The 2018 World Cup is unlikely to be as entertaining as the battle to stage it.
England went into the match with an all-star forward line which included Prince William and David Beckham.
At one stage their flair seemed poised to provide an unlikely victory, but they were unable to provide the finishing touches to several neat moves. Meanwhile, gaps at the back were exploited by the determined Russians and the nimble Arabs.
They ran rings around ageing central defender Lord Triesman, who had to resort to several late tackles – five months late, in fact.
However, his claims of bribery and corruption against four FIFA officials are certain to be ignored – and the result will stand.