Though I was sorry to see Italy go out — I wrongly thought having seen their opening match against Paraguay that the holders would go a long way — I admit I cheered at the humiliation of the French.
Domenech’s team — what a strange man he is — never recovered from that ‘hand ball’.
Their own nation virtually disowned them after that and heaven help Lauren Blanc trying to restore French fortunes and pride.
Nevertheless, the demise of such powers has brought a welcome air of uncertainty to the tournament. It’s refreshing. That game between Slovakia and Italy will take some beating and I thought it was great to see Ghana and the United States disputing a place in the last eight.
An African World Cup desperately needed an African team to make decent progress.
Ghana, even without Essien, are good if a little young. If only they had another striker to play alongside Asamoah Gyan. I think they’ll be a force in 2014 and, before then, Uruguay had better be careful.
To think that should have been England’s half of the draw . . .