With heart-rates just about getting back to normal we can stop and take stock of the tournament that just keeps on giving.
England WON ON PENALTIES – even writing that brings a smile to my face – Spain didn’t – please inject the tears of Sergio Ramos straight into my veins as I need it like oxygen!
The last 16 overall was all about departing legends and massive shocks.
Russia held Spain to a 1-1 draw then won 4-3 on penalties with Koke and Iago Aspas missing for one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Global superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both went out on the same day as Argentina lost a seven-goal thriller to France, while Uruguay saw off Portugal.
I will never tire of thinking about South Korea beating Germany – it was like from Russia with love to the rest of the footballing world.
The Germans joined the ignominious list with France (2002), Italy (2010) and Spain (2014) of being holders who embarrassingly crash out in the group stage in laughable defences of their crowns.
That historic night I drank so much vodka in celebration I woke up with a Russian accent!
The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future. I should remember that as my pick the Argies are already out but I’m in good company as former Three Lions captain David Beckham said the final would be between Argentina and England.
Gareth Southgate’s boys to make it all the way to July 15 – let’s hope Golden Balls gets it half right, hey!
Our final group loss to Belgium did open up the easiest route to a final since Manchester United’s last UEFA Cup win.
Before that game there was more chatter than a troop of monkeys who had overdosed on peanut-butter about what tactics to employ to ensure a smooth passage in the KO rounds.
People argued it was shrewd to finish second and avoid a potential show-down with Brazil in the semi-final – totally disregarding the fact we hadn’t won a knockout game on foreign soil in 12 years.
It was the kind of crazy logic that thinks chocolate comes from cocoa which is a tree, so technically a plant, which means chocolate’s basically salad. Actually the more I read that sentence the more I like it and we have just broken that 12-year curse so . . .
The Colombia match can be summed up by this saying – you can’t have a good day with a bad attitude and you can’t have a bad day with a good attitude.
England were the only side trying to play football, while the South Americans time-wasted, head-butted, whined, grappled and rowed their way through the contest.
They even resorted to scuffing up the spot before Harry Kane took his first penalty to put the Three Lions in front only for Yerry Mina’s injury-time equaliser to suck the air out of England’s universe.
It makes the way they dug in and ended the night with Jordan Pickford saving Carlos Bacca’s effort and Eric Dier rolling in the decisive kick even more impressive.
Meanwhile, Neymar has claimed the first award of the World Cup after producing the most pathetic play-acting of his indulged football career.
His rolling around after Mexico’s Miguel Layun’s foot lightly stepped on his ankle was comedy gold – talk about Layun on thick!
Congrats on your Fallon d’Floor, Neymar Jr!
BACK home Premier League clubs are getting used to the new rule where the summer transfer window officially closes BEFORE the season begins.
Throw in a World Cup and it is a surprise more clubs other than seemingly Liverpool are not busting a gut to get dealings done quickly.
Naby Keita and Fabinho are already through the Melwood door – with other big early deals seeing Manchester United pay £52m for Fred and Arsenal bringing in Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Our pampered and over-paid footballers are also to be gifted a winter break. Not content with their four-hour days of training, personal chefs, masseurs and millions the poor little lambs still moan about fatigue.
All those people who say it is market forces will never in a month of Sundays convince me that a man who is good at kicking a ball is worth paying hundreds of thousands of pounds a week.
I’d love those ex-pros who arrogantly cite the physicality of the sport to spend another lifetime bricklaying, firefighting, farming, sea fishing or working 12-hours shifts as junior doctors.
When I think about their demands my blood boils and my alone time becomes for other people’s safety!
Yet here we are and from 2019-20 a break in proceedings will be written into the rules so in February 2020 five games will take place one week and five the next to give teams a two-week rest.
What’s the betting that fortnight will be spent playing Fortnite!?
AND finally Wimbledon is under way but with no Andy Murray and World Cup fever sweeping the nation it is being a little overshadowed.
The Brit two-time champion lost his race to get over hip surgery but don’t fear tennis fans as old favourites Roger Federer and Serena Williams still bring bucket loads of star quality.
Roger is so cool he makes ice cubes jealous, while Serena loves cleaning up messes she didn’t make, which is why she became a mum!