Italy have Ballytelly but Uruguay have Luis’s cannon

Bullets over Glenn Hoddle and rockets over Joe Hart as Suarez outguns Rooney


Day Eight and apparently the sun is still shining outside, but such was the irritating glare on the World Cup telly the curtains had be to drawn half a week ago, so it could be snowing out there for all we know. No matter, with a line-up of (Colombia v Ivory Coast), Wayne Rooney v Luis Suarez and (Japan v Greece), there was no need at all for Factor Fifty, although it has to be said, the heat was very severely on England.

Lee Dixon had words of encouragement for the ITV audience, “We’re not playing a team that has Pirlo in it”. A fair point, but then Italy don’t have Luis Suarez, even if they have “Ballytelly”, as Liam Brady called him, although they were, of course, doubts about Luis’s fitness and whether he could have an impact . . .

Goodbye to Ardiles

Having said an RTÉ goodbye to Ossie Ardiles on Wednesday – his fond farewell a response to the question ‘who was the best player never to play at the World Cup’: “Eamon Dunphy” – it was time to say hello to Alan Hansen on the BBC yesterday, like Bill O’Herlihy competing in his last World Cup.

We were straight in to the debate over whether Wayne could beat Uruguay (Hart, Baines, Cahill, Jagielka, Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Welbeck and Sturridge: “Yoo hoo?”), and whether he should be played right, left or centre, or not at all. And if, should he have another World Cup blank, he should be sent to the Tower.

No pressure, young man.

And, of course, after defeat in their opener against Italy, absence keeps on making the heart grow fonder, John Terry now officially declared England’s man of the tournament, while one particular English reporter lamented the absence of another chap: “The sad thing is English football did produce a Pirlo: His name is Michael Carrick.”

Back on RTÉ, Eamon was paying tribute to Gilesie’s forensic punditry skills during the (Colombia v Ivory Coast) game, reminding us t he’s a “rationalist” who “doesn’t factor in emotions”, to which Gilesie confessed: “I’m Mr Spock.”

It was Spock - or Robbie Savage, not sure - who once declared “insufficient facts always invite danger”, which kind of calls to mind Glenn Hoddle’s work for ITV thus far, although what looked like a bullet hole in the window over his left shoulder last night, as all of the interwebs spotted, seemed like an excessive response to his efforts.

(At which point all of the interwebs suggested it was probably directed at Adrian Chiles, the poor man not widely loved in his native land).

Time for a quick chat with England goalkeeper Joe Hart. “He’s head and shoulders above the rest,” said Glenn. No, he did.

So, Rooney v Suarez.

Boos, an “intensely annoyed” Billo told us, had filled the stadium when young Wayne’s name was announced, but Liamo, Eamo and Gileso all forecast he would beat Suarez. But then, you know, Luis ...

‘Not without hope’

“We are not without hope,” said Adrian Chiles at half-time, but Lee and Glenn’s faces suggested otherwise.

Having spent, like, forever arguing that Rooney was criminally wasted on the left, Hoddle then insisted he had “played far too central” in the first half, at which point you half hoped Rooney would take to Twitter in his Sao Paulo dressingroom to ask: “Glenn? What are you like?”

Clive Tyldesley refused to give up, though.

“Wayne Rooney’s first World Cup goal may just be getting closer!”

“He looks like scoring tonight!”

So, you assumed that was the smacker of death.

But then.


The crowd (who had booed his name pre-match): “Roooonay, Roooonay!”

Funny old game


Luis. Again.

And that was that. “We just have to be grateful he wasn’t fully fit,” said Adrian, which was a fair enough observation, Luis, you suspect, would be a danger even if he was on life support.

Done and dusted? Well, Adrian was “miserably, excruciatingly” disappointed, but tried to lift the mood by insisting “we’re not dead yet”.

Before adding “but we might as well start the post mortem.”

Down, and almost out.


“If we had a finisher like that we’d have won both games.”

Sher, if the Queen had . . .

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