And so it was that the World Cup came to a rather messy halt. It's been an uppy-downy tournament, thanks to disappointing superstars, weird new balls, and a final that found the Dutch looking for a fight.
But it's not all been bad. After the jump, you'll find ten very important lessons learned over the last few weeks…
1. Don't Get Too Scientific About The Ball
For all that is wonderful about scientists — rockets, orange squash, funny electronic voices — they have no place in football. Footballs should be solely designed by men who wear polo shirts with upturned collars, and smoke cigarettes using a thumb/forefinger pincer. We know that now.
2. Adrian Chiles Needs Better Company
After a sheepish start, Adrian Chiles grew into his role as the handsome face of ITV football. On the downside he was too often left in the wrong company, and expected to drag insightful comments from men who rarely know which tense to use. He would do well to pull the same trick he managed with Lampsie's bed partner (pictured), and persuade his old pal Lee Dixon to jump ship.
3. Curb The England Fanfair
History will tell you that England is not the greatest team in the world. The rest of the world will also tell you that England is not the greatest team in the world. So, rather than getting carried away with the "it's our year" guff, how about just shutting the hell up and letting 23 tatted-up millionaires enjoy themselves for a couple of weeks? That way, you won't get beautiful girls dancing around in their swimming cozzies one day, then crying hysterically the next, just because Wayne Rooney can't be bothered to be brilliant any more. Who needs to see that? Tell you who? No one. No one needs to see that.
4. DEFINITELY Give Too Many Tickets To Robbie Earle
Of course, everyone went mental when news of Robbie Earle flogging his free courtesy tickets rose to the surface like unsightly gunk on an otherwise lovely garden pond. But come off it! Robbie Earle awkwardly eating a bag of crisps surrounded by sixty empty seats? Or a mob of hot Dutch girls in identical outfits? Well played Robbie!
5. Frenchmen Need Their Own Space
Regardless that they spent the build up to the World Cup going for relaxing bike rides, dicking around with guns, and enduring hour long getting-to-know-you hugs, the volatile French just need a bit of alone time unless you really want them to aggressively call your mother a whore. Next World Cup, at least 23 different hotels would be advised for the trip.
6. Vuvuzelas Are Not The Way Forward
The reason why recorders have tiny little holes in them is because the sound of one note can eventually drive a man to the very edges of insanity. Next time around, if there is going to be an unusual instrument, might The Spoiler suggest a few thousand Moog keyboards?
7. The BBC Should Replace Shearer With Seedorf
Rather terrifyingly, Alan Shearer seems to be growing in confidence — this needs to stop. If it doesn't stop, he won't go away. He'll be there, World Cup 2018, explaining that "a younger Rooney would have got to that", in between repeating what everyone else knows but thinks is surely too obvious to say on television when you're supposed to be "an expert". Anyway, none of that is the point, the point is that Seedorf was great, Shearer was Shearer. The transfer window is open.
8. If An Octopus Has Something To Say, Listen To It
For far too long, people have been ignoring octopuses — with their weird slimy faces, and their delicious long arms. But that's all changed with the emergence of Paul the Octopus. From now on, haggered old sea hunters might think twice before putting a few rounds from a machine gun into our psychic friends.
9. God Hates Real Madrid
Not only did Real Madrid's two star men suffer an appalling tournament, but they saw the thing won by Vincente Del Bosque (pictured, having the last laugh) — a man cruelly sacked by the club in 2003. To smear extra salt into the weeping sore, two of the stars of the competition — Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben — were cast offs from the club, and every Spain goal came from a Barcelona player. Plus, of course, the Golden Ball player, Diego Forlan, plies his trade at Atletico.
Yes, the actual World Cup was lifted by a Real player, but you know, that's just splitting hairs, isn't it?
10. Expect The Unexpected, Right Up Until The Very Moment That What You Expected To Happen In The First Place Happens. So, In That Sense, Just Expect The Expected
Everyone thought that Spain would win it. Then they lost their first match, and everyone thought that Spain would PROBABLY win it. Then they started winning matches, and everyone KNEW that Spain would win it. Then, as expected, they won it. Of course, Alan Shearer was very quick to point out that he'd tipped them from the start… yes, as had absolutely everyone, Alan.
This post, written by Josh Burt, is republished with permission from The Spoiler. Go there often if you like soccer stuff.