Sunday, 4 July 2010

Pundits: World Cup 2010 (8)

I’ve lost count of how many people the BBC and ITV are employing as pundits out in South Africa for the World Cup, however, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. The wisdom and insight offered about the World Cup is in inverse proportion to the numbers commenting and commentating on it. And so yesterday we had these stunning observation from Lee Dixon, formerly of Arsenal and England: ‘To win the world cup you have to have a good team’ and ‘Germany didn't start the competition great’ (they won 4-0!).

Commentators never let ignorance get in the way of opening their gobs and sharing their stupidity. During Germany’s destruction of Argentina on Saturday (at least England scored two against the Teutonic maestros) the camera focused on an attractive women in  the VIP section of thCharlize-Therone crowd. The BBC commentator opined: 'I'm not sure who she is, but I'd guess she's a WAG'. I am sure the Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron would be delighted to hear herself described as a footballer’s latest squeeze. Charlize is South African and helped with the World Cup draw in December. Ms Theron has a sense of humour because at the trial run through she announced Ireland in the draw, a not so subtle reference to the tragedy of Ireland being knocked out by the hand ball cheating France.

Many of the pundits rubbished the European teams in the competition on the basis of the early matches. The siren voices pronounced that we could have all South American semi finalists and went on to explain how these teams shamed European football with their skill and tactics. Now it is true that certain European teams were rubbish; England, France and Italy sought to outdo each other in the crapness stakes. What these teams have in common is aging squads packed with overpaid and technically challenged players. But now the quarter finals are completed it turns out that three of the four teams left are… European; Germany, Spain and the Netherlands (yes ITV it is the Netherlands not Holland as you insist on calling them). Suddenly the same pundits who rubbished Europe are telling us that they always knew Brazil and Argentina had dodgy defences and would struggle when faced with real opposition.

Who do we turn to for in depth analysis and reflection on who will lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy? Should we rely on some ex international footballer lacking the guts or the gifts to take on management of a team? Should we turn to an ex England manager who seems very good at seeing all the things he was blind to when running the nation’s team (yes Graham Taylor I mean you)? Should we turn to some back page tabloid hack who never kicked a ball except in some pro-celebrity charity shindig? No, there is only one fount of wisdom we can really trust.

Paul the Oberhausen Aquarium Octopus has predicted Germany’s results throughout the competition with unerring accuracy. His tentacles reach out to indicate the outcome of each match and he is even sensitive to the ambiguities of some results. PaPaul-the-Oberhausenul indicated Uruguay to beat Ghana last week, but was clearly tentative about the result; no doubt uneasy about the manner in which the cheating Uruguayan defender Suarez would take over Maradona’s mantle as the new ‘Hand of God’.

So bring on the World Cup semis and final; I’m off to gaze into my pond for informed commentary and forensic analysis.


Sam Norton said...

he he he, very good
for proper insight I haven't yet found any site better than zonal marking
i'd also recommend Jonathan Wilson, but I'm sure you're a Guardian reader already ;)

Philip Ritchie said...

Too right I'm a Guardian reader Sam. I have no intention of giving Murdoch and all his detestable enormities a single penny of my hard earned dosh. I do enjoy reading Wilson.