There is an aftermath after every World Cup. Sometimes the after effects come soon, sometimes later.
Sometimes they are expected and sometimes they come from the blue. Sometimes the repercussions are positive, sometimes minus. Whatever the case, there are consequences.
It would have been expected that Marcello Lippi would have to exit from South Africa 2010 after leading the Italian national team to one of the worst performances of its history.
We all knew Italy was not that good, but who knew that Italy would be that bad? No matter what excuses or mitigating circumstances you care to conjure up, what happened was simply not acceptable.
World champions do not finish last in group stages. Certainly not in groups where the competition is with all due respect — Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia.
As France, the other finalist in 2006, also finished last in its group in South Africa, it was only fitting that Raymond Domenech should also bow out, but not before the French stars staged an unprecedented and unprofessional training strike.
Certainly, nobody in Brazil was surprised or upset that Dunga made a grand exit after his players imploded against the Dutch.
But some coaches stayed on, and they can count their lucky stars. Diego Maradona will be offered a new deal that will keep him in charge of Argentina through to the summer of the next World Cup in 2014, this after Argentina was annihilated by Germany.
At least Maradona made it to the quarter-finals. Fabio Capello is to continue as England manager despite England’s awful World Cup campaign which screeched to a halt in round 16. Had the FA chosen to part company with Capello, whose contract runs until Euro 2012 and is worth a reported £6m a year, it would have been forced to pay him a hefty compensation package.
Capello also has to reassess his tactics because the 4-4-2 formation he employed looked antiquated compared to other teams.
It is a process that has been going on for the better part of a decade but this, surely, is the tournament at which 4-4-2 drew its last breath, at least as an attacking formation.
As Johan Cruyff pointed out, the key to maintaining possession is the creation of triangles, the way Spain so eloquently showed us. Most commonly 4-2-3-1 at this World Cup and its very close Spanish cousin 4-2-1-3 have become more prevalent. 4-4-2 simply doesn’t lend itself to sustained passing.
England and others will probably cotton on to it in time for the next tournament, by which time their rivals will have moved on to something else.
The Jabulani will never be used again, but a new ball which bounces on display before the start of any World Cup will cause predictable gripes. Soccer players have a habit of complaining about every new development when it comes to tournament balls.
The Teimgeist used at the 2006 World Cup was called the "flying ball" and the "helium ball" because of its perceived extended flight time, while the Fevernova ball from the 2002 World Cup was deemed too light and too bouncy.
Remember, though, that Diego Forlan, chosen the best player in South Africa and was joint top scorer, knew how to kick the living daylights out of the Jabulani to devastating effect.
While Forlan and the leading players of the semi-finalist sides largely performed well, many of the top stars failed to hit the heights they were supposed to. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney were nowhere while Lionel Messi, Kaka, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba showed only patches of their true selves.
These were the players whose commercials bombarded viewers day and night of the World Cup. But the real stars of 2010 – Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, and Forlan – never put their mouths to a TV soda can. The lesson of South Africa is not to presume the big names who quench their thirst for millions of dollars will always come through.
The pressure to prove they are the best might have got to the established stars, and they might also have gone to the World Cup on rubbery legs.
Messi and Rooney each played more than 50 games during the season, then were expected to give their all on the biggest stage of all. How many matches can the body of a player take?
FIFA has attempted to incorporate rest periods into the calendar, and some countries, like Germany, have a winter break. The FAs concerned must see to it that all the players do have a rest before they come to a very demanding World Cup in Brazil.
Perhaps the biggest fallout from South Africa was the refereeing howlers and the almost certain introduction of goal line technology in 2014.
Frank Lampard’s no-goal against Germany, the one the whole world saw except the two who count most (referee and assistant) finally forced FIFA to concede that although to err is human, to shun available, useful aid is a huge error in judgment.