Desert Outtakes - Eden Hazard subjected to fat shaming and selfies

BBC picks up on its own fortunate mistake; Saga of the Ronaldo ghost goal

No debate over the press conference display of the tournament so far. That prize goes to the Egyptian journalist who fat shamed Eden Hazard and then, just to show there were no hard feelings, asked him for a selfie.

Reporter: “We’ve noticed that you have gained a little weight.”

Hazard: “Eh? Can you repeat please?”

Reporter: “Recently, we’ve noticed that you have gained weight. How are you dealing with this and what caused it? Thank you.”


Hazard took a pause, during which he very clearly considered throttling the guy, before proceeding to say no, he works very hard on his fitness and his weight is stable. It was no major surprise then that when the press conference was over and the journalist came up and asked for a selfie, Hazard gave him the bum’s rush.

Normally, of course, we would take an exceedingly dim view of hacks asking for selfies at press conferences. But full marks for neck, at least.

BBC corrects its own mistake

The first week of the World Cup brought with it an entirely unlikely treat – not only did the BBC Sounds app have full FiveLive commentaries on all the games, you could actually listen to them in Ireland. Okay, you had to put up with the occasional Alan Shearer co-commentary but it was all there and all yours. Free as the air you breathe.

Until, at some stage over the weekend, somebody in the BBC clearly twigged it. Down came the geoblock and on came the recorded message: “Unfortunately due to rights restrictions, this broadcast is not available where you are…”

Cue outrage. Well, what passes for outrage among the niche band of radio listeners looking to catch a bit of Serbia v Cameroon while making a start on the Christmas shopping. BBC head of digital and radio Ben Gallop even had to get involved.

“Sorry,” he was forced to Tweet. “The BBC doesn’t actually have the rights to broadcast the World Cup outside the UK. But a technical issue meant the restrictions weren’t applied to some of the earlier matches. When this was flagged to us we had to fix it and ensure we only broadcast commentary in the UK.”


Word of Mouth – Ronaldo Special

“The Portuguese Federation are going to present evidence to Fifa to prove that the first goal against Uruguay was Cristiano Ronaldo’s NOT Bruno Fernandes’.” Spanish TV show El Chiringuito with the big exclusive.

“In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, using the Connected Ball Technology housed in Adidas’s Al Rihla official match ball, we are able to definitively show no contact on the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo for the opening goal in the game.” Adidas weighs in.

“I was just with Piers Morgan and he said that Cristiano texted him from the locker room saying that he believes that it touched his head. So, uhm, who knows?” On Fox Sports, former USA defender Alexi Lalas clears the whole thing right up.

“I don’t think it really matters who scored the goal at this point.” Bruno Fernandes, who the whole world saw scoring the goal.

In Numbers: 0

Brazil haven’t allowed a single shot on target in their opening two games. They are, according to Opta, the first team to do this since France in 1998. Not your da’s Brazil, this lot.

In Words

“Ask Alonso. He can talk more tactically about what’s happening.” Edinson Cavani responds to Uruguay’s defeat to Portugal by passing all enquiries onto… Uruguay coach Diego Alonso.

Terrible Toby

Proving once and for all that no idea is too hackneyed to beat to a bloody pulp, this World Cup has seen endless attempts around the world to ape Paul The Octopus and get animals to predict the games on TV. The outcome has been, let’s say, a little mixed.

In Bahrain, a parrot said USA would beat England. In Dubai, Toby the penguin had a bad start to the tournament when he went for Qatar to beat Ecuador and Iran to take England. He must have got a damn good talking-to after that because he soon turned it around, calling Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina and Japan’s over Germany.

And if you’re wondering why Toby always seems to go for outlandish results, just know that he lives at a place called Ski Dubai. Logic can’t always be easy to access in a desert ski resort.

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times