Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Senegal had been a sobering experience for supporters of the newly-reformed Great Britain team, but the double header at Wembley on Sunday provided the best evidence yet that this might just be a worthwhile experiment.
A bumper crowd of 85,000 turned up to the national stadium, and the opening encounter between Senegal and Uruguay was a fiercely contested reminder that Olympic Gold is still valued outside this country.
After seven long years of waiting, the Olympic Games will arrive in London for the third time, with Danny Boyle’s “Isles of Wonder” opening ceremony giving the city the celebration it has never had.
Just one day after the jubilant scenes in Singapore that followed the announcement that the Games were coming to these shores, the tragic terrorist attacks of 7/7 put things into perspective. Unsurprisingly, Londoners weren’t exactly in a partying mood and it was several weeks before the achievement and the realisation of the task at hand was recognised.
Since then, it’s been a constant stream of negative press reports and public discontent. Debates about cost, legacy, infrastructure and, recently, security, have been dominating the headlines and you could have been forgiven for thinking that no one in the UK actually wanted the Olympics.