The Copa América Centenario ended as it began for the US, with defeat to Colombia. Still, some of the fight and flair that was so glaringly absent in the semi-final loss to Argentina was back for Saturday’s third-place match, allowing the Americans to restore some self-respect and optimism.
The problem with opening your mind is that it can become hard to shut.
We are halfway through the tournament yet the sense is that Germany’s campaign is just beginning. The world champions qualified from their group without conceding but they also did so without impressing.
Come back group stage, all is forgiven. Portugal advanced to a quarter-final against Poland thanks to Ricardo Quaresma’s decisive goal three minutes from the end of extra time but, unbelievably, it had taken that long to produce an attempt on target.
Roy Hodgson has no intention of “begging” the Football Association to keep his job as England manager once his side’s participation at the European Championship is concluded but believes he would oversee notable progress if given the chance to carry on.
Whenever Chris Coleman’s players return from France – and it could be a while yet – the homecoming is guaranteed to be more lively than the last and only other occasion they reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament.
For Northern Ireland the ride stops here; albeit with a rueful, celebratory roar rather than the usual tournament tears.
The Gunners will have to see off competition from their Premier League rivals and one of the Champions League finalists if they hope to complete a deal.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman is reportedly looking to reunite with Morgan Schneiderlin.
Ibrox side Glasgow Rangers and Celtic were both apparently tracking Peterborough United new boy Gwion Edwards.