There have been two constants through the early matches of the 2010 World Cup.
The first of course has been the absurdly conservative play by all and sundry, with coaches working on the "can't give up 3 points in your first match" theory.
This is of course pretty much standard procedure in every World Cup but we can be forgiven for forgetting it. Our memories of tournaments past are of heroic goals and desperate defending and all the things we love about the game.
However, those moments occur almost exclusively in the knockout rounds.
The "I'm not taking any chances on being in a hole after only one game" drudgery of the group stage, particularly the early portion of the group stage, is unremembered. Which is just as well or nobody would watch for the first week.
The other constant has been the overall excellence of the refereeing.
Sure there have been some iffy calls here and there; it's soccer after all and one man chasing 22 elite athletic specimens around a huge grass field for 90 minutes is, and always will be, a recipe for human error.
And not only has the officiating been almost uniformly first rate - as would befit the World Cup - but writers, TV blabbers and fans alike have been heartwarmingly cheerful, hopeful and optimistic about the whole thing.
Refereeing controversy? Thing of the past.
Welcome to the past.
I'm not going to tip the score of todays' 7:30 Germany - Serbia game due to it's early hour and the fact that it's not quite finished yet.
And the score isn't necessary for me to observe that the man with the whistle has ruined what could have been a very good game.
He apparently feels that there is simply no such thing as a regular old foul - whistle- DFK routine, like we're normally familiar with.
To this man, every stinking foul deserves a yellow card. It's outrageous, the most absurd thing I've seen in years.
He's from Sapin and supposedly highly regarded and I don't care. It's awful, he's stunk the place up, by the 15th minute he had made himself the main focus of the match and, leaving aside the two yellows which got Klose sent off (neither of which was worthy of a stern talking to, let alone a sanctioning), a majority of the players on the field are now carrying yellow cards into the next game.
The only bright spot might be getting Don Garber to hire him to work MLS games.
Most teams over here would be down to seven men before the half, leading to much shorter games and plenty of time to stop for a nice dinner before heading home.
One thing I think is very safe to say:
The Spaniard need not worry about having to stick around for the Round of 16. If they could, FIFA would likely send him home today.