Now that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is over, it's time for journalists to pen their postmortems. This happens after every major, multi-billion-dollar sporting event. Remember Beijing?
Reporters ask, variously: Was the event a success? Was South Africa's investment worth it? How long will the World Cup legacy last?
"As host of the most-watched sporting event on earth, South Africa set out to reinvent itself in the eyes of the world, casting off its reputation as a place defined by violent crime, poverty and AIDS," Celia W. Dugger, of The New York Times, reports. "To a remarkable degree, it succeeded."
In advance of the event, the country oversaw extensive renovations and new construction. For a month, it juggled logistics at ten large venues.
Like every host country, South Africa tried to present itself as positively as possible, highlighting glitzy hotels, a more-efficient public transportation systems, and its spectacular landscape. Who will forget the remarkable piece of stagecraft from yesterday's final, when Nelson Mandela and his wife were wheeled across the pitch in a golf cart, to thunderous applause and, yes, the loud drone of vuvuzelas?
So, what happens next? Continued optimism? Immediate remorse?
According to Dugger, "many South Africans wish the rollicking World Cup ride did not have to end and already asking whether the nation can muster the same unity and can-do spirit to tackle its far more intractable problems."
But for now, they are savoring sweet victory for the country.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is in Johannesburg. She notes that, "in the past few days, there's been much negative psychological talk here about post-tournament blues, depression and a long World Cup hangover in South Africa."
Analysts have been consulted and confirm this is inevitable and that the World Cup high remains for only so long, before the low sets in.
How long? According to Bloomberg's Garth Theunissen, the economic fallout may have begun already: "The rand weakened for a second day against the dollar after precious metal prices declined and investors speculated positive sentiments toward South Africa will dissipate following the end of the soccer World Cup."