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  • Thank you and goodnight

    July 11, 2010 @ 11:04 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Day Thirty-One: Vinnie Jones XI v. Spain

    6:35 “He can be really proud of what he’s achieved.” This is Alan Hansen’s verdict on Nelson Mandela, who would doubtless be overjoyed to learn the high regard in which he is held by a Scottish football pundit. “He’s been absolutely magnificent,” opines Creosote Man, as though Mandela were a centre-half who’s made a couple of goal line clearances in an FA Cup tie.

    6:36 Hansen on Holland.  “I would imagine they’ll get men behind the ball and try and stifle that Spanish side.” Certainly, Alan, if by stifle you mean ‘kick repeatedly’.

    6:37 “Some of their players [Holland’s] like chasing the ball,” says Lee Dixon. If by chasing the ball you mean ‘kicking opponents repeatedly’.

    6:52 “I think my boys did extremely well.” Kofi Annan, who is apparently the Ghana manager now, is interviewed on BBC 1. Ever the politician, Annan refuses to predict who will win tonight. Cute hoor.

    7:12 Marcel Desailly would ask Van Bommel and de Jong “to play in the interval” if he were one of the Dutch centre-halves tonight.  Yes, I am absolutely flummoxed by it too.

    7:23 The players are shaking Sepp Blatter’s hand. Amazingly, each of their number resists the temptation to raise his hand, press his thumb against his nose and waggle his fingers mockingly.

    7:26 Ray Houghton is working the second mic for RTÉ, likewise Mark Lawrenson on the BBC, and Clive Tyldesley is on ITV. Faithful vuvuzelas, do not forsake us in our hour of need.

    7:42 Who can claim in good conscience that they have not, at some point over the past month, felt an overwhelming compulsion to apply a good sharp razor to that infuriating little triangle nestling on David Villa’s lower lip? It looks as though it were once part of a large and happy family of facial hair, but was separated from the rest in a tragic accident, leaving it orphaned, to fend for itself in the lonely wasteland between Villa’s chin and mouth.

    7:50 “Villa and Pedro are the true goalscorers in the [Spanish] team,” according to Tyldesley. Yes, Clive. This is primarily due to the fact that they are strikers. In association football, the sport on which you are commentating, the striker generally occupies the forward-most position on the pitch, being, therefore, more likely than his teammates to score goals.

    7:52 Van Bommel, who has displayed remarkable restraint in waiting a whole 21-and-a-half minutes before inserting his studs into another player’s flesh, is booked.

    7:58 Karate Kid Nigel de Jong catches Alonso in the chest with a foul so spectacularly flagrant it deserves some kind of official recognition. By which I mean a red card.  

    8:19 You may be familiar with an ad for a betting website which has been appearing during half-time breaks on ITV. It features the actor Ray Winstone, a man who makes Hannibal Lecter seem a rather avuncular, genial sort. Ray apprises us of the menu of bets from which we may choose during the game, before halting to announce, “Hold on. The latest live odds are coming up on your screen now.” And, spookily, they do, as if frightened into appearing by Winstone’s terrifying demeanour alone. (Note to Ray Winstone: Please don’t hurt me. It’s the Irish Times. They make me write these things. Love your work)

    8:24 Creosote Man, whose elbows, as a player, had an unfortunate tendency to finish their passage through the air in opponents’ faces, is outraged at the Dutch tactics.

    8:26 “Spain have to keep moving the ball.” Gareth Southgate advises the Spanish to avoid the experimental ‘keep the ball static’ approach to winning football matches.

    8:31 Hilarious ‘defenders versus strikers’ banter between the BBC boys. Ho, ho, ho. If you ask the strikers, the defenders don’t know what they’re talking about. Whilst the defenders, well, they consider the strikers to be utter fools. It has all the intellectual substance of the mutual dislike between 8-year-old boys and 8-year-old girls. “Girls / boys! Oooeeww! I hate girls / boys!” No, no. That’s unfair. To 8-year-olds.

    8:35 “There are so many players on a tightrope now,” says Lawrenson. Really? That would improve the entertainment value considerably. That, and a few jugglers, and maybe a guy on a unicycle. I’d like to see a knife-throwing routine too, preferably performed by a blind knife-thrower, with Van Bommel the target.

    8:58 Van Bommel has a word with Dutch sub Elia, presumably exhorting him to enter the spirit of the occasion by kicking everyone wearing navy as hard and as frequently as possible.

