Across the top of the screen floated a banner, pulled by a little aeroplane: IN ARSENE WE TRUST.
For about ten years, the back pages of football magazines have featured coloured boots. I thought they would never catch on – but blow me, they’re everywhere now!
The relentless professional era has taken elements of the beep test and incorporated these into real sports, even disciplines we usually think of as “skill” sports.
Even amid the camper vans and the seemingly anarchic raucousness of the beach, Sepp Blatter reigns supreme.
Is it just me or is everyone enjoying saying the word “Kukushkin” rather a lot?
A problem arises when it is assumed that professional playing experience is the sole source of authority.
Brazil's disintegration against Germany was shocking because it so utterly exceeded our expectations of what was likely to happen - and we enjoy football more because it resists predictability.
Germany, superbly well drilled, provided the perfect example of the superiority of the team game with their 7-1 evisceration of Brazil’s emotionally overcharged individuals in the semi-final.
Is being wary of enthusiasm just intellectual masochism, or are we missing out on a powerful force for good in the world?
And of course give up all training or playing for five weeks before their first game, perhaps even have some major surgery, spend some time in a wheelchair, like Luis Suárez.
I am honestly and truly now coming to the conclusion that England did astonishingly well. In fact, they overachieved.
The New Statesman goes behind the froth of daily headlines to look at the people and the passions shaping our world.
Be well-informed. Be a New Statesman reader.