World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Nobody knows anything

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN – I was going to call this pre-final blog “Some people are on the pitch” in homage to Kenneth Wolstenholme’s immortal commentary.

In the end, I shied away from any reference to anything to do with England, for fear of any more accusations of unwarranted nationalism.

Instead, I thought I’d quote Martin O’Neill quoting the screenwriter William Goldman at the end of last night’s 3rd place play-off show...

We’re used to Martin’s incredible scatter-gun intelligence taking us down the occasional side road as we drive the motorway of sports broadcasting, but this was a particularly splendid detour.

And as a summary of punditry, programme-making and indeed the beautiful game itself, Mr Goldman’s wise words take some beating.

Martin was the only person I know who fancied France before the tournament, Italy were the only country I pencilled in for the semis who actually made it, so if you backed a France v Italy final, you’ve done much better than any of us have out here!

And no, most of us didn’t think England would make it, before you ask..

This weekend has been slightly strange here in Berlin. There were honking horns long into the night following last night’s bronze medal match.

We felt for the French team who were in a hotel a couple of blocks away presumably trying to sleep, but it was difficult to begrudge the hosts one last celebration.

We entered into the party spirit by choosing not to analyse Ronaldo’s preposterous dive just before half-time. The replays came courtesy of the host director, honestly!

It seemed more appropriate in the circumstances to pay tribute to two of the great international players of recent times, Luis Figo and Oliver Kahn, in their last appearances for their respective countries.

We’ll be taking a considered look at Zidane prior to tonight’s final for the same reason.

Great though a five-set Wimbledon men’s final might have been, I have to confess to a certain amount of relief here that it was over well before our 1800 on-air time, thus avoiding any scheduling clashes.

An enormous amount of effort has gone into making the pre-match build-up sequences, and to a superb closing montage which just needs a few shots from tonight to complete it.

The last sequence, with beautiful images of fans from all over the world cut to the music of Bach is absolutely glorious.

Anyway, I hope most of you have enjoyed most of our coverage - and most of the football - most of the time in the last month or so.

I hope enough people thought there was merit in a programme-maker taking time out to try to explain what we’ve been doing for it to have been a worthwhile exercise. I’ve enjoyed it and been interested in all the responses, and may well carry on doing some form of blog in the domestic season.

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  • 1.
  • At 07:21 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • jenny wrote:

The best way to shy away from accusations of unwanted nationalism is not to bring the subject up.

There’s been far to many references to how great the BBC are in these blogs. I counted three in this one, which is probably less than average. Nobody likes a show off.

Will we be getting some 606 blogs?

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  • 2.
  • At 07:38 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Greg S wrote:

I was watching last night, and was pleased to see Martin O'Neill's reference to "Adventures in the Screen Trade". What pleased me most was the look of awkward bafflement as Martin O'Neill spoke about something other than football. Essentially, this is what separates Mr O'Neill from other pundits. Not only is he bright and articulate, he seems to have some understanding of life outside football. The importance of this cannot be overstated, because most pundits are so immersed in football that they can't see beyond it, and end up swimming around in the same conversational circles, endlessly repeating the same cliches.

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  • 3.
  • At 07:42 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Adnan Ahmed wrote:

I thought Martin O'Neill's comments at that time were great. In the end, no-body knows anything and it is all glorious chance. Trust Alan Shearer to ruin this moment and throw a spanner in Martin's works...

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  • 4.
  • At 07:57 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Steve W wrote:

Let us not pick over minor criticisms both positive and negative about the BBC.

Let's face facts;

1. The BBC far outshines ITV etc because it is less of a pikey channel than the others, (however, the BBC is beginning to show nore pikey shows in the last 5 years.)

2. However, all of the BBC, is beginning to lose it in terms of quality -it has become so anal - gary lineker, BBC Breakfast, question time etc..... the reason being that all the presenters of these programmes are so smug in the belief that they represent the view of the nation, because they are presenters and they know what's best, and yet at the same time disregard all views of the people in the nation.

The BBC is so good at television but so poor at journalism and reporting.

