World Cup winners pace their tournaments
A World Cup is like time speeded up, a kaleidoscope of emotions crammed into a month.
But the tournament is rarely won by the team that gets out of the blocks fastest.
For those sides that start well, dealing with euphoria can often present problems - as the Germans might find after their superb 4-0 win over Australia.
Pacing tournaments is normally a traditional German strength, but the 2010 team are young and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the expectations they have now aroused.
And Argentina may find themselves in a similar situation.
Without an excellent performance from Enyeama in the Nigeria goal Diego Maradona's men would have won by more than 1-0.
And bearing in mind their problems in qualifying, Argentina can feel as ecstatic as the Germans at getting their campaign off to a winning start. And therein could lie the danger.
So far, Maradona has had a good year - and the tide started to turn when his side won 1-0 away to Germany at the start of March.
Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller, tormentors of Australia's flat back line, made little impression in a match where the Germans could only manage one shot on target.
Maradona was delighted. Shoring up the defence had been his priority. In a bid for solidity, he had gone with a back four essentially made up of four centre backs (Nicolas Otamendi, Martin De Michelis, Walter Samuel and Gabriel Heinze) and a team set up for the counter-attack.
After the match he announced that this would be his team for the World Cup.
In the ensuing months, doubts crept in. Such a line-up had worked well away to the Germans, but might not prove appropriate against defensive opponents.
Throw in the fact that so many Argentine strikers were running into form, factor in the positive vibes of good team spirit, and Maradona's line-up has gone through important changes.
First, in the farewell friendly against Canada, which they won 5-0, Jonas Gutierrez dropped from midfield to roving right back, making space for Maxi Rodriguez. With Lionel Messi not risked, Carlos Tevez came in.
The stocky Manchester City striker is desperate to make an impression, and did so well in training that Maradona could not bring himself to leave him out.
So against Nigeria the variation on the Germany game was Tevez rather than Rodriguez in for Otamendi.
And with just one change, a side whose balance was over-cautious, may have swung too far in the other direction.
The introduction of Tevez allowed Messi to float free - and surely now we can forget the talk, substantiated by nothing more than dislike for the man, that Maradona is jealous of Messi and out to sabotage his campaign. Messi could have scored a hat-trick on Saturday.
There may be grounds for concern, though, that Argentina needed so many chances to score one goal.
It also seems to be the case that pushing the team forward reduces the space available to spring Angel Di Maria down the left.
And the debate over Tevez will continue. An international record of nine goals in 53 games suggests that at the highest level, for all his hard work, he does not carry enough of a threat - a theory that Saturday's game did nothing to disprove.
All this is significant because the addition of the extra striker left the team alarmingly open, especially after midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron went off for the last 15 minutes.
Veron and Messi are room-mates, and are forging an interesting partnership on the field.
As their tactical consultations during the game revealed, Veron is Maradona's coach on the field.
Responsibility has been heaped upon the shaven head of a player who is now 35 - and, as I have commented here before, Argentina's squad is short on central midfielders.
Newcastle's Gutierrez is by no means a natural right back, and the rest of the back line are not the quickest.
And Maradona must surely fear captain Javier Mascherano will be forced into giving away free kicks to protect the defenders, with the risk of picking up cards and sitting out a vital match through suspension.
His deputy Mario Bolatti is elegant on the ball but has nothing like the same defensive tenacity.
Maradona might be well advised to revert to a more cautious line-up at some point in the tournament.
But in the post-victory euphoria the temptation to make defensive changes is easy to resist. Perhaps on Thursday the speed of the South Koreans will make him think again.
Now to a quick word on Brazil's fascinating opener against North Korea on Tuesday. Dunga's men will outgun their opponents technically and physically, and should win comfortably.
But - and this is the intriguing element - they have tended to struggle against defensive teams who do not play into the hands of their counter-attack.
Often in this situation they have broken the deadlock from a set piece. A favourite is the corner which swings out before it reaches the near post - one of their giants will attack the space and flick the ball on, either at goal or towards the far post for a team-mate.
When they played Ireland in a friendly a few months ago it was clear that rival coach Giovanni Trapattoni had done his homework.
At Brazil's corners, Ireland placed two men blocking the space, preventing the Brazilians from getting a run.
It worked well, and it will be interesting to see if North Korea, and Brazil's other opponents, have picked up on it.
Normal service resumes next week with questions - please send them to email@example.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next time.