Tag Archives: Rio Ferdinand

From Cristiano to Henrik via Rio. And more shirt news…

16 Jun

Ruddy hell – the World Cup ! Just where do you start? Having been upstaged in the Champions League final by Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo stuck it to his Real Madrid team mates in some style last night as Portugal drew 3-3 with Spain in a game that, on a personal note, also served as a timely reminder of yours truly briefly dabbling with Manchester United. In the loosest sense. Elsewhere, today sees the magnificent four game spread that also offers Brentford fans a chance to catch our man in action. Henrik Dalsgaard and his Denmark team face off with Peru on a day that sees games running from 11am right through to the conclusion of Croatia-Nigeria around 10 pm tonight. And on a Brentford note, there’s also shirt news imminent. Monday is the day….

First up, Portugal. Specifically, Ronaldo. He’s a genius. Pure and simple. So consistently incredible. Never failing to pull it out of the bag when it counts. Even the most churlish amongst us could only sit back and admire what he did last night. Even with the posturing, the preening and the strutting around like a coked up peacock. Despite all this, the sheer audacity of the man and his ability with a football still shone through. It was a performance that would have had Alan Partridge foaming at the mouth. That was liquid football and then some. Sheer brilliance.

The one down side to all of this was Rio Ferdinand in the BBC studio. It’s impossible not to like Rio. A legend for his country and a quite remarkable human being given the personal situation he’s been through. He always talks passionately about the game and with enthusiasm. Yet therein lies part of the puzzle. He doesn’t half go on about it. Clanggggg, The sound of another name being dropped. If he mentioned that he’d played with Ronaldo once he must have done it a dozen times. Nutritionists. Training. Manchester United. Fergie’s opinion. At home with Cristiano. We had it all.

There’s form here. Back in Brazil 2014 it was the same. Manchester United this. Manchester United that. I didn’t realise he’d won the Champion’s League. If only somebody had said.

Rio panel

Who could forget Rio, in Rio? World Cup 2014

Of course an ex-player is going to draw on their experience. That’s only natural and, to be fair, helps paint a picture of what we see going on. It gives an insight into something we might not have visibility of in the normal course of events. Just perhaps tone it down a little bit. Please. The past is great but there’s very much a present going aswell with a quite ridiculous game of football being played out last night. I’d love to have heard more about that. Not just from Rio but the panel where much of half time was devoted to features about England rather than dissecting the first half and the earlier games where those of us just coming in from work would likely have missed.

The brilliance of Ronaldo also detracted from two quite delicious goals score by Spain. Diego Costa levelling thing ups at 1-1, executing a wonderfully hit shot after holding off two defenders for what felt like an eternity. Yet it was nothing compared to the sweetest of volleys that Nacho fired home to give Spain a 3-2 lead. Rio and the panel were rightly purring about this one afterwards as the Spaniard wrapped his foot around a rising ball to swerve it hard and low past the ‘keeper and in off the post from outside the box. It was a stunner. A thing of beauty. To quote Partridge once more, He must have a foot like a traction engine.

And then Cristiano stepped up to score ‘that’ free kick and steal all the headlines with just minutes left on the clock. Whatever else you may think or say about him, and many have, there’s no denying he certainly has a sense of occasion   

With a free kick given in the heart of Saunders territory, there was an inevitability about what would happen next. Sure enough, he lifted it up and over the wall before it dipped into the back of the net. Yet in a moment of clarity, I knew it would happen. I’ve been there before. Ten years or so back I spent an 18 month secondment up in Manchester. For a Brentford fan, this was great. The likes of Bury, Rochdale, Stockport County and Accrington Stanley (never have I been so cold at an away game) were all on the doorstep. As was Old Trafford.

There were no split loyalties here. Aside from the fact the chances of our paths crossing were slim to zero, I was on tourist duty. Doing it for the love of football. Whilst weekends would see me in London and at Griffin Park, a Tuesday night would quite often afford one the chance to take in a local game. And with so many United season ticket holders living down South and unable to make it, there was usually a spare going around the office. Why not? It was that or watch Coronation Street.

