As we’ve long known, the single most important aspect of any major international tournament is the inevitable soul-searching and despondency about the state of football in these islands.

During tournaments gone by, John Giles famously earmarked “personal stereos and that” as well as “third-level education” as nefarious enemies of the modern game.

But now, thanks to a number of hi-tech case studies carried out by Gilesy’s researcher-in-chief, Graeme Souness, our chief obstacles have been identified as remote controls, Playstations and traffic.

Specifics aside, Gilesy’s chief recommendation would appear to be a return to abject poverty as soon as possible.

Thankfully, this is already being taken care of, as far as we know. So expect a swift return to Ireland’s rightful place at the very top of world football.

Less impressed, unfortunately, are the good people at Argentina Tourismo, struggling to promote their humble nation using papyrus and crude hand signals.

Since Gilesy’s recommendations reached the Argentinean government – carrier pigeon we assume – all plans to develop an electricity network and allow the import of some basic automotive transport have immediately been shelved.

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