PERHAPS the biggest sporting event in the world, certainly the biggest event involving a single sport, the Soccer World Cup, is finally over, with Spain having won for the first time. Though soccer is a worldwide sport with wide appeal, its World Cup has been dominated by only a few teams, with Germany and Brazil having won the quadrennial event four times each. However, this time around, neither was even in the final, with Spain and the Netherlands ensuring that the winner would be a first-timer. This time, it was Spain, after the match went into extra time in an all-European final. They added the sports premier title to the European championship they had also won. This also was the third time the Netherlands had reached the final, which they had done before in 1974 and 1978. And the third they lost. It was noticeable that neither of the two major states of the subcontinent figured. Soccer in neither India nor Pakistan travelled beyond its strongholds, Kolkata and the Makran Coast respectively. Even in Bangladesh, where the influence of Kolkata made itself felt, cricket, about which both India and Pakistan are wildly passionate, has established itself as a premier sport. However, soccer should have made its way in these countries beyond cricket, which needs much more special equipment. Soccer made no move towards replacing hockey, which had for so long captured the imagination of the youth of both countries. However, the coming of cable TV to both countries, and with it the comprehensive coverage of soccer in the major European soccer teams, which are themselves filled with the best players from around the world, has made the game more globalised, and has caused the young people in the subcontinent to be more aware of the finer points of the game. Hosts South Africa distinguished themselves and showed the world once again how adept the country is at hosting multilateral sporting events. The first African hosts of the World Cup, they did themselves proud, even though their national soccer team was clearly outclassed in the event.