    9:06 “It’s not the kind of match you’d want to see 30 more minutes of, is it?” asks George Hamilton.

    9:20 Thirty more minutes.

    9:50 “Another one for the ‘over the bar’ DVD of this World Cup, of which there are many,” says ITV’s Craig Burley as Xavi misses from a free. Tip for Craig Burley: do not enter the video production industry. It is unlikely you would be successful there.

    10:05 Eamono Dunphyos reveals he is pleased Spain won, as are the two Guillermos, Brady and O’Herlihy, and Juan Giles.

    10:12 “It needed a strong ref tonight. It got a strong ref,” says Mowbray of Howard Webb. A few minutes ago, the RTÉ panel were expressing their dismay at Webb’s performance.

    I’d like to thank everyone who’s read the blog over the past six weeks. I’m frankly a little surprised you had nothing better to do, but there you are. Thanks also to those who took the time to comment.

    Here I go, passing the hat around. Should you be inclined to do so, please feel free to ceaselessly petition to endow me with a regular blog. Might I suggest lobbying thus? “Give him a blog or I shall stop reading, and lose the will to live, in that order.”

    Thank you and goodnight.

  • Yours pointlessly, third place play-off

    July 10, 2010 @ 10:24 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Day Thirty: Pointless v. Pointless

    There follows a short inventory of items which, whilst falling into the category of being completely pointless, are still less pointless than the World Cup third place play-off match:

    Wile E. Coyote’s pursuit of Roadrunner

    Paris Hilton

    Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill

    This blog

    7:03 With a face that betrays not the merest whit of irony, big lying liar Adrian Chiles lies that this match is important, the liar. This is because it says in the contract he signed with ITV: “In the instance of having to present live coverage of a World Cup third place play-off match, universally acknowledged as the most pointless football match in existence, the undersigned agrees to create and maintain the illusion that anyone anywhere cares about anything that happens during this utterly futile exercise. Our advertisers demand nothing less.”

    7:04 Andy Townsend and Marcel Desailly are also under instruction to ignore the big pointless elephant in the corner. 

    7:06 Con Murphy is presenting RTÉ’s coverage. He looks different somehow. He appears to have more hair. And a new face. And body.

    7:15 Now Billo is back and Johnny and Liam have materialised. There is something decidedly odd going on here. They all appear to have undergone extensive plastic surgery, including poorly executed hair transplants, in the past three days.

    7:22 Perhaps under the illusion that his team is playing in a match anyone cares about, Luis Suarez is shouting encouragement to his teammates.

    7:23 “There’s not much more can be said about this man,” says Stephen Alkin, as Sepp Blatter appears in shot. I can think of rather a lot more to say about him. Until there is a comprehensive overhaul of Irish libel law, however, I shall refrain from further comment.

    7:26 “This Uruguay side that has excelled expectations.” Alkin exceeding himself again.

    7:30 Peter Drury is commentating for ITV. Superb. When he’s at the mic, this blog just writes itself, let me tell you.

    7:38 “It was always on the rise,” says Drury’s sidekick, Craig Burley, at the precise moment that a replay of Forlan’s free-kick shows the ball succumbing to gravity.

    7:43 “Germany have been scoring in boundaries in the World Cup – four, four and four – until they were bowled out by Carles Puyol’s beamer the other night” What did I tell you about Drury? He thinks he’s at Lord’s, for heaven’s sake.

    7:50 Uncharacteristically non-hysterical reaction from Drury to Muller’s goal. Make an effort, Peter. It’s the THIRD PLACE PLAY-OFF, you know.

    8:24 Johnny has metamorphosed into Eamon, who looks more and more like that Gary Cooke fellow every day.

    8:25 “We’re highly enthused by this game,” lies big fat lying liar Adrian Chiles, the liar.

    8:40 “That is a fantastic volley by Forlan to decorate the night in Port Elizabeth.” Good man, Peter. Decorating the night; that’s better. Not your finest moment, but a nice little splash of hyperbole all the same.

    8:45 Goal by Jansen, in off his shoulder, and therefore not decorating the night. Pointless anyway.

    8:55 Let’s see how Stephen Alkin is describing the pointlessness.

    9:01 “Schweinsteiger, trying [a shot] on his weaker left foot.” It’s his spare left foot he’s wearing tonight, see. His first-choice (stronger) left foot refused to subject itself to a third place play-off match. It’s lying by the pool at the hotel.

