Hard to believe the first round of games of the 2014 World Cup are already over. But each team has played once, and that gives us an excellent opportunity to draw a number of way too premature conclusions, way too early. Take these with a grain of salt, remembering that the road to World Cup irrelevance is paved with the carcasses of teams that shone brightly in their opening match and were never heard from again (remember the Soviet Union side from 1986? No? After trouncing Hungary 6-0 in their opening game they were the early favorites to hoist the cup in Mexico. Didn't quite happen that way). But hey, how much fun is drawing conclusions if you can't draw wrong ones? So here goes (in no particular order):
1. CONCACAF teams not named Honduras can play with just about anybody. For Exhibit A, consider today's scoreless draw between Mexico and Brazil. Yeah, this isn't your uncle's Brazil, much less your father's Selecao, but it's still Brazil and they're still playing at home. And Mexico still outplayed them for long stretches of today's match.
2. Spain are done. We know, we know: In 2010 Spain lost the opening game of the World Cup and a month later they were hoisting the trophy. This time is different. For one thing, this wasn't a 1-0 fluke loss, it was a 5-1 beatdown that exposed massive flaws in Spain's game. The era of the tiki taki is drawing to a close. Enjoy its dying moments.