Fifty-six FIFA World Cup™ matches have flown by, as have countless press conferences and interviews with the key figures of South Africa 2010. But that only tells half the story, as the greatest show on earth has a tendency to provoke all kinds of passions in those involved.
Hope and humour, defiance and disappointment, guffaws and giggles: no emotion has been left unrecorded by the world’s media in South Africa, and FIFA.com presents a selection of the best. Of course, no such list would be complete without the contribution of a certain Diego Armando Maradona.
"My granddad used to tell my dad that football was better in his day. I say the same thing to my son, as he will do to his son."
Brazil coach Dunga gives short shrift to the suggestion that the five-time world champions' current style of play is uninspiring.
"We'll meet up after the match for a glass of champagne, I hope. Or a glass of water."
German Football Association President Theo Zwanziger hesitates over naming the beverage that he and national coach Joachim Low would sharing, ahead of Germany's decisive group match with Ghana. With victory assured, it is safe to assume that water was promptly removed from the menu.
"Fabio Capello is an intelligent man, and a knowledgeable, successful coach with a record to prove it. I just hope he is not a stubborn one."
Former England international Alan Shearer suggests that The Three Lions' Italian supremo could do worse than consider a change of tactics.
"While we might not win the 100 metres, we do have a chance of winning the 4x100m relay."
Japan coach Takeshi Okada stretches his metaphors to describe how his team's collective effort will combat Denmark's individual brilliance.
"We showed the world that we deserve to be here. But in football, it's not always the better team that comes out on top."
Serbia coach *Radomir Antic takes a leaf out of Jose Mourinho's book as he describes the 2-1 loss to Australia that eliminated his side from the tournament. *
"Enjoy the match. And don't get injured."
Sir Alex Ferguson offers some words of encouragement to Korea Republic and Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, prior to his charge's Round of 16 match against Uruguay.
"The good thing is that all the players made it back in one piece."
Joachim Low describes the German team's visit to a South African safari park, during which the lions got a little too close for comfort.
"It's a bit of a double-edged sword, because if you save them all, it doesn't give any confidence to the potential penalty takers."
England goalkeeper *David James explains the dilemma he faces during spot-kick training. *
"I hope that we’ll get an easier group next time, because we could do with a little helping hand to go that one step further."
*Côte d'Ivoire forward Salomon Kalou wishes for a change in fortune, following their second consecutive exit at the group stage. After Argentina, the Netherlands and Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, the Elephants faced Brazil, Portugal and Korea DPR this time around.
"Thanks! See you at our next pre-match press conference."
Ghana's press officer Randy Abbey peers into his crystal ball in the run-up to his nation's winner-takes-all clash with USA. The words of a confident man or a complete bluff? Either way, it was the Ghanaians who moved on to the quarter-finals.
"It's not my job to decide who takes penalty-kicks. It wasn't a bad decision to let Lukas take it. The only bad decision was allowing the keeper to save it."
Germany captain Philipp Lahm reflects on the penalty missed by team-mate Lukas Podolski versus Serbia.
"I did not watch the England game, no. I decided to take advantage of the lack of traffic and go into the city for a meal. You'd be amazed how quickly you can get down there when an England match is on."
Scottish tennis player Andy Roddick, in London to compete at Wimbledon, shares his thoughts on England-Algeria.
"England is no longer the mother country of football. It's more like the grandmother country."
Former Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher pulls no punches following Die Nationalmannschaft's impressive 4-1 victory over England in the Round of 16.
"It's good that they've all gone home. Another week, and they'd have been eating each other. A bout of cannibalism has been averted."
French football legend Eric Cantona describes one possible outcome of Les Bleus' internal strife.
"What delighted me this year was the hundreds of people who came to Milan airport to see us off and wish us well. Four years ago, before we left for Germany, there was just one person there, holding a banner that read 'Forza Lippi'. And he was a friend of mine."
Italy coach Marcello Lippi contemplates the level of support back home, prior to the reigning world champions' opening match with Paraguay. The number of fans present at the airport to welcome the Italians back home – after they failed to make it past the group stage – is unknown.
"No, I like women, I prefer women! I’m dating Veronica, she's 31, blonde and beautiful. The affection I've been showing towards my players is a way of thanking them for a job well done. Nothing more than that!"
Argentina coach Diego Maradona sees the funny side of a question relating to his propensity for enthusiastically embracing his players.