    9:10 Pointless goal for Germany

    9:19 “Useless fact number one: Since the round of 16 began not one substitute has scored.” Stephen embraces the spirit of pointlessness.

    9:24 Pointless

  • Catechism of World Cup Cliché: The Sequel

    July 9, 2010 @ 11:06 am | by Seán Kenny

    Of which mathematically indisputable division was the game?

    Two halves

    At which successive single-digit numerals are the defence?

    Sixes and sevens

    Which state of numerical equivalence describes simultaneous fouling?

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other

    Which prompt portals express the opening minutes of a match?

    Early doors

    Against which teams are there easy games?

    None. There are no easy games any more (in international football)

    But Portugal beat North Korea 7-0. So, there are easy games?

    No. There are no easy games (in international football)

    Which appearance of fortitude relates only to the pulp-derived medium?

    Strong on paper

    What expression of totality is it still to play for?


    Which manner of humorous but antique pursuit is football?

    A funny old game

    Which ‘n word’, now reviled as outdated and bigoted, describes African teams?


    Which booth, often employed for the display of traders’ merchandise, did they set out early?

    Their stall

    What plural form of a receptacle for the storage of personal items betokens a fight?


    What counts?

    They all count

    Which assemblage of mortality must each qualification round contain?

    Group of death

    To what naturally occurring stream of air is caution thrown when a team is trailing towards a game’s conclusion?

    The wind

    What affliction, typically involving a high temperature and an unusual interest in the global ball game, is affecting many?

    World Cup fever

    Out of what epidermal organ has he played?

    His skin

  • Puyol’s poodles preserve Paul’s perfect prediction performance

    July 7, 2010 @ 10:29 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Day Twenty-Seven: Germany v. Spain

    How do I stereotype thee? Let me count the ways. Hansen uses the word ‘efficient’ to describe Germany. “How dare they get entertaining!” jests noted funnyman Gary Lineker. Hansen refers to the Germans as “machine-like”. A montage concerning the Spanish team is accompanied by flamenco music. And yet, when a film of Klose’s goals is shown, it does not feature oompah-style brass band music. What gives, BBC? At least be consistent in your musical stereotyping.

    7:12 “There has to be something wrong in the English system for Spain and Germany to have a better record than England,” opines Creosote Man. Yes. Another possibility is that you have the intelligence of a heavily eroded rock. 

    7:25 Guy Mowbray: “A reported 83 per cent of Germans believe it’s their time again”. Not, however, Paul the octopus, who forecasts defeat, a chilling portent to all Germans familiar with Paul’s pre-eminence in the cephalopod prediction field.

    7:25 Say what you like about the Germans, and they have lent their support to some dubious projects over the years –  National Socialism, the musical career of David Hasselhoff – but Deutschland Uber Alles is a rousing anthem.

    7:34 Mowbray: “We’re going to have a delay, I’m afraid. We have an idiotic intruder on the pitch.”  “He’s been drinking on an empty head,” says Lawrenson, in the first recorded instance of him making a joke with moderately commendable humorous properties.

    7:43 Slow-motion replay featuring what is commonly believed to be Carles Puyol’s hair. It is, in fact, a pair of damp poodles which have been clinging resolutely to the rough-hewn defender’s skull since 1998.

    8:15  Depending on the level of your exposure to Trevor Steven’s co-commentary over the last few years, you may or may not find this hard to believe, but this is a selection of the least boring assertions he has made in the last 20 minutes.

    “Overhit pass there from Ozil.” “Again, the Jabulani ball moving in the air. But, no good if it’s off target.” “The corners from Germany have been impressive.” “Late flag for Podolski…He shouldn’t be offside in those kinds of positions.” “The game needs a goal.” Least boring, mind.

    8:17 “Fascinating game of almost like chess,” says Lineker.

    “It’s been a fascinating tactical battle,” adds Creosote Man. What the lads are trying to say is that it is scoreless at half-time.

    8:48 Lawrenson: “It’s a positive substitution. He’s trying to win the game, Loew.” Spanish manager Del Bosque, on the other hand, doesn’t really mind who wins.  He’s just had a lovely time in South Africa.

    8:51 “And the cross will curl behind,” proclaims Mowbray, who is a little hazy on the whole concept of prediction, a half-second after the cross has curled behind the line.

    8:55 Tonight’s award for most general statement which could mean virtually anything at all goes to Trevor Steven: “Germany are always capable of doing something.”

