The best team won, and the best two teams reached the final. This is a comparatively rare event at a world cup. And it was a fine world cup in general, with plenty of things to gladden the heart – the hammering of Spain by the Netherlands, the hammering of Brazil by Germany, the eviction at stage one of teams who think too highly of themselves, the emergence of doughty underdogs (Iran, Ghana, Chile, Costa Rica). The Netherlands remain an enigma; they are either wonderfully fluent or suddenly turn into England. But their record, for a country with a fifth of our population, is excellent.
The most distressing thing about the tournament, however, was – as Dara O’Briain rightly tweeted – the tendency of the Brazilian camera crew to focus on extremely attractive young ladies in the crowd when the ball was out of play. It is true that they also focussed on men in ludicrous face paint and wigs, crying or laughing children, groups of people hugging each other – ie, things which might be of interest to the viewer. But in future British broadcasters should have a filter to stop the gratuitous shots of women and show instead, I would suggest, a smug Irish comedian. Every time the ball goes out play, cut to a picture of Dara looking pleased with himself. My favourite world cup chick, btw, was a Russkie in a hat, very early on in the tournament. I can’t find a picture of her. Dara’s probably had them banned.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.