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Gianni Infantino is one of those intensely political people who believe that as far as everyone else is concerned, there is no place for politics in football. It was just last year – at some grimly political press conference in Iran, naturally – that the Fifa president announced: “It’s very clear that politics should stay out of football and football should stay out of politics.” Is it? If so, the conclusion of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday suggests it is time to ask Infantino how that one’s working out for him.

So much of the previous month’s tournament had felt exuberantly political, from the delicious insolence of Megan Rapinoe in pre-emptively declining any invitation to Trump’s White House, to the boos and chants of “equal pay” that greeted Infantino’s own arrival on the pitch after the final, right down to the US players running over to the stands to kiss their wives and girlfriends in the hour of maximum-ratings triumph. I know this is a moment at which we have to talk about the potential to “grow the game”. So let me say that the last of those spectacles in particular served as a reminder of how far the men’s game has to grow in this department. Let’s hope it manages to ease itself into the late 20th century at some point over the next decade, so that maybe – by the year 2086 or something – we might one day even see a gay male player feel remotely able to do the same.

While we’re at it, another notable feature of the tournament is the support that the highest-profile nonconformity has had from the coaches. Asked about what some have characterised as Rapinoe’s outspokenness, the USA manager Jill Ellis was only positive. “Megan was built for this, built for these moments, built to be a spokesperson,” she said. “She’s eloquent. She speaks well and from the heart. I never had any worries about Megan speaking out. The bigger the spotlight the more she shines.” Again, it’s difficult to imagine many coaches in the men’s game doing quite the same, with the more likely scenario being a stern word in the ear to the insurrectionist and an evidence-free warning that this sort of thing ends up being destabilising for the team.

All in all, there was much to enjoy about a tournament that was supposedly Fifa’s somehow slipping from the governing body’s control. Not least the knowledge that there was very little Infantino could do about the various rebellions at any point, other than don his shit-eating grin and make the best of it. One of the most hilarious things about watching the general disrespect and frustration with Fifa among the teams play out has been the knowledge that Fifa would have to bite its tongue on it all, for fear of looking what it is: commercially inept and institutionally sexist.

We knew it was just this long before the World Cup kicked off – and Infantino was widely warned by many in the women’s game how Fifa’s commitment to the women’s game would look once the spotlight was on it. Last October I wrote here about the inherent disrespect in scheduling the Women’s World Cup final not just on the same day as the Copa América final and the Concacaf Gold Cup finals – this has never been done before – but as the earlier match, and therefore by extension the undercard to both. If that’s where you put your biggest game in the four-year cycle, what do you expect? As predicted, that ended up looking even worse in the event – just another one of their own decisions on which Fifa was revealed as being on the back foot about.

From pre-tournament reports that there was significantly more advertising in Paris for the French Open than anything put up by Fifa, to Rapinoe’s post-final suggestion that “a little public shame never hurt anybody”, this was a tournament that often felt as if it was happening despite Fifa and not because of it. Playing catch-up at your own event is an odd choice – but I guess that’s Fifa politics for you.

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Sod all use to Australia

At last, an answer to the question: what is more amusing than an Australia side who believe that at some hugely important cultural level, sledging is literally an art form?

It is what we might refer to as “Wellness Australia”, a term I am applying after learning that Australia’s cricket team walked barefoot round Edgbaston in order to capture “positive energy coming out of the earth” before Thursday’s World Cup semi-final against England. Following the shoeless and sockless perambulation, the side formed a circle and told sad stories of the death of kings. I’m sorry: that’s my mistake. They told uplifting stories of their lives in cricket. According to advocates, who presumably include Australia coach Justin Langer, this practice is called “earthing” or “barefoot healing”, and it can reduce stress, inflammation and sleeplessness. It is also hoped to reduce not having won at Edgbaston in any format since 2001. Or as batsman Peter Handscomb put it: “It was nice. You get a feel of the grass on your feet, a bit of grounding, the positive and negative energy flowing through and coming out of the earth.”

So there you have it. England must decide whether to take this fringe coaching therapy at face value, or instead accept the greater likelihood. Namely, that it is actually a collaboration with Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle retail portal, a sort of Goop X Cricket Australia promotion which will see madam branch beyond the realm of crystals and fanny steamers, and into the arguably untapped and potentially wildly lucrative market of comically superstitious sportsmen.