    8:59 Puyol’s poodles score!

    9:20 “There will be new World Cup winners this year. It’s Spain against the Netherlands,” announces Mowbray, his lightning brain whizzing into action.

    The Spanish squad, apparently oblivious to the fact that two dogs live there, have descended upon Puyol’s head (and other parts of his person).

    9:21 “Spain came into this tournament never having won a quarter-final. Now they’ve never lost a semi-final” Lineker’s logic is, paradoxically, both impeccable and deeply inane.

    9:24 So, Paul the octopus was right again. Unlike the physicist who developed a trigonometry-based formula predicting German success in the tournament. 

    Following, oh, seconds of rigorous statistical analysis, one Professor Metin Tolan concluded that Germany would win the 2010 World Cup. As a purely coincidental footnote, Prof. Tolan, apart from having altogether too much free time on his hands and no evident pastimes other than annoying the world with ludicrous statistics, is German.

    Puyol and his two poodles

  • For one night only: Clive Tyldesley solo

    July 6, 2010 @ 11:06 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Day Twenty-Six: Holland v. Uruguay

    7:14 Jim Rosenthal is wearing a shirt that appears to be comprised of television interference.

    7:18 Kevin Keegan is debating Suarez’s handball in the quarter-final. If you have persisted in reading having encountered the words ‘Kevin Keegan is debating’, as unpromising a start to a sentence as can be contrived, then your mental fortitude merits my finishing. Anyway, Keegan says, “I don’t think he’s done anything wrong”. Apart from not being the goalkeeper and handling the ball on the line, you mean, Kevin? How’s the Soccer Circus going? It is good that you have a day job.

    7:31 Clive Tyldesley: “If you’re waiting for the voice of Jim Beglin, I’m afraid he was taken ill earlier and is bedbound. But he’ll be fit and ready for the final on Sunday.” This news brings its share of boon and burden, namely less Jim Beglin, but more Clive Tyldesley. Does the complete absence of Beglin compensate for the additional Tyldesley? It’s a quandary. 

    8:11 Forlan scores and Clive, coping manfully without Jim there to repeat everything he’s just said, delivers his judgement. “I think you have to say that’s a poor goalkeeping error.” It’s true. Goalkeeping errors simply aren’t what they used to be.

    8:17 Adrian Chiles informs us that, when they return, the ITV panel are “going to celebrating two things about that first half”. One has to be Jim Beglin’s absence, of course. What could the other be?

    8:23 TV producers have become obsessed with showing crowd reactions to goals scored by their national teams. We get shots of fans in Amsterdam and Montevideo jumping up and down and cheering in response to their teams scoring. What did you expect them to do? Devise a spontaneous interpretive dance routine? Form a gigantic human tower? Spell a rude word with hundreds of human bodies?

    8:26 “If I was the coach I’d have seen a lot of positives.” No, Kevin. If you were the coach, Holland would be 4-3 down following a half of monumental defensive incompetence.

    8:54 “The keeper had to get down and turn it away,” observes RTÉ’s Ray Houghton as we watch a replay of the keeper getting down and turning it away.

    8:58 “The Dutch players are over towards their manager; they’re absolutely delighted.” Ray’s analysis as the delighted Dutch players move over towards their manager.

    9:01 “He headed it down, goalkeeper no chance whatsoever, in off the inside of the post,” observes Ray as we view a replay of Robben heading it down, giving the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever, as it goes in off the inside off the post. He doesn’t miss a thing, that Ray Houghton.

    9:08 “For all we’ve said about them being a circumspect and a practical team, they have scored two fantastic goals tonight,” says mealy-mouthed Clive Tyldesley. The adjective you are seeking is ‘boring’, Clive.

    9:10 “It’ll be interesting to see what the boys in the studio think about this Dutch performance.” No, it won’t, Clive.  There is a long menu of options here -‘profoundly dull’, ‘mind-numbingly boring’, ‘crushingly moronic’, ‘dispiritingly inane’ – but ‘interesting’ is not a word I would use to describe anything emanating from the ITV panel.

    9:15 “He is so one-footed,” says Tyldesley of Robben. I’ll be sure to count the next time he appears in shot, but I am almost certain the Dutch winger was bilaterally endowed with feet the last time I checked.

    9:17 Tyldesley: “Look at all that togetherness and harmony in the Dutch squad.” Screen Shot pines for the days of divided Dutch squads, purely so commentators will stop referring to the togetherness and harmony of the Dutch squad.  

