It was not quite the send off everyone had in mind. After starting with a whimper and then simmering into something extraordinary in the middle, India ultimately fizzled out of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Not without resounding memories though, for the night of October 9 will forever remain etched in the memories of sports lovers throughout the country.
The expectations of one and all at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on that famous night was burgeoned instantly when Jeakson Singh rose above one and all to head home a late corner.
A hint of those expectations were on display en route to the stadium. Tricolours were out in greater numbers and there were many more vendors making a living off painting the Indian flag on fans’ faces than previous match days.
While Luis Norton’s boys had played their hearts out on Monday night, it had ultimately not been enough. A similar resistance and grit would have been required for their face off with Ghana who have been exciting to watch with the ball all tournament long but seemed to have forgotten their finishing boots back at home.
Everyone who came into the stadium on Friday came in with that knowledge and even the press box was generally subdued after revelling in Jeakson Singh’s historic goal the other night.
The evening built up gently with a Group B encounter between Mali and New Zealand to start things off. The stadium wore an empty look for the majority of this encounter but gradually the throngs of supporters started streaming in.
By the time the hosts were ready to take the field, the arena had grown a familiar look to that of Monday. The national anthems were sung with abundant fervour and that seemed to have fired up the Indians when play kicked off.
For much of the first half, the Boys in Blue dealt with the threat of the mighty Africans. Once again the crowd lent its voice in full flow and every defensive tackle or goalkeeper save was met with resounding cheers.
Unfortunately for India, on this night Ghana ultimately showed up when it most mattered. Having scored just a solitary goal so far in the tournament, the Africans banged in four in the match.
India’s resistance had been broken towards the end of the first period and for much of the second, they looked completely out of sorts.
All the build-up and preparation for two years had led up to this World Cup and on Friday night it was all over.
India had dreamt of a World Cup participation for long and it had now lived to see that day. It might not have been the most poignant of ends to its maiden campaign but through the one week, the seeds of a brighter and more optimistic future might well have been sown.
The team still got a standing ovation despite the margin on the scoreboard and it was well deserved. Perhaps Thursday's result will be a stark reminder of how far Indian football still needs to go.
The official attendance for the night read a massive 52,614. There is no denying that the hosts have been backed to the core throughout the tournament. There has been no shortage of support.
The question though, which needs to be asked, is where do we go from here? Much attention and support has been rallied behind the team for the prestigious competition in the last two years or so.
The governing bodies, fans and the media have all come together to back the Boys in Blue in their maiden quest. No youth generation has indeed received such attention in Indian football ever and as such they should be perhaps valued as such.
One can hope that the AIFF continues to invest in this current bunch for the best part of the next decade. Once the World Cup is over, the current level of attention and hype will probably fade and so will the headlines they generate.
It is important that those 21 boys are not forgotten. In fact, it is highly imperative that the flame they have ignited is never allowed to extinguish.
The massive efforts in the past two years notwithstanding, the real work probably begins now. If there needs to be a lasting legacy of the Under-17 World Cup in the country, it should be that of the start of a football revolution.
It is time we bridge the gaps with world-class teams and the progress of the class of 2017 should probably remain the benchmark of our football development in the coming years.
The World Cup for India might be over but the show is just starting.