One such was the game against Portsmouth. A 2-0 win for United but more importantly, once which provided a moment that stuck with me since. Cristiano Ronaldo scoring ‘that’ free kick from last night. Ten years earlier. It looked incredible then. It still does. Last night’s effort was a reminder of just how consistently good he has been throughout his career. To still pull tricks like that out of the bag even now. And at 33, I’d imagine there’s a few more of those to come.

Cristiano has done this before..

That was then, this is now. Waking up on Saturday morning, it’s his name all over the radio. He’s the one making the headlines on the sports pages. But tomorrow could it be Henrik Dalsgaard we are reading about?

-1I can’t wait to see our man in action. For those of us who are a bit longer in the tooth it’s quite ridiculous. The thought of Brentford having a player at the World Cup is bonkers. But I love it. If only because it shows just how well our set up and transfer model is working. Despite the confusion and frustration at times. Despite the short term heartache of that summer sale. Here is the proof. Likewise, Andreas Bjelland was desperately unlucky to miss out. Panini even going so far as including him in their World Cup sticker book.

Good luck today, Henrik. If you are reading (you aren’t) know that this little corner of West London will be cheering you on. I’ll watch as much of the World Cup as possible anyway. Yet now there’s even more incentive. Roll on 5pm.

And finally, Monday is the day. Yes, England are playing but in our house it’s something even more exciting. The Brentford ‘away’ shirt is launched. We’ve already had the sneak peak pic released this week. Now, we’re just 48 hours away from seeing this for real.

I can’t even begin to speculate what this is going to look like. I’ve run it through photoshop, played with the light settings and filters but it’s giving nothing away. Instead, we’ll just have to sit back in anticipation and await the reaction. I’ve got a feeling this is going to be interesting though.

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David Hunt – the biggest come back since Lazarus

And finally, I know I bang on about this a lot but my season reviews containing the least bad of the columns and some new content are now available for download.

The reason I bang on about this is because all proceeds raised are being donated to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. We all know about the great work they do whilst my own son has now started Saturday morning football training at one of their sessions. And he loves it. As such, I’d love to try and do something in return.

As additional incentive, I’d like to give one of you this ‘unavailable to the general public’ Brentford FC third shirt from 2017/18. I’ve got hold of it from a source close to the club and am giving it away to one supporter by means of a draw. All you have to do is download the 2017/18 season review (or the five-year compendium) to enter the draw that will take place at the end of the month – just DM/ tweet me the download confirmation email by June 30th and we’ll pick a lucky winner.

You can download Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18 . In addition, all five seasons of the Last Word (previously available individually) have been bundled together in one giant volume. There’s a lot to plough through… There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 is also available.

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THANK YOU

Nick Bruzon

 

 

 

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Who, cares? BBC ‘go again’ but will unbeaten April continue?

23 Apr

Today should be a day of excitement. Brentford have the chance to go above the Loftus Road mob in the table once more (only goal difference separates us now) whilst simultaneously relegating MK Dons. This is immediately followed by the FA Cup semi final between Everton and Manchester United. Yet, yet, yet – the words ‘shoddy BBC Doctor Who crossover’ are lurking to spoil things. Again.

First up Brentford’s trip to Milton Keynes. This is going to be a very interesting test of Dean Smith’s managerial process. One can only assume that, injuries aside, he’ll stick with the majority of the team that continued April’s unbeaten run, making it 13 points from 15 against Cardiff City in midweek.

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The Bees recorded a fine win on Tuesday night

Josh Clarke gave a very assured performance in the position that Maxime Colin has filled with aplomb this season. Yet, with Dean confirming that the Frenchman is “available but we have to just manage him” he has a tricky decision to make. Personally, I’d keep Josh in the side. He absolutely deserves it for his showing on Tuesday whilst, if nothing else, it gives Maxime a bit more recovery time ahead of Hull City and Fulham. Assuming he is even required.

