Normally, I rebel against the lazy journalism and cheap stereotypes you often find rolled out when the discussion turns to Africa’s national teams.
Unfortunately, however, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon have all, to varying degrees, lived up to these stereotypes over the course of the summer.
The Elephants demonstrated a naivety in offensive positions and an inability to manage the closing stages of a game. They would have advanced past Greece had they kept their heads and employed a bit of hard-nosed pragmatism in their final group match.
Similarly, Ghana were far too keen to score a third against Germany, and in the process, sent too many men forward. When the Black Stars did attack, they too often lacked cohesion and chose to go it alone rather than thinking about the moment within the context of the match and the tournament as a whole.
The continent’s goalkeepers have often been the brunt of jokes from superior others, and while Vincent Enyeama and Rais M’Bolhi have impressed at Brazil, Fatau Dauda was a little hapless against Portugal.
The Orlando Pirates man did, admittedly, make a few smart saves during the match, and his reflexes are excellent, but he was at fault for the Portuguese winner.
Throughout the match he demonstrated an inability to hold authority over his area and flapped at a succession of high balls.
The final stereotype that was unhappily fulfilled by both Cameroon and Ghana was that of the African teams disputing bonuses and being plagued by infighting.
Cameroon imploded spectacularly in their 4-0 capitulation against Croatia, while the Black Stars did, mercifully at least, keep their disagreements to the team hotel.
It was an unfortunate poetic justice, however, when John Boye was pictured kissing a bundle of dollar bills on the same day that his comedic own goal pushed qualification for the Last 16 a little further away from Ghana.
As far as Kevin-Prince Boateng goes, rarely has the image of a pampered, out-of-touch, self-seeking footballer been encapsulated better.
This trio of complaints should not become the caricatures they once were, but the 2014 group stage has confirmed that familiar failings do remain.