Now that the splenetic Diego Maradona has become the Hand of Gob, following his rant at reporters after Argentina’s nervy qualification for South Africa, most of England’s ancient and modern foes seem to be hurtling towards the World Cup.
Portugal and Russia aim to join up via the play-offs being drawn in Zurich on Sunday. Germany have already booked their ticket.
The adrenalin flows at the thought of all these arch-enemies descending en masse. For England, it will be like James Bond attending the SPECTRE Christmas party and meeting Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Dr No, Rosa Klebb, Emilio Largo plus their invited guests, Odd Job, Jaws and Scaramanga. If only Fifa could sneak Scotland into South Africa.
When Wayne Rooney remarked he hoped Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Lionel Messi's Argentina failed to make the cut, it was depicted as him declaring his dislike of those two individuals. Rooney is neither complicated nor malicious. He just wanted the pair absent because it would make England's life easier. Fair point.
Of course, the World Cup should be a celebration of current form not past reputation. If Serbia or Slovakia enjoy good qualifying campaigns, they deserve to take their place at the top table of world football. But for those dreaming of an England World Cup triumph, it would heighten the sense of historic achievement if teams who have haunted them were overcome. Rooney would make a great ghost-buster.
England have history with Brazil, notably the defeat in 1970 and the tournament-ending embarrassment of 2002. Germany have made it, and they are becoming almost lovable now their attacking wit has been enhanced by Mesut Ozil.
Werder Bremen's clever playmaker was even born in Gelsenkirchen, a name to stir terror in English hearts (as the site for the 2006 penalty eclipse by Portugal). Russia are organised so well by Guus Hiddink, the man who refused to audition for the FA so England ended up with Steve McClaren. England were promptly beaten in Moscow. More history.
But it is Argentina's passage that will most dominate the thoughts of England fans and past players. Games between the nations always seize the imagination. So much goes on. Penalties, red cards, great goals, cheating.
Nearly 44 years have elapsed since the notorious Antonio Rattin game under the Twin Towers, yet the memory remains fresh in the mind of England's fullback, George Cohen.
"Argentina did one or two nasty things, one or two excesses you couldn't put up with, like raking your Achilles when the ball was gone,'' he recalled. That was why Alf [Ramsey] got angry with them.'' Ramsey, famously, stopped his players from swapping shirts with opponents he called "animals''.
History always hangs heavily on England but now is the time to banish past spectres. Diego, of course, not Dr No.