    9:29 ITV are again screening a shot of fans in Amsterdam. Once more, they fail abysmally to surprise in their reaction (jumping up and down, cheering).

    9:30 “Who were they [Holland] playing again?” asks a discombobulated Gareth Southgate. His next questions – “What time is it again? Where are we?” – confirm a suspicion long held by Screen Shot. The entire ITV panel was lobotomised before the tournament.

    Then James Corden’s World Cup Live appears on screen. Because watching ITV for prolonged periods makes me nauseous, I only left it on for two minutes. But even in that space it did not disappoint. By which I mean that it did. Corden, who waddles smugly into the studio, has a sidekick, a woman named Abbey.

    “How did you spend the days off?” asks Corden

    “I just had a little relax” says Abbey, who has forged a television career apparently unhampered by her belief that the word ‘relax’ is a noun.

     Corden then addresses Dermot O’Leary as ‘Derms’. After that, bile rising dangerously high, I had to turn it off.

  • Catechism of World Cup Cliché

    July 5, 2010 @ 12:44 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Some of the better class of reader – no, not you - may recognise from whence the ‘inspiration’ for this post came. But plagiarism is such an ugly word. The term misappropriation has a far more elegant ring.

    Which laudable property of bilateral dexterity of the lower limbs does he possess?

    Two good feet

    What embodiment of laudable diligence is he?

    A good pro

    Is a good pro a good player?


    What is ‘a result’?

    A draw, when a win was expected.

    Is a 6-0 defeat ‘a result’?

    No. Defeats do not qualify as a result

    Which saccharine epithet describes his left foot?


    Are there sweet right feet?

    No. Only left feet may be sweet.    

    Which undergarments clothing the vertebrate extremity of the lower leg did he run off?

    His socks

    Which promotional exercise did the game represent?

    A great advert (for the game)

    What counts?

    They all count

    Which descendents of the Teutons can you never write off?

    The Germans

    It is four-and-a-half minutes into injury time and nine-man Germany are three goals behind. Can you write off the Germans?

    No. You can never write off the Germans

    Which epithet, expressing courageous resolve, describes underdogs on whom a marginally-less-humiliating-than-expected defeat has been inflicted?


    Can, say, England or France be brave?

    No. Only countries which have been colonised may be brave

    On what were your victorious opponents the better team?

    The day

    At the end of what?

    The day

    At the end of the day, what is a win?

    A win

    Which foot is favoured?

    His favoured left foot.

    So, he has two left feet?

    Here, stop causing trouble round here, would you.

    Good heavens! That pass bisected the centre-halves, nay, cleaved their partnership in twain. Any advice on how I might describe it?


  • Does an octopus know more about football than the BBC panel?

    July 3, 2010 @ 7:36 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Day Twenty-Three: Argentina v. Germany

    2:33 “Today’s quarter-final has all the ingredients of a classic,” claims inveterate fate-tempter Darragh Moloney, and you are instantly gripped by the unshakeable conviction that it will necessarily now be anything but.

    2:36 “I’m really excited here today,” declares Creosote Man. And you can really see it in his facial expression too. Compared to his usual appearance, he does look marginally less like he has emerged from a coma in the very recent past.


               Creosote Man: Unexcited                              Creosote Man: Extremely excited

    2:37 Hansen is guaranteeing goals, thereby further increasing the likelihood it will be an epically dull nil-niler.

    2:39 Clarence Seedorf, the brains of BBC’s operation, thinks both teams will be going for a win today.

    2:46 “Klose says today’s game will be much tougher than England. I’m trying to think of something smart to say, but I can’t.” Don’t tax your brain, Gary. It wouldn’t be smart anyway.

    3:09 Messi is an artist. An artist whose mother cuts his hair, but an artist nonetheless.

    3:16 A German octopus has been making predictions about the World Cup, according to Wilson. This is true. The unusually prescient cephalopod has thus far correctly foretold the result of all four of Germany’s games. The octopus, who is named Paul, makes his prediction by choosing to first eat a mussel from one of two food boxes, bearing the flags of competing nations, which are lowered into his tank. Uncannily, this is precisely the method of forecasting Lee Dixon uses. ITV sport executives are believed to be in talks to sign Paul, who they see as a natural replacement for Kevin Keegan.

