In the end, it was a more comfortable victory than the late Uruguay flourish suggested. A wicked sort of justice had been served by the hint of van Persie being offside at the moment Wesley Sneijder hit his shot to make it 2-1.
Uruguay have no moral high ground to occupy. People are right to point out here that Luis Suarez reacted openly and on impulse, not as a stealthy cheat, when he saved the goalbound Ghanaian effort with his hands in the quarter final (and no sane voice has been raised, so far as I know, in defence of his subsequent gloating).
But the fact remains that Ghana and not Uruguay should have been in tonight’s semi-final. There is indeed a great case to be made for giving referees discretion to award goals in such circumstances (see comments to this previous piece).
Had that been the case, I would have wanted Ghana, John Mensah and all, to go through to Sunday’s final. As it is, all those pundits who hailed the end of Europe as a footballing power have egg all over their faces, unless they can now conjure the name of a non-European, indeed non-EU country that will be vying for the 2010 trophy.
I do, however, echo the words of the French commentator who brought me coverage of tonight’s game on TF1 and said, as the rather folorn figure of Diego Forlan departed from the action at 3-1: “Bravo, Monsieur Forlan, bravo. C’etait un Mondial exemplaire.”