The World Cup reminded us that good football does not stop at the white cliffs of Dover.
It issued a sobering reminder that success is a matter of hard work, teamwork and technique, not tabloid column inches and flashy TV ads.
We were taught a much-needed lesson in humility - maybe our national game is not all we believe it to be.
And now that South Africa 2010 is out of the way, we can forget about all that misery and get back to the BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD!!
Who cares if Wayne Rooney flopped on the High Veld when we can see him run riot at the Hawthorns?
Who needs the World Cup when we can watch a competition in which sloppy defending and tactical anarchy are positively encouraged?
Much like Carlsberg's claim to have the probably the best generic continental lager in the world, the Premier League's oft-repeated boast cannot be categorically disproven, even if everybody knows it isn't really true.
In any case, while the 'Best in the world' argument might matter when trying to conquer new, far-flung markets, it hardly matters on a domestic level.
Of course the Premier League needs to be entertaining, but if it isn't quite as good as the Bundesliga? Well, fans are hardly going to defect en masse to Eintracht Frankfurt or Bayer Leverkusen.
As the arrivals of Yaya Toure and David Silva ensure that Gareth Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips need never see the light of day in a Manchester City shirt again, the debate is bound to reopen about whether a thriving Premier League actually hurts England.
It is one of the more perverse arguments against the internationalisation of the Premier League.
There are valid reasons why a foreigner-heavy league might not be altogether good for the national game, but when it comes to England's World Cup chances it makes no difference.
The pool of English players the national manager has to choose from might be smaller than in previous years - say, 80 instead of 200 - but the 120 who have fallen by the wayside never had a chance of getting picked anyway.
The 80 who play are the best 80.
Realistically there can be no more than 50 players at any one time who have a hope of getting picked for England.
And if it is ever the case that fewer than 50 Englishmen are able to get a game in their own country's top flight, that will just mean that English footballers are rubbish.
Those England players that are not regulars for their club, like Barry and Wright-Phillips, need only drop down to a more realistic level to earn first-team football.
In the last 20 years, four of Europe's 'big five' leagues have produced a World Cup win. Guess who is the exception?
Spain, Italy, France and Germany all have large numbers of foreign players in their domestic leagues.
But all four have realised tough competition for places at club level means you have to pay more attention to nurturing local talent, not less.
There are only so many clubs who can afford to hoover up the flashiest foreign talent. For the rest, their best chance of getting a top-class player is by producing one themselves.
And their FAs contribute significantly to the development of young players. Ours preferred to spend a billion quid on a jumped-up concert venue instead of the National Football Centre at Burton which should finally be completed in 2012 - a decade later than it might have been and 25 years after the French built Clairefontaine.
In any case, the quality of the team is more important than the quality of the players. Had things panned out slightly differently on Sunday night, Andre Ooijer, Khalid Boulahrouz and Edson Braafheid would now be in possession of World Cup winners' medals. Something to think about when people say we cannot possibly win when Glen Johnson is our best right-back.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Back page of The Sun: Cesc: This is for Arsenal. "I am really proud being an Arsenal player."
Back page of Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star: Cesc pictured wearing Barcelona shirt. "I am really proud to have been an Arsenal player."
Guess which newspaper Cesc Fabregas writes an exclusive column for? (And yes, I know he had the Barca shirt shoved on him as a joke)
FOREIGN VIEW: As Holland gets stuck right in to Howard Webb (even Nigel 'The Impaler' De Jong had the temerity to have a go), Johan Cruyff issued a timely reminder that the Dutch side may also have to bear some responsibility for turning the World Cup final into a street scuffle.
He said: "Regrettably, sadly, they played very dirty. So much so that they should have been down to nine immediately, then they made two [such] ugly and hard tackles that even I felt the damage. It hurts me that I was wrong in my disagreement that instead Holland chose an ugly path to aim for the title. This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style, yes it served the Dutch to unsettle Spain. If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they ended up losing. They were playing anti-football."
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