    3:44 Muller actually bull-toes a shot. Even when I was playing football as a kid, this method of shooting was frowned upon as being contrary to the spirit of the game.

    3:58 Hansen’s analysis of Ghana’s defeat to Uruguay: “It just wasn’t to be, I suppose.” The reader may be interested to note that Hansen signed a four-year, £5million contract with the BBC in 2008.

    4:20 Superb tackle by Martin Demichelis, Metallica roadie masquerading as international footballer.

    Picture of Martin Demichelis, cleverly placed here to distract you from paucity of today’s text

    4:24 Two-nil Germany. “Game over,” announces a bold Ray Houghton, who then proceeds to repeat George Hamilton’s description of the goal, in his own strange, idiosyncratic manner, subverting grammatical convention by employing the word ‘done’ as the past tense of the verb ‘to do’.

    4:31 Three-nil, and Ray launches a further assault on the English language, this time focusing his energies on the verb ‘to go’ in describing Schweinsteiger’s passage through the Argentine defence thus: “He’s went past the Argentine back line”.

    4:45 “Game over,” shouts Ray again, now repeating not just what Hamilton says, but his own comments from 21 minutes ago.

    4:48 In the posh seats, Sepp Blatter touches Angela Merkel’s arm. The German Chancellor shows admirable stateswomanlike restraint by not recoiling in horror.

    4:49 “Ein, zwei, drei; they’ve struck vier into every other World Cup rivals,” bleats Lineker, in a strong contender for worst pun of the tournament, possibly of all time.

    4:51 It seems Creosote Man has joined Ray’s crusade against the English tongue. “Big questions have been asked of them [Germany] and they’ve came up with an emphatic answer.”

    5:33 “Here in Cape Town, Germany have shown that England aren’t really that bad. In fact we’ll definitely win the next World Cup.” You jest, Lineker, but your colleagues will saying exactly this in three years and 11 months’ time.



  • Oranges squeeze out lemons in juicy encounter

    July 2, 2010 @ 9:56 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Prior to today’s quarter-final escapades, let us dwell for a moment on an intriguing headline Screen Shot encountered on Wednesday. Appearing on the Yahoo (sorry, Yahoo!) homepage in reference to FIFA overlord Sepp Blatter’s apologies to England and Mexico over the refereeing mistakes they were victims to, it read Blatter shows human side.

    Yes, but what they neglect to mention is that his other side is a gigantic lizard. It depends on the angle you’re viewing him from. But you don’t see any Blatter shows gigantic lizard side headlines, do you? You do not.

    Day Twenty Two: Brazil v. Holland

    2:35 “The Brazilians are lacking typical Brazilliance,” claims Adrian Chiles on ITV. I’m sick of this notion. Did you not actually see Brazil’s two goals against North Korea, or their first goal against the Ivory Coast, or their second and third goals against Chile, Adrian?

    2:43 Brazilian journalist on Lucio: “The error he made… could have been the end of his career if Brazil had lost.” Luckily, though, Brazil were playing England at the time, so they won.

    2:44 Stop press stop press stop press – ITV journalist Gabriel Clarke uses the word ‘samba’ in a package concerning the Brazilian football team.

    2:53 “Who has not spent the two rest days looking forward to this?” asks Peter Drury. I had been, you know. Then I discovered Peter Drury was commentating.

    2:54 “Oranges and lemons,” says Drury, presumably because, firstly, the teams are of course respectively associated with orange and yellow shirts and, secondly, because Peter Drury is incapable of making a statement that does not include a ludicrous analogy. As an interesting footnote, Brazil are not even wearing yellow today. It would, however, have been grossly unfair had Peter been compelled to abandon this prepared comment purely on the grounds of the inconvenient contingency that Brazil were not sporting yellow jerseys.

    3:13 That Craig Burley on ITV. Let me tell you, the man knows his football. For the Dutch, “playing Brazil is a big step up from playing Norway, Macedonia and Scotland.”

    3:17 Pitch invasion by a frisbee.

    3:34 Matt Holland calls the Dutch Number 11 “Aaron Robben”.

    3:38 Bastos is booked for a tackle on Robben. Immediately after this Dunga administers a petulant slap to the dugout and is permitted to do so with impunity. Where is the justice?

    3:55 Chiles asks, “What have Holland got to do? Have you got a masterplan for them?” A masterplan, you say? Let me remind you, Adrian, that you are addressing Andy Townsend, a man not generally noted for his capacity to formulate masterplans, or, for that matter, grammatically correct sentences.

