That is it for another four years !
As the circus leaves South Africa , it is back to the drawing board for many teams and for Nike's scriptwriters.
The stars of their excellent "Write the Future" advert, unveiled at half-time during the European Cup Final (although my readers were given an exclusive sneak preview on the morning of the game!) failed to shine at the tournament. Drogba, lacking in fitness, Ribery and Cannavaro exited in the first round, the goalless Rooney and Ronaldo out in the second round , the latter now the talk of the gossip columns rather than the football ones, Ronaldinho did not even make the finals and even Rodger Federer lost his Wimbledon title!!
At least Kobi Bryant won the N.B.A. !
The world's top stars were unable to define a tournament the way Puskas, Pele, Cruijff and Maradona were once able to.
For all the hype, the cult of the personality was eclipsed by the team ethos.
Those that were united: Spain, Germany, Uruguay and ,amazingly, Holland and Argentina, prospered.
Those that were not: France, Italy , England perished.
For many players, that was their last chance of eternal glory at a World Cup.
Reputations are in tatters: Capello, Rooney, Terry, Lampard, Anelka, Gallas, Evra, Lippi, Cannavaro, Dunga, while those of Forlan, Sneijder, Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Iniesta, Villa etc, are enhanced.
Lionel Messi, the man who should have been King, was overwhelmed by Maradona's requirements of him . In the absence of an authentic, effective midfield trio behind him, he was forced deeper and deeper in search of the ball, asked to be both playmaker and attacking spearhead, he fell between two stools and out went Argentina.
Spain's golden generation are triumphant, England's like Portugal's four years ago has expired ; with nothing to show for it but tabloid excess and national disgust.
The dark horses: Serbia , Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Mexico, U.S.A remain just that , nearly men , who are unable to take the giant step into the big league. Only Uruguay took the leap of faith.
Now it is back to the bread and butter of the domestic leagues and the transfer silly season: £100m for Torres? £40m for Balotelli? £25m for Milner ? do me a favour?!
For La Gazetta, the golf course beckons , thank you for your kind words and comments regarding this blog it is very much appreciated.
Roberto Swanadoni will return.