Settling the score

So that's it, another one over. I've put away all the charts, cleared the telly-room floor of four weeks of stains and debris, burned the England flag, binned the stupid blow-up England hand. Four weeks? Felt like four years. Now it's gone, 'twas a mere passing puff, a fart in the night, as if it never existed.

Bye-bye to "world-class players". That phrase has had its chips, England-wise. For 44 years we knew it was a lie, but still we trotted it out. Now it has been brutally demonstrated, to the whole world, as utter shite. Next season, all our commentators will be forced to say "Rooney, Croxteth-class striker; Lampard, south-London-suburbs-class midfield maestro; Terry, sort-of-Essex-borders/Hackney-Marshes-class resolute defender . . ."

Vuvuzelas. I grew to quite like them, or at least not hear them - what am I saying? What is that horrible buzzing sound in my lug 'ole? Get it out of here.

Free kicks. All rubbish. Don't blame it on the ball - though that was rubbish, too. What do players do all day in training?

Goalies' baggy shorts. Did you notice, all the South American goalies had them down to their ankles? Style statement or cheap elastic?

Best joke. I'd like to swap my Bentley for a Honda - Harry Redknapp. (For those asleep these past four weeks, Keisuke Honda of Japan, the blonde one, was an early star, while David Bentley, now let me think, plays for Spurs, but not very well.)

Best original remark, possibly. When an intruder ran on to the pitch, Mark Lawrenson said: "He's been drinking on an empty head." Well, I hadn't heard it before.

South American national anthems. Where do they get them? Just when I thought there were no words at all, all rhythm and no tune, all foreplay and no penetration, bingo, they sprang into life, some lips even started to move.

Intelligent players. It was their World Cup - Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Sneijder, Forlán, Klose. Boo to the thickos and, yes, Fabio knows their names.

Most boring coaches to watch. I was constantly fascinated by madman Maradona, always a joy, and smoothie-chops Joachim Löw of Germany, now returned to male-modelling Marks & Spencer pullies, and was riveted by Fabio's panic faces, but the two most expressionless, dreary, calm coaches were del Bosque of Spain and van Marwijk of Holland - both of whom just happened to reach the final.

Goals. I watched 56 live games as they happened, plus some highlights of eight that clashed, and my analysis of the goals I saw scored is as follows. Error (meaning goalie or defence mistake): 19. Scramble (part error, part element of luck): 9. Individual (mainly one person's brilliance): 29. Dead ball (free kicks, corners, penalties): 29. Passes'n'moves (in sequence, ending in a shot): 50.

Lies. I lied when I said I had burned my flag. It's safely in a drawer, along with loads of other England tat I bought after it was all over, only 10p each at Wilkinson's in Cockermouth, what a bargain. I'm now ready for World Cup 2014. See you in September . . .

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 19 July 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Godless Britain