Saturday, 2 March 2019

My final World Cup 2018 round up (subject to a VAR check)

Just a few more observations and then we're done. Makes it sound like a medical check up, and I guess some of you (and there are some of you, believe it or not), have experienced some discomfort during these posts, but at least this leads me nicely onto my next section of World Cup 2018 contributors...

PUNDITS   

Defenders of the 80's, 90's and 2000's always knew they would be in for a bruising, awkward encounter with Alan Shearer on the pitch, and while those players still nurse wounded pride and cheekbones, it is now the members of the watching public who go into live BBC broadcasts fearing the worst. This summer showcased all of Shearer's post-playing attributes in the television studio. The pace and the hair might have gone, but the confidence remains undimmed, as he set about his fellow pundits with due disrespect, only Didier Drogba escaping an interrupted viewpoint, due to an analytical approach comprising of no more than five words. During the semi Final, Gary Lineker asked Jurgen Klinsmann how you could stop Kylian Mpbappe, only for the German to ramble on for a number of seconds, before Shearer glanced at Lineker, possibly unsighted, and then dictated a new conversation with Rio Ferdinand. Shearer should, though, be careful when doing this to Jurgen, who has a history of exacting revenge on those who have crossed him during last four matches.

As much as I love Ian Wright, he has to stop saying "in respects of", in respect of using incorrect grammar. Clearly no one is saying anything about it on the Beeb, and it seems that ITV aren't that bothered either during his contracted stint for international tournaments. Ever a patriot, I felt he betrayed me when becoming so emotionally involved in an England team that had some many Spurs in it. I can forgive him because of all the goals he scored against Tottenham, although I'm not sure his mocking of Roy Keane's accent during the 3rd/4th play off coverage of England-Belgium, should be so easily overlooked!

Cesc Fabregas, (BBC), played the role of sensible, lucid European, like previous incumbents such as Roberto Martinez and Gianluca Vialli, though Henrik Larsson and Patrice Evra (both ITV) attracted unwanted attention by putting, respectively, a gold star and a patronising comment in the textbook of Eni Aluko. Evra became the fall guy by choosing to applaud Aluko's research on Costa Rica, responding (sarcastically?) to Larsson's nodding praise. Larsson's behaviour was even more odd considering he himself was on the end of similar attitudes at the USA 94 World Cup, when opponents allowed him to score four goals, having believed there was no need to waste time tackling the skinny kid with long dreadlocks and a hairband who was clearly only playing thanks to some mixed gender initiative that American authorities continue to be famous for.  

Rio Ferdinand couldn't be accused of sitting on the fence this summer. For one, he was sitting on a chair, and in that chair, he called Belgium "the team to beat" after their quarter final win over Brazil, claimed "we will beat Croatia" in the same broadcast and suggested that fans at Premier League games should add cleaning the stadium to their other duties of creating the atmosphere, keeping pay per view broadcasters (such as his own employers, BT Sport) in business and paying sums beyond £150 a game for the privilege.  In hindsight, though, I suspect all these opinions were part of a revival of his legendary 2006 'Rio's Word Cup Wind Ups" production, where unsuspecting members of England's World Cup squad were merked.

Other Things of Interest...

Why were the bookings of players announced over the public address system?

 Why were interviews with the England representatives, though mainly Southgate and Kane, all taken place in the same gloomy little room, pre-recorded? Where was the spirit of 98, with the players shoehorning titles of pop songs into their answers live on air to a backdrop of deckchairs and swimming pool? "It's not exactly Club Tropicana, Bob!" was Southgate's offering in France, which uncharacteristically didn't show much "imagination", the title Shearer signed off with, when the game was finally rumbled by Ray Stubbs.

 Where were the Germans? Partying like it was 1945?

Ah, nothing like an outdated, offensive and dividing remark to sign off with. Qualifying myself for Qatar 2022, perhaps?

                           

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