N’do does not drop any F bombs on panel debut
Cameroon’s finest pleases the punters
Spain’s Andres Iniesta during the match against Chile. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
We’ll have no more talk of temperatures, telly people, it was most probably hotter in Mullingar yesterday than the Maracana, half the nation (this one) struck down by heat exhaustion and cramp thanks to working the remote control for three successive World Cup games.
Joseph N’do did, at least, lighten our heat-exhausted mood with his debut on RTÉ alongside Ronnie Whelan, his first touch, a delightfully cheeky reference to that F bomb. “I want to thank Ronnie, he gave me some advice on what not to say on TV,” he said grinning.
Having played for Cameroon at the World Cup, N’do was, mercifully, qualified to tell us more than they’re ‘technically gifted, but temperamental’, his performance prompting several loving messages which Tony O’Donoghue happily read out.
Unbiased Sligo Rovers supporter David Goulden declared N’do to be “the greatest man who ever lived”, while Joe McDwyer wanted to have his babies.
Some time later all of Australia had an overwhelming desire to procreate with Tim Cahill after that particular goal, as Clarke Carlisle put it on ITV: “OH, MY DAYS!!”
Mind you, Cahill’s day was somewhat banjaxed by (a) Hollerland’s comeback and (b) that yellow card for his lunge on Bruno Martins Indi.
“It was,” said an aghast Patrick Vieira on ITV, “a Roy Keane challenge”.
“How dare you speak about my assistant manager like that,” said Martin O’Neill, “that was a Patrick Vieira challenge.” You could only smile: loyalty, like.
Back on RTÉ and there was a heated debate about referees cracking down/not cracking down on pulling and dragging and the like, most notably in the penalty area, the feeling being that a decade and a bit ago it seemed they were going to get hot and heavy on such offences, but then reverted to letting anything go,. This peeved Liam Brady no end, as it did John Giles.
“I am delighted Liam and John are now advocating fair play,” Ossie Ardiles purred, the auld minx.
“Game, set and match, Oz,” Bill whooped, while Liam and Gilesie threw a “you cheeky little mare” look in their special guest’s direction.
Spain v Chile. No Xavi?
It was a bit like when the news came through that Take That had broken up (the first time), an “end of an era” feeling, the sight of him sitting on the bench akin to seeing Marouane Fellaini scoring a goal. Unprecedented. (Everton fans: “Huh?”)
All or nothing for Spain, of course, but the start was promising, not least for Xabi Alonso. “He has not misplaced a pass yet. 100 per cent accuracy. Who’s surprised? Not us,” tweeted stats people Squawka, and with that Alonso misplaced a pass and Chile were a goal up.
And then he gave away a free-kick and Chile were two up. “Gracias Squawka,” said the entire Spanish nation.
“We said before the game this was a wake-up call for Spain – but that alarm is still on snooze,” Gary Lineker declared at half-time.
“I’m beginning to think it might not be their night,” said Danny Murphy on the BBC, when they were just the two down with 11 of their 22 feet on the plane home.
And in injury time he told us if he was a betting man “Spain are going home”.
“And I get grief?” said Phil Neville said to himself.
You’d guess Danny’s local turf accountant wouldn’t have given him the kindest of odds, so it’s probably best he’s not a betting man.
And then the World Cup camera people picked out a chap sporting a cheesy grin holding an “Adios Spana” sign, which wasn’t nice, but it was, at least, a break from boobs.
Done and dusted, Spain going home, once they play Australia, a game that will no doubt have them tingling. And up popped the table on the Beeb, Spain below Australia. The mighty haven’t just fallen, they’re Down Under.
“It’s a sad moment because they have given us so much joy over the years,” said Clarence Seedorf on the BBC. Too true. While Gilesie bid adieu to Spain’s “tippy tappy” football.
When Spanish paper AS declared after their Dutch drubbing “this glorious generation has nothing more to give”, you sensed they were being a bit previous. As it proved, they were spot on.
Adios Spain, thanks for the memories.