With the end of the World Cup and the start of the Europa League and a few of the professional league seasons, I think it is high time to get a new thread going! The World Cup both met and exceeded expectations. On the one hand, it met expectations in serving to somewhat burnish the reputation of a corrupt and aggressive Russian government, and an equally corrupt FIFA organization that has learned nothing since its recent self-induced meltdown. Qatar 2022, the existence of which remains an utter farce from a political and humanitarian standpoint, is still on. On the other hand, it exceeded expectations in the sense that the action on the pitch was arguably the best we've seen at World Cup in a generation - wonderful skill, big teams going out early, an unexpected finalist, and all the thrills, chills, and spills that go along with that. It also gave us a chance to experience the warmth and hospitality and of a Russian population who are rarely publicly engaged with the west outside the usual politicized channels. Let's hope the coming season brings more of the latter and less of the former...there is a lot of good football to look forward to, let's hope it will be at least as exciting as the the last one!