Then there’s John Swift. In his absence, Brentford’s record reads: WWWDW . That’s some difference from the LLLL that preceded it .

The Chelsea loanee has featured heavily this season despite a mixed period of form. When he’s good he’s great; when he’s off the pace well, the less said the better. That’s the price of youthful talent. Yet Dean certainly seemed excited about his potential return when giving his updates to the press yesterday.

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Will we see him back today? I doubt it and, being honest, I hope not. At least, not in the starting XI . That’s not meant as a criticism of the player but more the point that our form needs to be rewarded. Very few players could expect to walk back into a winning team after such a lengthy lay off and, with all due respect to John, he’s not one of them.

That said, I’m sure he’ll be on the bench and from there we see what happens next. Sitting next to him will also be Scott Hogan. Surely it’s too soon for our ‘man of the moment’ to start a game despite the obvious excitement about both his recovery and his form. There’s next season for that. Now, let’s just keep easing him back and setting our watches for ‘Jota time’.

The other point from Dean’s press conference was his observation that, “People talk about a massive turnaround but in my eyes we haven’t played loads better than vs Charlton Athletic or Blackburn Rovers.”

Hmm. Not sure that’s a view which will be shared by many Brentford supporters. “Frustratingly grim” was the two word summary of this one following our inability to even take a point at home to ten man Rovers. I don’t want to overly dwell on that now –  I have eyes, I was at those games, I know what I saw. Let’s just take great comfort in the fact we’ve definitely turned the corner, even if Dean believes it’s just in terms of results.

Ok. The FA Cup. Tonight’s semi-final at Wembley (count the things already wrong in this sentence) between Everton and Manchester United should be one to get the juices flowing. Instead, the BBC have chucked a huge rock in the water. Specifically, by telling us that they’ll be using the game to announce the identity of Doctor Who’s new ‘assistant’.

Please. No. I like Doctor Who (much to Mrs Bruzon’s chagrin) and have what could politely be called more than a passing interest in the great game of football. These are big occasions in each field of interest but to jam them together just seems like some cheap-arsed attempt to boost audience figures. It is one that detracts from both events. To be honest, even making ‘an event’ out of a new cast member for the Sci-Fi classic seems like an unnecessary stunt, anyway.

The BBC have ‘form’ here. During the 2014 World Cup final, they crowbarred the trailer for the then forthcoming new series into the middle of the half-time analysis. It was a horribly awkward moment. Gary Lineker seemed genuinely lost for words as any momentum for the second half was immediately washed away. Even I switched channels to ITV, and for that to happen…

Rio panel

Not even Rio Ferdinand’s ‘Easyjet’ look could detract from the awkwardness in 2014

I love the FA Cup. Please, BBC . At a time when every season sees further elements of tradition being stripped away from this oldest of tournaments, please don’t demean it any more.

And finally, from Peter Capaldi to another doctor who (sorry) is going to be doing his bit for charity on Sunday. Brentford head of medical Neil Greig, that is.

For anybody not aware, Neil will be taking part in Sunday’s London Marathon where he’ll be running on behalf of Havens Hospices. You can read more about this great cause, and also donate, on his Just Giving page.

Good luck tomorrow, Neil.

And if Scott bangs one in against MK, we know who deserves much of that thanks.

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Neil will be doing his thing tomorrow

Nick Bruzon 

From Brentford and brackets to Gibraltar and San Marino.

6 Sep

Brentford fans were left scratching around for interest this weekend, with minimal satisfaction coming from the Euro qualifiers. As expected, England successfully navigated their qualifying group (the easiest since records began) whilst for Gibraltar, although they are starting to find their feet after an international baptism of fire, the Republic of Ireland still presented a tough test as they ran out 4-0 winners on Friday night. There was no Brentford involvement, beyond a brief reminiscence about Stuart Dallas for Northern Ireland although, of course, Lasse Vibe was on the bench for Denmark in a 0-0 at home to Albania.

