By cruel irony, the day upon which France vaunted its footballing mediocrity by losing to Spain at Euro 2012 also happened to be the 40th birthday of Zinedine Zidane.
Ah, Zizou! Even six years after the retirement of the midfielder with the magical feet, it's impossible not to miss him when his successors look so unworthy, with less collective verve than the son of Algerian immigrants sometimes seemed to have in his big toe.
More than any other Frenchman, with the exception perhaps of Michel Platini, Zidane fed the illusion that France is a great football power. Has that ever seemed further from the truth than now, after this European Championship where the French tied with a wounded England, lost to Sweden and beat only the tournament co-host, Ukraine?
Yes, at the last World Cup. That was when the entire French team humiliated itself and its nation by going on strike, sitting on a bus, curtains drawn, refusing to train. In a rare moment of lucidity, Raymond Domenech, their then-coach who no one now misses, slammed that group as "a bunch of irresponsible, stupid brats" who became "the laughing stock of the world."
So true. A French optimist -- are there any left? -- would argue that the good news is that that was the nadir. Collectively punished and then put back piece by piece by Domenech's classy successor, Laurent Blanc, France does at least now have team.
Just not a very good one. It is not a disgrace to lose 2-0 to the world and defending European champion. But in this eastern industrial outpost of European football, where the air had a slight chemical whiff in the Donbass Arena that overlooks mines and slag heaps, Blanc brought a team as dangerous as a popgun against a Spanish armada of stars from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
David Beckham hugged his teammates with tears in his eyes, then walked off the pitch to a standing ovation
For fast bowler Sreesanth, it was two days of sleepless nights and no bath as the disgraced cricketer was not "comfortable" with the bathroom.
David Warner is all set to face disciplinary action for his twitter rant against two journalists
Atletico Madrid ended a 14-year winless run against their city rivals by taking the title on Friday, coming from behind for a cathartic 2-1 win in extra time.
The son of the U.S. national swim team director is reporting that Michael Phelps is planning a comeback for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Indian American software magnate Vivek Ranadive, who has become the first person of Indian descent to become the owner of a major US basketball team, plans to build the Sacramento Kings into a global brand.
David Beckham's retirement will bring an end to a footballing career that went far beyond his sport.