France were crowned world champions for the second time with victory over Croatia
Four simple words, used variously as a statement or a question across the country during a baking June and scorching July: "Best World Cup ever?"
The 2018 edition of international football's ultimate gathering was not the most-anticipated tournament in the game's long history, for a variety of reasons, but perhaps that was a good thing.
Because from the moment hosts Russia smashed five goals past Saudi Arabia in the opening game, there was barely any let-up in drama and excitement. The group stage, the knockout stage, even the final - so often a cagey procession to extra time in recent World Cups - delivered what they needed to.
In a football world of plenty, the relative infrequency of World Cups - held only every four years - means the tournament retains a fascination and cultural heft that easily outweighs the now technically superior club game.
There are, it seems, certain obligatory ingredients to a memorable World Cup, so let's see how 2018 really measured up:
There needs to be drama
Winning goals in 90th minute or later
We need shocks, but not too many
Previous World Cup wins by semi-finalists
Superstars need to emerge
We went into 2018 wondering which of Ronaldo or Lionel Messi would finally dominate a World Cup.
Ronaldo's hat-trick against Spain was electrifying but also a false dawn, while Messi could not carry a reeling Argentina team who started with a different formation in all four of their games as they searched in vain for a functional combination.
It seems extraordinary, given their club exploits, but neither Ronaldo nor Messi has ever scored in a World Cup knockout match.
Date of game
Carlos Desiderio Peucelle
There needs to be a theme to the World Cup
In 1966 it was dogs liberating trophies, in 2014 it was goalline technology and referees spraying foam to mark free-kicks and defensive walls (note how much vanishing spray has become part of the game by the fact no-one deemed it worthy of mention throughout the tournament).
In 1990 we had such a defensively stifling tournament the laws of the game were altered with the outlawing of goalkeepers being able to pick up (most) backpasses.
In 2018 it was all about VAR and although this is not the place to discuss individual incidents across 64 games, we can certainly see the effect it had on the football.
The most obvious is the sheer number of penalties. As the tournament began it was clear that players were not prepared for the scrutiny that VAR would subject them to, with day three featuring five penalties. Three were scored that day, contributing to a record 22 penalty goals in a single World Cup.
% set-piece goals
England need to turn up
It had been so long since England had captured the public's imagination at a World Cup that a song from 1996 (Three Lions - released closer to the first broadcast of Fawlty Towers than to now) became the theme of the endless summer.
Football didn't quite come home, but England equalled their best performance in a foreign World Cup and the likes of Maguire, Trippier and Pickford have joined Gascoigne, Waddle and Platt as surnames that will echo down the national consciousness for generations.
Harry Maguire had more than twice as many touches in the opposition penalty area (23) as any other defender in the competition as well as the joint-most headed attempts of any player (nine). Kieran Trippier created more goalscoring chances than any other player (24), finishing ahead of Neymar, Kevin de Bruyne, Luka Modric, Eden Hazard and Philippe Coutinho, in that order. Some company to be keeping.
Harry Kane's expected goals tally during the tournament was 3.821 based on the difficulty of his chances and the probability of scoring them. His best chances are shown in this graphic, represented by the size of the circleSource: bbc.com