Instead, the weekend has left more questions about those two perennial debates – ‘minnows’ and brackets. Specifically, should the ‘smaller’ teams be allowed to play with the big boys and, when conceding more than six goals just how should we signify this 7, 7 (seven), 7 (SEVEN), seven or SEVEN?

As a footballing romantic and nostalgic, I’m all for a spot of small team involvement. Equally, I won’t deny a large element of emotional involvement as, having waited years for Gibraltar to finally be given full UEFA membership, the chance to see them test themselves against the great and the good is one I’m loving.

Are they whipping boys at the moment? Unfortunately, the stats would certainly suggest that to be the case although anybody who has seen their games against the likes of Germany, Poland and the Republic will see what strides they have already made. Tougher to break down and a lot less naïve, the boys from the Rock are finding their feet, fast.

Gibraltar have packed their boots to start international life.

Gibraltar have packed their boots to start international life.

The Faroe Islands already have six points from a group in which they have overtaken former Euro Champions Greece whilst Albania have beaten Portugal in their qualifying group. This is the same Portugal who recently lost a home friendly with Cape Verde Islands.

Minnows do get stronger and regular games against a mix of opposition are the way to do it. Not shunting them aside to pre-qualifying where they can only play each other, as seems to be the common suggestion. If this is your logic then just disband qualifying all together and draw the teams for the tournament finals based on seeding.

It only seems like yesterday that England were spannering their own qualification for the World Cup as Davide Gualtieri took less than nine seconds to open the scoring for San Marino with a goal that shook the world. Both teams have grown massively since then, even if England have remained as consistently sub-par when it gets to the tournament itself (Euro 96 aside, and that one they qualified for by default).

Davide Gualtieri opened the scoring against England back in 1994

Davide Gualtieri opened the scoring against England back in 1994

Wales have stepped up the blindside in recent seasons and have moved from 117th ranked team in the world four years ago to the point where a victory against Israel on Sunday could see them deemed the second best team on the planet. Indeed, they are, surely, going to qualify for a first major finals since 1958.

Just to put that into perspective, the teams currently occupying the 117th slot are hardy those we would consider to be traditional powerhouses of international football.

The teams currently in the same spot as Wales, four years ago

The teams currently in the same spot as Wales, four years ago

I could go on. People have very short-term memories and attention spans. I hope UEFA don’t give in to the current clamour emanating from certain circles and give all their members a chance to compete on a level playing field.

That said, games such as yesterday’s 6-0 won’t help the likes of San Marino as they came awfully close to a 7(seven) -0 bracketing. That’s a result that Gibraltar have experienced a couple of times in early qualifying whilst, domestically, former Brentford player/manager Nicky Forster was the unlucky recipient as his Staines Town side went down by that infamous scoreline to Brentwood Town in the Ryman Premier on Saturday.

Nicky Forster (left) formally the deliverer rather than recipient of 7(seven)

Nicky Forster (left) formally the deliverer rather than recipient of 7(seven)

And, as ever in these circles, it prompted the usual questions as to how this should be recorded. One local journalist ended up very much insistent about it being an unbracketed, headline grabbing, SEVEN. For somebody who then used twitter to rally against the vide printer favourite, saying: “Will live in the here and now”, the irony of his bio describing himself as “Ex Woking FC striker” was not lost.

There are others that love the bracket but insist it should be 7 (SEVEN). I’ll spare the regular reader another lecture on the unsubtly and bad sportsmanship of this. A brash, block-capitalled effect to really push home the point that someone has been on the wrong end of a thrashing. It’s gloating for the sake of it.

Clearly, an emotional subject and I don’t think we’ll ever, all, agree. Football is a modern game and one that continues to grow. That said, what’s the harm in a little bit of nostalgia along the way?

And finally, Channel 5 and Football League Tonight. Much as the minnows have been going from strength to strength on the pitch, the same can be said about the latest newcomers off it.

Saturday night was the latest point in case as, despite it being International weekend we actually had a show. In days gone by, Manish and team were shunted to one side when the Championship teams had a break, despite full fixture list in both Leagues One and Two.

