World Cup TV: Poor divil Blerim Dzemali better not forget to put the bins out

The Hamman man predicts France will (Thomas) muller them in quarter-finals because Germany are rubbish

Day 20 and Bill O'Herlihy warned us that "it'll be messy after the break", so you assumed Kenny and Richie were on punditry duty again. But it was actually Lionel he was referring to, the God of Argentina.

(Speaking of Whom. "God was a bit before my time, Bill," John Giles told Gay Byrne on The Meaning of Life when asked to discuss his faith, so that was that, really. Apres Match, take a bow).

Another lively day, just as we were recovering from Germany v Algeria from the night before. "You must have been sweating blood Didi, were you," Bill asked the Hamman man, and he confirmed that he had been indeed, before going on to predict France will (Thomas) muller them in the quarter-finals because Germany are rubbish. (We're paraphrasing here).

Before yesterday's action got under way, we had another reminder that life goes on outside the World Cup (weird, that), time for a little chat about the news that Roy Keane has been appointed assistant manager at Aston Villa, Liamo not quite in a position to say it was nuts, that it was impossible to combine that role with Keane's Irish job, seeing as he'd kinda done the same in his own time.


Eamon? “He’s diminished the job of assistant manager with Ireland.” (Roy, not Liam).

No thaw there, then.

On to the day's business and just when you thought no punditry moment would rival Glenn Hoddle calling Algeria "Al Jazeera", Robbie Savage, at the end of 90 minutes in the Argentina v Switzerland tussle, began a sentence with: "If I was Messi".

No, he did.

Gary Lineker was kind enough not to fall off his chair, although that might have be a snort from Als Hansen and Shearer we heard, allowing Robbie to continue. "I'd say to my team-mates, 'any chance of you getting your finger out?'"

‘Worst performance’

Well, of all people, Angel di Maria did just that with seconds to go, the fella making up for having the mother of all ‘mares. “The worst performance you’ve ever seen in your life by any player at any time,” said Al H, very nearly calling him the Robbie Savage of Argentina.

Harsh that, everyone can have an off day, like that poor divil Blerim Dzemali.

The world as one: “Huh? How did he not score?”

Eamon was sympathetic. Ish. “He will remember that for a very, very long time. Forever. And any day he forgets it, someone will remind him – maybe his wife, when they’re having a row.”

Mrs Dzemalin, then, might well be sharpening her tongue (“HOW DID YOU MISS, DOOFUS?!”) for when Blerim forgets to put the bins out. Poor lad.

So, a tough end to what had been a largely useful day for the Swiss, that spell late on when the Brazilians in the crowd Ole-ed their every pass calling to mind Lineker's chat with Diego Maradona who expressed his displeasure at the hosts cheering on Iran – "Iran!" – against his fellow countrymen. And now this.

(As Diego put it, “they say we are brothers, brothers, brothers, brothers . . . b******ks.” We seriously need Argentina and Brazil to meet in this tournament, even in the third-place play-off. It’d be quite competitive, you’d imagine.)

It wasn’t to be either for the ‘Alpine Messi’, Xherdan Shaqiri, which made us think again about might have been if Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper had stuck with soccer. The ‘Carrantuohill Messi’, they’d have dubbed him.

But back to the real Mountain of a Man. RTÉ showed us a little montage of Messi moments at the end of the game, which had Eamon drooling.

“People talk about the beautiful game, but what is beautiful about that [montage] is the courage, the coolness, the nerve, the agility, the dexterity, the vision, the touch, everything. That’s all in that package, in a glorious minute, that every kid in the world will remember. That is pure magic.”

That nearly had Bill in tears, but he had to compose himself, leaving you wondering how many people haven't chosen – spoiler alert – Jack Charlton as the Republic of Ireland manager who won the World Cup as a player, instead opting for Brian Kerr or Eoin Hand.

We’re being saturated with stats this World Cup, that’s one we really want to know.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times