And while we spend the next few days convincing ourselves " you have to beat the best to be the best lads", the north side of the draw has opened up like a Republican primary, primed for an upstart with no history to charge to the front of the pack. Croatia have looked impressive, barring a blip as their fans misbehaved, and look now well placed to go deep. But as I watched snippets of N Ireland being pounded by Germany, but somehow end up celebrating qualification to the next round, I have a sneaky feeling some unjust 3rd place team will cause some disruption, at least in the top half of the draw. Turkey or Sweden maybe... teams that in the first two games looked completely abject. While I applaud the attempt to expand the tournament, I just don't think 24 is a good tournament number. That Turkey can do anything but go home after their first two games just does not feel like tournament footie.
A couple of crappy groups left to go now, but one which will determine England's next opponent. Then onto the fun stuff.
I must go now to watch USA's big football adventure against Argentina. The locals are pumped - they reckon this will be a more watched sporting event than the recent NBA finals. It might not be by the final whistle....the US trail 1-zip after only 8 mins.... Could be a long night