So fairplay to Kelly, George and the rest of the production team for still bringing us a show. The disasters that plagued the series openers are a distant memory already and, last night, the biggest problem seemed to be Adam Virgo. More to the point, his sporting of a collared shirt with the top button done up but no tie.

Yet if a pundit’s dress sense (something all channels have suffered from over the years) is the worst we’ve got to worry about then things must definitely be moving in the right direction.

Rio Ferdinand and the BBC panel have had their own fashion problems

Rio Ferdinand and the BBC panel have had their own fashion problems

Nick Bruzon

Who sanctioned this? And more shirt news

15 Jul

So distracted had I been by Rio Ferdinand’s Roger Moore tribute show yesterday that I forgot to mention the other salient Brentford and World Cup news from Sunday. Firstly, Gary Lineker’s awkward ‘reveal’ of the trailer for the new series of Doctor Who was the straw that finally pushed me to ITV.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a quick spin in the Tardis but the almost embarrassed segue from half time analysis in a, supposedly advert free show, killed the mood of the game stone dead whilst, at the same time, setting my more geekish tendencies into an elevated state of nerdery.

It was an unnecessary distraction that just pushed me to the light channel. If we were going to get adverts and hideous monsters, then I may aswell just go for the full Adrian Chiles experience.

From Rio Ferdinand’s jacket to this….

 

From a Brentford perspective, there were also more snippets of shirt news lurking out there in cyberspace – a preview much more welcome than a face full of daleks. A quick trawl of twitter will help you locate these but I’m very pleased to hear that the castle badge will return in some form on merchandise in the club shop.

More importantly, it seems the club are looking at one part of the 125th anniversary celebrations being a game with some commemorative wording added to the badge on our new shirt. With the potential for some of these to be on sale, too, I can already hear Mrs. Bruzon hiding my wallet .

It did also get me thinking about what is the correct protocol for this sort of commemorative wording? Around the club badge in a circular pattern or horizontally – whether underneath it or more centrally?

Commemorative wording - generally spells tears

Commemorative wording – generally spells tears

My own preference is for the horizontal – under the club badge. I’m not an owl and so, bereft of the ability to rotate my head through 360 degrees (or whatever it is they can do) struggle to read the circular text.

Does it matter? Probably not. I’ll still buy one if the possibility arises but I just know what I prefer – whatever the rules are on this sort of thing.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

Rio? Roger? Changes at Griffin Park?

14 Jul

Is Rio Ferdinand swapping Manchester United for a new role at Easyjet? Or perhaps a Royal Navy commander? Given the commentary on social media last night, he might even have found time to fly Brentford back from the Florida training camp.

The World Cup ended with a win for Germany and the BBC panelist attracting as much interest in his suit as his punditry. Twitter was awash with comments about one of the most talked about bits of fashion since Liverpool rocked the ‘Man from Del Monte’ look at the 1996 FA Cup final.

These are all over the internet now (my own effort below) with, surprisingly, former England captain Michael Vaughan being amongst the chief protagonists.

Flying home from Rio?

Flying home from Rio?

However, despite all the gentle ribbing pointed at Rio he’s actually in great company. It is universally accepted that Roger Moore is, hands down, the best man to ever fill the role of James Bond. Indeed, much of the classic Moonraker saw 007 based in Rio de Janeiro where, of course, last night’s final took place.

As such, it was some what fitting that the best of the observations about Ferdinand’s jacket was not an airline related gag but one that showed what esteemed company he is in. Nobody can carry off a safari suit/blazer/polo neck like Roger and so the mantra must have been, “If you can’t beat them, join them”.

The name's Ferdinand. Rio Ferdinand

The name’s Ferdinand. Rio Ferdinand

Back in TW8, a stroll past Griffin Park at the weekend revealed two things.

Firstly, we remain none the wiser as to who the roof sponsor will be on the New Road. A peek through the gap in the fence by the ticket office reveals this to be still covered in undercoat. Despite our proximity to Heathrow, there’s been no sign of Rio up a ladder with a few tins of the budget airline’s trademark orange paint.

