As the World Cup recedes into history I've been reflecting. From the distance of a couple of weeks I didn't really enjoy the tournament much. There were a few highlights, Germany V Argentina, Italy V New Zealand and Spain V Portugal (but that might just have been the joy of seeing Ronaldo look crestfallen), but these were few and far between. The majority of the games were stale, mundane and lifeless. I found myself getting more enjoyment out of watching Maradonna's press conferences and speculating about who's suit he was wearing than I got enjoyment out of most of the games.
As for the final itself, it was like watching a Toon v mackem game from about five years ago. One team was so technically superior to the other that the only way that the lesser team could hope to compete was by hoofing players up into the air. For Mark Van Bommel substitute Nyron Nosworthy, for De Jong think of Paul McShane etc etc.... It was pitiful to watch, but Spain didn't have the ability to outplay them either. The tournament just seemed to leave a sightly bitter taste - it just didn't live up to the hype. That said I did learn somethings from the World Cup - for which I'm grateful. A few of these things are:-
1. Gutierrez is no more a right back than I am
2. Vuvuzela is a fantastic word to roll around your mouth, but the instrument itself is pretty limited
3. Despite the press reports South Africa's infrastructure was able to cope with a major sporting event.
4. England's players are rubbish (on the whole)
5. Diego Forlan was a good player after all
6. Germany will win the next World Cup
7. The French players are worse than the English (temperament-wise that is)
So - lots of useful, if incidental, things picked up over the summer... Speaking of incidental things - how about this for a match made in heaven? Titus Bramble to be reunited with Steve Bruce at Sunderland I was driving when I heard the news and laughed so hard I swerved. I'd guess that he wrote his application for this job some time ago (that will be in crayon and not in joined up letters). Titus, I recall this only too well.... Looking forward to seeing you at SJP again this season...... Not.