'...And France are going to the World Cup Finals. Huge relief for Raymond Domenech...'
After his controversial handball set up William Gallas' undeserving extra-time winner in France's decisive second-leg World Cup qualifying knock-out match, Thierry Henry said he 'considered quitting' international football, after the FFF left him open to a barrage of invectives and vitriol in the international press and media.
Out in a North African cauldron otherwise known as Omdurman, Antar Yahia's stunning 40th minute strike saw Algeria progress at the expense of their opponents, bitter rivals Egypt, under the watchful eye of a 15,000-strong heavily armed and armoured security force.
Now that the dust begins to settle after the tempestuous final round of qualifiers, it is right to let bygones be bygones and focus on Soccer City, Johannesburg.
For it is here, on Friday, 11 June, 2010, South Africa will play host to their first World Cup finals, having beaten off competition from Morocco to host the prestigious and lucrative tournament after much deliberation among FIFA officials.
Since that glorious moment, back in Zurich on 15 May, 2004, there has been much negativity in the build-up to the tournament focusing on safety concerns and the country's inadequate infrastructure, resources, and footballing heritage.
South African authorities will be hoping that these prove to be without foundation, and will look to the tournament as a demonstration and celebration of the country's motto 'Unity in Diversity' after many years of hardship and suppression brought about by racial tension and political corruption.
In ten venues, over the course of one month, 32 national teams, largely a Who's Who of the most celebrated footballing names, with one or two surprise qualifiers thrown in for good measure, will compete for football's ultimate prize, the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Let's focus our attention on which teams and players will light up the sparkling stadium and make the fans party into the balmy African night...