And then looking into the turnstile, there is a mysterious object lurking under a clubshop plastic bag. The same thing appears in each one and so I can only presume this is the much anticipated ‘electronic ticketing system’.

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What’s under the bag?

 

Not quite up there on the ’shirt’ reveal but when things are this quiet, I’ll clutch at any straw of Brentford related news.

Roll on the pre-season friendlies. Please.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

More England & Phil fallout as Messi does his thing

16 Jun

With less domestic stories than the North Korean ‘news at ten’, it’s a good thing we’ve got the World Cup to keep us going. Sunday was dominated by fallout from the England game, Lionel Messi ‘doing his thing’ and Honduras being, what we’ll politely call, ‘cynical in the challenge’.

Everybody has an opinion about the England team, with Wayne Rooney’s positional sense being the main talking point. Given the various tabloid scandals to have dogged him in recent years, the last thing I want to be visualising over my cornflakes is Wayne Rooney’s best position.

The other fallout from the England game was further discussion about the robotic stylings of Phil Neville in the BBC commentary booth. I said my piece on this yesterday but note his own subsequent admission that this was the first game he had ever covered.

It’s one way to unite the country, I suppose, with the criticism of the former Manchester United man being universal. I realise that new talent has to start somewhere, but not in the biggest England game since the last biggest England game. Surely this is what the likes of Iran- Nigeria are for?

I hope it works out for Phil. Genuinely. It’s a poor state of affairs when the BBC can produce somebody who makes Andy Townsend seem vaguely relevant.

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The Phil Neville panini sticker – a limited run???

Back on the pitch, Sunday highlights included Lionel Messi with a wunder-goal for Argentina in their 2-1 win against Bosnia & Herzegovina. I’ll be honest; I only saw this on the Internet today. Another 11pm match was too much for me on a school night. If you saw it live, then well done. Well worth staying up for and you can catch it here, c/o the BBC.

France beat Honduras with the first legitimate use of goal-line technology. My gut reaction was ‘goal’ after Karim Benzema’s effort went in via Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares. Whilst TV seemed to confirm this, not everybody was convinced. Radio 5’s Pat Nevin wasn’t alone in refusing to believe his own eyes and the video.

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Pat Nevin – sticking to his guns on the BBC website

For me, I still say ‘goal’ but the French can count themselves luckier to have escaped largely unscathed. Honduras did their very best to take football back to the dark ages in a performance than reminded me of Zaire ’74 or Cameroon against Argentina (foul wise) in Italia ’90.

Hopefully FIFA will ‘have a word’.

Today’s highlight is the Germany – Portugal clash at 5pm. I can’t wait. Pack your brollies – it’s going to be raining goals.

Was this the worst performance ever? Come on England.

15 Jun

Not the football team. I thought England did really well against Italy in their opening World Cup game last night and, to be fair, were unfortunate to come away without at least a point. Indeed, there was enough from Roy’s boys in the opening 15 minutes to excite more than the whole of the ‘no show’ in South Africa 2010 put together.

In a tournament that has been all about goals, goals, goals the England – Italy game delivered more and was anything but the dour, cautious 0-0 this numpty predicted. Ok, we lost but we played well in doing so. With the emphasis being very much about England on the front foot rather than camped in the defensive third, I’m anything but downbeat about our chances of progress.

My disdain is more for Phil Neville. The BBC really have dropped the ball in their team selection at the World Cup. The likes of Lineker, Shearer and Henry are still street ahead of anything ITV have to offer but are they taking it for granted?

Things got off to a bad start on Friday with the Manchester United referencing Rio Ferdinand. He continued name-dropping on Saturday (yawn) but things then hit a real low when we switched to the main game.

Phil Neville, as analyst in the commentary box, seems to have had all the charisma surgically removed from him prior to taking his seat (that is, assuming he had any charisma in the first instance). For a game that kicked off at 11pm, the last thing a tired audience needed were the soporific tones of this human Horlicks. It was like listening to a robot. He really was that monotone.

