June 25th: the first phase of the World Cup ended yesterday with England stumbling to a narrow victory over Kuwait and with Northern Ireland somehow getting through their game against Spain without conceding a penalty. And on Monday, the serious bit starts. A nice moment, I had thought, to venture a few pundit-like predictions for you to scoff at (or admire) in ten days’ time. Will grit and ‘character’ undo the flashy pirouetting of the Argie, the robot-like pre-planning of the Hun? That kind of thing.