Mixed success for African teams
Six games played by Africa at the continent's first World Cup, but just the one win.
Not the start Africa was hoping for, especially given the perceived advantages of playing at home. But putting things into context, only Tunisia avoided defeat in the opening round of matches in Germany - whereas three of the record six finalists did here.
Ghana are the sole victors and history is on their side. Ever since Morocco became the first Africans into the knock-out stages in 1986, the continent's first team to win at the World Cup has always gone the furthest.
For my money, beating the Serbs was the big one for the Black Stars and coach Milovan Rajevac's fine tactical brain assessed his homeland's strengths and weaknesses only too well.
It was the Nations Cup all over again as the Black Stars (with Inkoom, Appiah and Muntari on a strong bench), eked out a 1-0 win , to follow on from three slender wins of the same scoreline, which took them to this year's Nations Cup final.
It was in Angola where John Mensah's enforced absence effectively shoe-horned former midfielder Isaac Vorsah into central defence. And he has shone there, a blessing in disguise.
Drogba's return to a more organised Ivory Coast team could be the spark
Ghana could have been joined by Ivory Coast in the winner's enclosure, with Gervinho and Drogba wasting fine openings against Portugal.
But what leapt out was the way Sven-Goran Eriksson has changed a team that was little short of shambolic in its last competitive fixture (the Nations Cup loss to Algeria) into one that was well-organised and tactically-disciplined.
Struggling centre-back Sol Bamba has been replaced by Sevilla midfielder Didier Zokora in an inspired switch because Zakora held firm, alongside Kolo Toure and against Cristiano Ronaldo and company.
Meanwhile, it was noticeable how the front pair of Aruna Dindane and Salomon Kalou dropped to the flanks whenever Portugal had possession, so making the 4-3-1-2 (or 4-3-3) more solid - and allowing playmaker Gervinho to have one of his most influential games.
North Korea's impressive showing has just made Group G ever more engrossing, and Sunday evening's Soccer City clash between the West Africans and Brazil should be a feast.
South Africa were the other team to avoid defeat as an initially-nervy Bafana Bafana weathered the Mexican waves of attacks, thanks to fortune and committed defending, but got going once regular left-back Tsepo Masilela replaced Lucas Thwala.
The switch meant South Africa were no longer on the back foot but able to come forward, so changing the nature of their play and expect the marauding Masilela, an injury concern last week, to start against Uruguay.
With all but one of the starting XI making their World Cup bow on Friday, Carlos Alberto Parreira's side should be better against Uruguay in a match which the Brazilian, loath to face France needing a result, says he's going all out to win.
One concern though is the form of Steven Pienaar, who's finding his feet in his new second striker role as well as struggling with fatigue. Quiet against Mexico, the Everton star needs to come good to unlock what will be a stubborn Uruguayan defence.
As for the losing sides, Nigeria's Super Eagles seem to have the greatest chance of progress, especially if Vincent Enyeama continues to play like he did against Argentina! The Israel-based goalkeeper, who almost died in a car crash six years ago, single-handedly ensured Nigerian morale didn't take a battering.
Although they can massively improve up front, the Super Eagles' eleven shots producing just one on target, central midfielder Haruna Lukman impressed as he smoothly orchestrated play, rarely displaying the hot-headed temperament many Nigerians fear and seemingly bringing more dynamism to the central midfield role than the injured John Mikel Obi.
"We didn't go out there to just play, we actually had a game plan" said Dickson Etuhu, which makes you wonder about previous coaching regimes and reminds you that Nigeria are bizarrely based at sea level despite playing all their games at altitude.
Now while Paul Le Guen was rightly hailed as a saviour when leading Cameroon to the finals from a perilous situation, his line-up in the defeat to Japan raised questions about his knowledge of the best way forward. In a side fielding eight changes to the one that exited the Nations Cup, the Frenchman experimented with Eto'o on the right wing.
It falls to Cameroon manager Le Guen to help Eto'o stand out from his team-mates
That was Eto'o's third different position this year for Cameroon and unless the penalty box panther starts spearheading the attack, opponents don't need to worry about neutralising the three-time African Footballer of the Year as Le Guen can do it himself. Dropping Song was also a massive bolt from the blue.
Finally, it's impossible to see how Algeria coach Rabah Saadane can keep faith with keeper Faouzi Chaouchi whose credit following his sensational play-off display against Egypt must be expiring.
He's dropped several clangers since, while showing gross indiscipline (trying to head-butt the ref) in the Nations Cup semi-final and it seems Bulgaria-based Rais Mboli, who only made his Algeria debut last month and who recently trained with Man Utd, is set to replace him.
The North Africans' problems aren't at the back though, for they now boast just one goal from six games and have suffered four sendings-off in their last two meaningful games.
These troubled and toothless Desert Foxes aside, Africa's other finalists are still in the hunt.