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Just one more needed to complete my sticker album

Ironic, considering we really needed a robot on the pitch. Daniel Sturridge’s fine equaliser saw a celebration that was less Peter Crouch and more seasick scarecrow.

To compound the felony, with both Leighton Baines and Andrea Pirlo having second half set piece efforts in front of goal, Phil couldn’t even give us a, “And this is Saunders territory”.

The BBC still has far too much in the tank to be worried by ITV but their choice of Phil Neville seems a really odd one. His brother, Gary, does a fine job on Sky – I’m the first to admit. Clearly, it doesn’t run in the family.

Or perhaps, with the selection of Rio, the thought is that Manchester United’s fallen stars are the future of football punditry.

I hope not.

‘Chiles understudy’ sees Spain given a real clogging.

14 Jun

The World Cup exploded into stunning life on Friday. Brazil’s lucky win over Croatia seemed a distant memory after the Netherlands devastated Spain – leaving them bloodied and bruised, like a gored matador awaiting the fatal blow. Much as I love Brentford, and can’t wait for their foray in the Championship, this was the standout match from three games of truly world-class football we could only aspire to.

As ever, if you want the match reports (or the highlights) then read the BBC. For me the salient points of the day’s activity were:

ITV, who I had lambasted yesterday, redeemed themselves somewhat with first use of World Cup favourite, “For those of you just coming from work, the score is”. Sadly, I was still coming home from work, so missed this moment although am reliably informed that 6.25pm was the time; Mexico – Cameroon the game. For the record, a 1-0 win for the Central Americans.

Unfortunately, their oversized score graphic doesn’t seem to have shrunk any overnight and still takes up more screen space than Adrian Chiles. Please ITV, slim this down a bit or, at the least, move it more into the corner.

The BBC then had their turn and seem to have taken the very short-term view with their choice of panel. How they must have laughed a few months ago, at the thought of using Rio (Ferdinand, that is) in Rio (de Janeiro).

Sadly, nobody back home was laughing at his continual name-dropping. I didn’t realise, and you may not have caught this, but apparently he used to play for Manchester United

As one correspondent put it to me afterwards, he has “All the screen charisma of an 18 wheeler lorry reversing very slowly around a corner”. An ironic statement, given that’s much the same as his defensive turning circle

Still for all the downside of Rio (who looked positively distraught at having to stay behind afterwards to answer Facebook questions whilst, presumably, the rest of the panel went out for a few cold ones), the BBC had the pick of the games.

Spain 1 Netherlands 5. The Dutch masters (sorry) obliterated Spain, the highlight for me being Robin Van Persie’s exquisite header to level things. If ever you wanted to see footballing perfection then this was it.

The timing, the run, the dive, the connection and the precision. It makes you wonder if David Moyes might still be in a job had he got this sort of form out of the Manchester United man last season.

Then there was more use of the referee’s spray paint (isn’t this just shaving foam?). Whatever it is, I love this idea although am waiting for one of them to ‘go rogue’ and start freestyle art on the pitch.

Proceedings were rounded off with Chile racing into a 2 goal lead against Australia before allowing them back into the match. The Aussies, presumably put off their game by the awful kit they’d been forced to wear – the rather camp looking combination of tight yellow shirt/shorts and long white socks.

Whilst Chile held on to win 3-1, it was a much tighter, and more exciting affair, than it had any right to be after the Australian ‘no show’ for the first fifteen minutes.

That was Friday. Today sees the first outing for England, who play Italy on the spray painted (green, not white) pitch of Manaus. It promises to be an exciting day of football although, after the fifteen goals from the opening four games so far, I’m betting Roy’s boys will bring these back down to earth with a 0-0 bump.

But don’t listen to me – as somebody much wiser than me pointed out last night, my twitter observations are much akin to a #Chiles-understudy. And, to be fair, he’s probably right.

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Referees ‘paint’ – comes in three sizes