    4:11 “He [Sneijder] is the focal point of a celebration that leaves Juan and Julio Cesar bemused.” Yes, Peter. Perhaps that is because Sneijder was, in fact, responsible for the goal.

    4:31 “This could be an orange year! “ Not a lemon year then, Peter? What if it goes to extra-time? Would that make it a rock shandy day?

    4:44 Kuyt is through on goal. “This is Dirk Kuyt for Holland…” announces Drury, as though he may well expire from excitement in the very near future. Right on cue, Kuyt loses the ball.

    4:48 Drury, who has never heard of a young Argentinian player named Lionel Messi, is claiming that Kaka is the best footballer in the world.

    4:50 “Brazil out! An orange day in Port Elizabeth. A painful day for the players of the greatest football nation on Earth. As wide as every Dutch smile is, so is every Brazilian frown.” Somewhere at the bottom of a drawer in Peter Drury’s house are several over-written, unpublished novels.

    4:58 Kevin Keegan is talking about how teams should defend, blithely ignoring the fact that he was the manager of Newcastle United between 1992 and 1997.

    5:02 “Football always ends in misery.” I would like to record that Adrian Chiles has made this assertion, or a version thereof, on every single occasion on which I have watched him presenting a football-related broadcast.

    5:09 “The Dutch showed more temperament than the Brazilians.” In an important scientific discovery, Liam Brady can reveal that temperament is now a quantifiable phenomenon.

    5:17 “Why do we have to have referees from Mali and the Seychelles? We shouldn’t have had a referee from Japan officiating,” says Ronnie Whelan. Such statements should not be permitted to go unchallenged. I am therefore reporting Whelan at once to the Amalgamated Malian, Japanese and Seychellois Refereeing Equality Authority.

  • Hugely controversial list

    June 30, 2010 @ 12:02 pm | by Seán Kenny

    I have been thinking. There are those who would consider this activity exceptional of itself. But, ignoring their cruel aspersions for a moment, I can reveal that I have decided that the world – or more specifically the seven people not related to me by birth or marriage who read Screen Shot – needs a list of humorous moments from the World Cup so far.

    A list, with the controversy inherent in its inclusions and omissions, seems an efficient means of generating comments, thereby further inflating my already monstrously large ego. Also, I aim to hoodwink many readers into visiting the blog through my cunning employment of the words ‘hugely controversial’ in this post’s title. Here, then is Screen Shot’s

    Hugely Controversial List of the Top Twenty Funniest World Cup Moments So Far:

    20. ITV commentator, who may or may not have been experiencing a manic episode at the time, declaiming, “Goal for South Africa! Goal FOR ALL AFRICA!” as Tshabalala opened the scoring in South Africa v. Mexico.

    19. The laughable simplicity of RTÉ’s competition questions e.g. “Which country does Fernando Torres play for?”

    A. A jar of Marmite

    B. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

    C. An IKEA shelving unit

    D. Spain

    18. The incapacitating condition – known colloquially as ‘thickness’ – which prevents Mick McCarthy from being able to pronounce Greek surnames.

    17. The looks of Byronic despair creasing Cristiano Ronaldo’s face each time a referee has proven insufficiently stupid to award him a free kick for diving.

    16. The continuing misnomer which sees Emile Heskey labelled as a ‘striker’.

    15. Best use of a hammer-like implement in devising an analogy to describe a teammate’s facial expression. Gennaro Gattuson, speaking about Andrea Pirlo. “He’s got a face that looks like it’s been hit with a mallet.”

    14. The fact that numerous professional broadcasters are actually still uttering the phrase, “You can never write off the Germans.”

    13. The brilliantly inventive humour of the 537 commentators who made a car or driving-related joke every time Japanese player Keisuke Honda touched the ball.

    12. Every single word out of Jimmy Magee’s mouth during the Greece v. Nigeria match.

    11. George Hamilton’s pronouncement that “All roads from this World Cup seem to lead to Wigan Athletic.”

    10. Alan Hansen speaking v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y i-n-d-e-e-d to new co-panellist Emmanuel Adebayor / Adebayor responding veryquicklyindeed in fluent English.

    9. Apres Match sketch involving a Subbuteo pitch and a toy giraffe.

    8. Billo asking, “What did that tell us about Real Madrid?” Momentarily adrift in the space-time continuum, he was speaking after the Brazil v. North Korea match.

