TV View: It was a game that needed some bite . . . and Suarez obliged
Only one topic up for discussion as Teethgate dominates the airwaves
Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. Photo: Tony Gentile/Reuters
Look, there’ll be enough talk about Luis, so we’ll focus on the football.
“Another one of those where were you when . . . ?” moments, to which the answer is, more often than not, “in front of the telly”. By the time Gary Lineker popped up on our screens for the BBC’s coverage of Greece v Ivory Coast, his mood was so sombre you sensed we wouldn’t see Greece v Ivory Coast at all, that they’d analyse the bite until 11.10, and just let us know the result from Fortaleza before they signed off.
“There are no words,” said Alan Shearer, which is never a good thing for a pundit to admit, Robbie Savage beside him busy howling “OMG!”, while Danny Murphy offered a more restrained observation: “I think there’s something not quite right with him – and I mean that in the nicest way.” (He said that of Luis, by the way, not Robbie.)
Crystal ball“You need to be patient watching this folks, something WILL happen,” Stephen Alkin promised of the Italy v Uruguay game, while Jim Beglin drifted off beside him, and not a whole lot later you could only doff your cap to Stephen’s crystal ball.
“I said the game needed some bite, but . . . ,” Jim declared, having been awoken from his slumber, Luis walking around holding his teeth, like Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder had attacked them, one of the funnier moments in the history of the game.
“He’s not helping himself, is he,” asked Adrian Chiles over on ITV, and he wasn’t wrong.
Funnier still, really, was the initial contrast in the moods in the RTÉ and ITV studios regarding Teethgate, RTÉ rolling about the place giggling, ITV putting it on a par with famine and war.
Ian Wright: “I fink he needs to see someone.”
Lee Dixon: “He’s seeing someone at Liverpool – obviously it hasn’t worked.”
Obviously. Glenn Hoddle, meanwhile, worried about the children, lest they take to the park and start gnawing on their pals’ shoulders, instead of trying to re-create more positive World Cup moments. “You do that in the street somewhere, you’re in prison – it’s like being stung by a wasp,” he said of the chomp, leaving wondering what kind of wasps he’s met in his time.
Back on RTÉ and you wondered if they’d all been watching England on the webby player instead, “that’s another match Suarez has under his belt to get his match fitness,” said Giles. Hello? “He’s very, very dangerous,” said Liamo. Hello?
By now we needed Tommie Gorman to arrive and ask “but what about the children, lads?”
Finally. “Was it or was it not a bite,” asked Billo.
‘Elbow in face’And off we went.
Billo: “Well if he did bite he deserved the elbow in the face, didn’t he?”
(An eye for an eye, a tooth for a, eh, tooth?)
Billo: “Will it have an impact on Real Madrid or Barcelona buying him?”
Gilesie: “They could do with a bit of bite up front.”
Liamo: “I think it could be three bites and you’re out for the season.”
Eamon: “He felt he needed a tasty Italian.”
Gilesie: “He likes Italian dishes . . . a bit of spaghetti!”
Billo: “He could get a two year ban.”
Eamon: “You can be too precious about these things . . . you don’t need to rush to judgment.”
Soon after. You had to assume they’d been reminded of the children, because Teethgate was suddenly grave.
Eamon: “He shouldn’t play again in this tournament.”
SolutionMind you, they were ROFLing again when Liam suggested the solution was for Luis to be “sent to the dentist to have his teeth extracted – and that’s the end of the problem”, which is probably true, while Eamon made a perfectly reasonable point that will possibly lead to a heated exchange in the Montrose car park with Tom McGurk: “That’s the kind of things that rugby players used to do, gouging and biting, holding people in sensitive parts of their body – it’s not the kind of thing we associate with an intelligent game like soccer.”
Back of the net, like.