, when the Ashes will still be going on.

Take up a sport yourself

You’ve been putting it off for years, admit it. There was that one game of tennis you played in 2013? It was going to be the start of something bigger. You promised your partner you’d play every Sunday; then something came up so it became every other Sunday; then it was suddenly October; then you couldn’t play the following summer because of the World Cup; then it was suddenly 2018 and they brought it up again, but you couldn’t play because of that World Cup; then you realised how long you’d been putting it off.

It doesn’t have to be tennis. Maybe try running a few miles every week. Maybe re-join the gym and actually go this time. Maybe it’s time to get really into, oh, I don’t know, boxing? Feels like that something people do these days.

By the end of the summer, when the football season is about to start over again, you’ll be in good enough shape to get back into playing 11-a-side games yourself. Then the weather will get worse, you won’t fancy going outside in the pouring rain, and the cycle will begin again. But the handful of months in the middle? They’ll be glorious.

Goran Ivanisevic

Learn a new language

Don’t you get a bit tired of travelling abroad and realising a couple of days before your flight that you don’t know a word of the language besides hello, goodbye, please, thank you and – for reasons you can’t quite pinpoint – grapefruit?

You had a realisation last summer that this is why you were getting all those dirty looks on holiday, but it doesn’t have to be like this. You can learn the basics, at least – there are apps for that now – and surprise that coffee shop worker in Berlin who replies to you in English anyway because everyone’s bilingual there. Still, though, it’s the thought that counts.

Read a book

No, not Harry Potter again, a new book. Maybe two if you’re feeling adventurous.

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