It's all very well getting giggly and excited about the World Cup, but what of the social cost to Brazil? Do FIFA have a responsibility to ensure accord and sustainability..?
The stark realisation for Manchester United fans is that their Everton counterparts seem much happier without David Moyes. Even more so after their 1-0 win...
The Premier League's reign as No1 in Europe was always slightly curious, given the relative rarity with which trophies were actually won. Manchester United beat Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final to begin a five-season stint of statistical supremacy, but only in its final gasps did more silverware arrive, when Roman Abramovich's billion pounds finally got their reward. Premier League clubs could advance en masse to the quarter-finals and all but corner the last four, yet not quite go all the way until the tide was very much against them. The improbability of Chelsea's eventual triumph was underlined by the struggles that quickly cost Roberto Di Matteo his job when his side became the first defending champions to be eliminated at the group stage, stripping away already-threadbare pretensions that they were the best team in Europe, and the Premier League's overall claim likewise perished.
Had the Blues lost against Barcelona in the 2011-12 semi-finals then Spain would have moved to the top of the rankings then, but nothing could stop La Liga's ascension a year later - not even an all-Bundesliga Champions League final - because England's representatives did so poorly.
Last season, Manchester City did not even get the Europa League consolation place after finishing bottom of their group. Chelsea surrendered their crown at the first opportunity, even if Rafa Benitez went on to win the Europa League. Manchester United and Arsenal reached the last 16 but got no further.
Now the same quartet, plus Tottenham in the Europa League accompanied by the unlikely duo of Swansea and Wigan, start the group stage this week in varyingly questionable states of health.
Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City are doing their best to shame those of us who predicted they would regain the title Roberto Mancini won in 2012; David Moyes's Manchester United dropped points against Chelsea and Liverpool, and a controversial win at home to a promoted side does not banish doubts about the new manager's bedding-in; Chelsea's won-drawn-lost columns match United's and, though it is very early days, Jose Mourinho's seven points from four games is the worst opening return for Abramovich's outlay; and Arsenal's revival since the first-day defeat at home to Aston Villa has consisted of victories in three games that last season's fourth-place finishers also won.
Looking at the groups, Chelsea are best-placed, with only Schalke, Basel and Steaua Bucharest in their way, although the Germans topped Arsenal's section in 2012 when Arsene Wenger's side lost their final, dead game at Olympiakos.
Moyes definitely needs a good start against Bayer Leverkusen, who have started strongly in the Bundesliga, with Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk making up the group. Wenger often feels persecuted by draws and Marseille, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund is pretty tough. Pellegrini, at least, will feel that CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen are beatable companions to the holders, Bayern Munich, but then again he probably felt the same about Cardiff and Stoke.
It was odd to have to no England-based team even in the quarter-finals last season. ITV and Sky suddenly had a much less rewarding property to show. But there are benefits to the sudden vulnerability.
There is a long-term question that could trouble supporters of other clubs, and those who enjoy any success for 'our' boys (however myriad their nationalities) against even-more-foreign clubs: the Bundesliga is pushing for second place behind Spain and if the Premier League's best stumble repeatedly then the fourth slot could be lost. Yet the advantage over Serie A in UEFA's coefficient tables has actually been extended of late. And though uncertainty may be anathema to club accountants, to the wider viewer it is the basis of football's appeal.
During the Premier League's best seasons the group stages were, in fact, at their worst: it all became too processional. Predictable victories appealed to the committed but for the ITV audience lacked the drama of the programmes the matches were displacing.
After the Bayern-Dortmund final at Wembley in May, the Bundesliga has never been more fashionable; the Champions League, meanwhile, looks more capable than ever of providing plentiful supplies of schadenfreude to the English fan.
Manchester United v Bayer Leverkusen
Real Sociedad v Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Copenhagen v Juventus
Galatasaray v Real Madrid
Benfica v Anderlecht
Olympiakos FC v Paris St Germain
Bayern Munich v CSKA Moscow
FC Viktoria Plzen v Manchester City
Chelsea v Basel
Schalke v FC Steaua Bucuresti
Marseille v Arsenal
Napoli v Borussia Dortmund
Atletico Madrid v Zenit St. Petersburg
FK Austria Memphis Magna v FC Porto
AC Milan v Celtic
Barcelona v Ajax
"Wenger often feels persecuted by draws" Really? Struggling to remember him mentioning that ever, let alone often...- highburyJD