    7. “We are called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Do not use any other name. Next question.”  North Korea coach Kim Jong-Hun replies, with barely a shred of hostility, to a South Korean journalist’s question.

    6. Jonathan Pearce’s assertion that Sepp Blatter, a man for whom the word ‘oleaginous’ was specifically invented, may receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in arranging for the World Cup to be held in South Africa. If that does happen, I am resigning from the human race.

    5. Kevin Keegan tipping England to beat the USA.

    4. Creosote Man tipping England to beat Algeria.

    3. Alan Hansen tipping England to beat Germany.

    2. Clarence Seedorf tipping England to win the World Cup.

    1. England 1 – 4 Germany

    Nominate your funniest moments so far here.

  • Ronaldo falls over repeatedly, pouts, raises eyebrows dramatically etcetera

    June 29, 2010 @ 11:16 pm | by Seán Kenny

    Day Nineteen: Portugal v. Spain

     7:02 Tenuous links of the World Cup on BBC #2: Apparently the Rumble in the Jungle bears some relation to Spain v. Portugal. Oh wait, I forgot. Muhammad Ali is Spanish, isn’t he? And George Foreman, of course, grew up pounding head on the mean streets of Lisbon. Even more arbitrary than the footage of Italy v. Brazil from 1982 BBC showed last week.

    7:06 No Creosote Man on the BBC panel tonight. It’s Hansen, Seedorf and Klinsmann. I am not joking when I say that the Dutchman and the German speak English to a higher standard than the Geordie.

    7:17 “Cristiano is very sure of himself; he knows he has a lot of different skills,” says Gerard Pique of Ronaldo.

    7:18 Oh, Lord. Cresoste Man is working on the game after all. In the stadium, no less. “Portugal have kept 22 clean sheets out of 26 games,” he says, displaying that he is capable of memorizing a short statistic he has read on a piece of paper a producer handed him five minutes ago. It may be a punditry career highlight. Boldly, he is also predicting that Portugal will not win 7-0 tonight.

    7:22 Klinsmann says Ronaldo can show that he is better than Messi. Mystifyingly, neither Seedorf nor Hansen laugh out loud.

    7:51 Slow-motion replay of Casillas puffing out his cheeks repeatedly in a manner which makes him look like a very recently electrocuted fish. I tried to find a photo of it, but could not. You will simply have to take my word for it.

    8:03 Ronaldo with the old forward pike, for which he does not receive a free. Cue pout and despairing glance heavenward. I fear for poor Cristiano, I really do. Some day soon he may simply buckle under the accumulated weight of injustice so cruelly heaped upon his young shoulders.

    8:09 “I’m not holding my breath,” says Mark Lawrenson of the possibility of FIFA introducing video refereeing. No, do. If you hold it long enough, you pass out. Being unconscious, you will be unable to make any appalling puns.

    8:22 “I hate being complementary about defences,” says Hansen. I hate being complementary about you too, Alan. Fortunately, you never give me a reason to be anything other than derogatory.

    8:29 Yee haw! All aboard the video refereeing bandwagon!

    8:47 Hugo Almeida off. Why haven’t Portugal had a decent striker in about 40 years?

    8:50 Ronaldo, who achieved the not inconsiderable feat of maintaining a bronzed complexion even while resident in Manchester, is even swarthier now he’s living in Madrid. The Portuguese Adonis really does resemble a Classical statue. And not just when Portugal don’t have the ball. But mainly then.

    9:15 Ray, watching Ronaldo play for the very first time, thinks the Portuguese should have got a free for falling over.

    9:26 “Ronaldo was a disgrace,” says Johnny Giles.

    9:29 “It’s all for Ronaldo. That’s all he thinks about, ‘I’ll be the hero’.” More damning judgment from Ronnie Whelan. But where is Dunphy when you need him? He is the international authority on Ronaldo-baiting, having in the past drawn from his wide fund of insults to label the winger a brat, a clown, a cod, a disgrace, a nothing player and a puffball.

    9:33 Johnny Giles has a near-pathological aversion to flicks, which of course represent 97 per cent of Ronaldo’s repertoire. Johnny, in other words, has a near-pathological aversion to 97 per cent of Ronaldo.

    9:43 As if the mere presence of his smugly grinning face was not sufficient motive to punch him in the nose, Lineker reminds everyone he won a Golden Boot. Without actually saying so, which is even more annoying.

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