The Fan - Hunter Davies learns of a heart attack

I've been sitting in front of the telly for weeks, stuffing myself with crisps and cheap white wine.

The postman came just after England was knocked out, while I was still moaning at Sven for sitting there, rubbing his nose, doing nothing. I was also still groaning at our lads, especially the three subs who'd come on, supposedly fresh, who looked as tired as the whole team, yet they'd had five whole days to recover and been given so many advantages - Owen's early if rather jammy goal, Brazil down to ten men, Ronaldo being taken off, France, Argentina and Italy knocked out early doors, England, it's going your way, if you can't get to the final this year, you never will, so what are yous playing at, you plonkers . . .

So, I was still in a bit of a state, as I opened the post. To find I'd had a heart attack. Or similar. My London GP was instructing me to attend a chronic disease clinic, because "you suffer from heart disease" - and enclosed a pathology test form to take at once to the Royal Free Hospital.

Gawd, that was quick, I thought. I know I've been sitting in front of the telly for weeks, if not centuries, going through endless stress, not to mention stuffing myself with crisps and cheap white wine, the stuff with plastic corks, now that is stressful. How I hate them, agony to get out of the bottle, further agony to get out of the corkscrew, then impossible to get in the bottle again, should you want to save whatever's left, which has not happened, during this World Cup.

We are 300 miles away in Lakeland. I haven't seen my GP for ages, so I rang to say I'd received this frightening letter.

"Threatening letter?" asked the receptionist. She laughed, ghoulishly, when I explained, but said she'd investigate. I'm assuming it's a mistake. Countless other things wrong with me, from rheumatoid arthritis to cut fingers through trying to shave plastic corks, but so far, the old ticker is fine. And with England out, I've been able to relax, think about other people's problems, such as underarm sweat. The managers of Spain and Mexico will have learnt many lessons from this World Cup, one of which is not to wear a blue shirt.

The Italian team have learnt that their especially tight, natty, sexy shirts, meant to restrict the chance of shirt-pulling, did them no bloody good, har har. We've learnt that one verse of our national anthem is quite sufficient, thank you, how kind, but please, please, no more.

Now we're down to just two teams, I'm missing so many familiar faces, players and managers who became part of the family these past four weeks. Blanco, will I ever see your sloping shoulders again? That bloke beside the Japanese manager, will he still have that stupid middle parting? I had my own little domestic routine, which had grown up around the games. Gone for another four years. Though I will not miss getting up for 7.30am kick-offs. That was knackering.

Football-wise, we haven't learnt much. No new systems, no new tricks, no new stars, while the old stars like Bex, Owen, Zidane, Thierry Henry, Batistuta, Raul, Totti, Hakan Sukur, Roy Keane, either disappointed, got injured, were sent off or went absent.

Was it fair? There were some dodgy decisions, which, in the future, technology should eliminate, but no, it wasn't fair. My wife came in from time to time, gave her informed opinion on who was clearly the better team, with the better players, having more of the ball, and said: surely, they will win. It doesn't work that way, pet, I sighed. Football is not fair. No more than life. Now, close the door.

What we have had are new teams emerging, countries hardly rated who surprised us all, but I doubt if the old world order is over. In Germany in 2006, I don't expect an African or Asian country to win it, but this time, Senegal, Japan and South Korea did excellently.

Most of all, it's been South Korea's World Cup. They've given most pleasure, most joy, as have their fans. That sea of red will stay in my mind for oh, perhaps till August and the new season. Communism imposed regimentation, uniformity and patriotism, but never managed much joy, unlike football, which can do all of that, with no force, no bloodshed. Hurrah for footie.

And hurrah for Sven? Yes, he got us there, when all seemed lost, then got us further than most expected. Yet at the same time, he left us disappointed. He didn't help our cause when it mattered most, failed to rejuvenate them, which should be part of his job. But on reflection, I don't think, if he'd jumped up and down, screamed at them, that it would have made much difference. We were revealed to be a pretty average team, as we already knew, deep down.

So who's going to win the final on Sunday? Probably a slightly better but still average team, performing well on the day, being lucky with dodgy decisions, not making too many silly mistakes. My head fears Germany, but my heart says . . . yes just checked it, it's still there . . . that Brazil will do it.

Hunter Davies will return in September for an exciting new season

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