BERLIN - When you´re constantly travelling, swotting up on players you´ve never seen before and simply thinking about the next game it´s difficult to assess the overall quality of the World Cup so far.
If, like me, you saw Brazil´s second-half exhibition against Japan you´d still be purring about the beautiful game but then sit through Ukraine´s laboured win over Tunisia (me again) and you´d wonder why people bother putting it on television.
Continue reading "What a difference a day makes....."
IBC, MUNICH - One of the best things about being at the World Cup (and there are many, many reasons why it’s great to be here) is celebrity spotting. I know, I should probably be above it. But I’m not. Yesterday at the USA v Ghana match I met (‘saw’ is perhaps more truthful) a true footballing legend. The only man in the world who can pull off a blonde afro – Carlos Valderrama.
Continue reading "King Carlos"
BERLIN - If you think our pundit Leonardo is charming on screen, just try spending a day with him, as I did to secure our exclusive interview with Portugal and ex-Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Firstly, when I arrived at Leonardo's hotel at 6am, he’d only had four hours sleep after doing the late-night highlights show.
Most of us, at best, might grunt a “good morning” or cursory nod, but he pretty much exited the hotel whistling a show tune, delighted to see what 6 o’clock looked like. And, somehow, he still resembled a movie star. Life ain’t fair, is it?!?
Continue reading "The Boys From Brazil"
BERLIN - Television schedules are usually drawn up months in advance, set in stone weeks in advance, then fine-tuned by no more than a few seconds here and there. However, at this stage in a World Cup, all that goes out of the window.
At a couple of days’ notice, BBC1 have completely redrafted their plans for the coming weekend and slotted in an avalanche of live football. Events like Wimbledon or the Olympics hijack the airwaves in a similar way, but they can be planned with a fair degree of precision months and sometimes years ahead.
Sharing a football tournament with ITV, and the absence of even a day’s gap between the first and second phases meant that four days’ television output was put on hold until the last possible minute.
Continue reading "If it's Sunday then it must be Stuttgart"
BADEN-BADEN - Turn your back for a minute and Italy win the World Cup.
It seems that in the time it takes to have a 20-minute spin on the treadmill and spend the usual several hours in the recovery position, the final fortnight of the tournament has actually taken place and Marcello Lippi’s men are triumphant.
Continue reading "Italy win the World Cup...apparently"
NUREMBERG - I'll come clean straight away.
I went on holiday to Ghana last year and I loved the place to bits - even more so the people.
Continue reading "Glorious, glorious Ghana"