My mate Frank was booked on the midnight train to Crimea but he stayed back in the pub to watch Portugal play Spain. "Should be a cracker," he said as the waitress stood on a chair and searched through the channels. His optimism didn't last long. "First goal wins this," he said out loud just before Villa scored and, like the Portuguese, he picked up his bags and left. Another for the could have beens, then, as Ronaldo joined the list of players - Rooney, Ribery - who departed the tournament with a whimper on the pitch and a long list of grievances off it.
"Don't worry," I'd told Frank's girlfriend before kick-off, "it's only once every four years." There are times this month when I've felt like saying the same to myself.