And if you think I am wrong, are the BBC weather girls just weather girls or TV presenters (Louise Lear - To Buy or not to Buy)

Long live Jimmy Hill and Michael Fish.

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  • 5.
  • At 08:32 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Expat wrote:

Hopefully England will have learned from their defeat in this world cup that constant hype gets you nowhere though I am sure they will be back to the same old ways next world cup. It's embarrassing as an expat Englishman to watch them being hyped up as this years winners only to go home with their tails between their legs. Can we also, finally forget about 1966? I sometimes think that one win is holding the England Team back rather than acting as inspiration. Noone goes foward while looking behind them all the time. It seems to be a perfect metaphor for the way they play as well ie they seem to keep holding onto single goals for an entire game like they have held onto their only major soccer win.

It was 40 years ago which is ancient history as far as many people are concerned. England have to realise that apart from that one win, they haven't won anything significant such as the European Championship since, so why do they keep thinking that it's a given that they are going to win the World Cup everytime? I understand that you need motivation and that being negative you aren't going to win is not good either, but they need to tone down the hype because other countries view it as pure arrogance. Even then you need to earn the right to be arrogant by actually winning a few major championships.

England are not a world class team. A world Class Team wins more than once in a 40 year period. It seems the French have long been having the last laugh at the expense of their historical anglo adversaries.

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  • 6.
  • At 08:45 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

Forza Italia!

Why is the blog so self-righteous?

I watch the final to ITV because the commentators are so much better than BBC!

Sorry, but BBC is no good no more!

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  • 7.
  • At 08:47 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Steve W wrote:

Well said Expat

The truth of THE MATTER, as you so eloquently put, is that England must move on.

No more 66
No more record deals
No more experimentation with the manager

What England really need is to be coached by a military man who does not cedeto media.

England do not need mediocity of Mclaren nor the sterility of Woodward

They need General Sir Mike Jackson.

And the BBC need Col Bob Taylor.

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  • 8.
  • At 09:03 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • StuartB wrote:

A note on commentators and jingoism. The French tv commentators here thought the penalty they got was very dubious: Wenger: "That looks very harsh". From my memories of UK football coverage, this is very refreshing!

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  • 9.
  • At 10:32 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • A.Simpson wrote:

Agree with No:3, Martin O'Neil is a great addition to your pundit team, please keep him on. Likewise Alan Ball. No:6 is wrong to criticize your presenters who are great and on top of a very difficult job. We have noticed that the Wimbledon presenters have a much easier time of it because the subjects of their interviews (except for Murray) are all articulate and chat on happily which makes interesting and enjoyable viewing. Generally speaking footballers are not articulate, have no cadence to their voices and seem to be bored with life, and yet your presenters manage to make it interesting. Suppose you put a couple of presenters at each match so they could work off each other as you do with Clare Balding and Willie Carson at the races.


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  • 10.
  • At 10:33 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Philip Yates wrote:

I was born in England and moved to Canada many years ago.

I have the good fortune of being able to see World Cup games with the feed from both the BBC and ABC in the United States.

To John Helm and Gary Stevens ...

I have to assume you are both paid on the basis of the number of words used during each game. Either that or you both love the sound of your own voices!

For God's sake, shut the hell up every once in a while!

Your constant babble takes away from the game!

To BBC executives ...

You have four years to find commentators who can do a far better job than has been done during World Cup 2006. I can only suggest you use your time wisely.

For now, I will stick with the ABC feed.

Thank you.

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  • 11.
  • At 10:37 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Lake Constance wrote:

Hello Paul,

all these countries taking part in this tournament are different, that's what has made these days and the atmosphere so interesting and charming.
So, of course, you can and should be proud of your country! Or other countries! Your support should only follow some rules and logic.

And so I can't accept a BBC journalist supporting Italy to win the semi-final because the opponent's manager 'wears a shirt that is too casual', as this argument shows an attitude that hasn't arrived in the 21st century, or alternatively this blogger hasn't grown up yet.

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  • 12.
  • At 11:12 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • paul armstrong wrote:

I've been a bit busy during the last few hours! A couple of quick points: 1. to Philip Yates - I have no idea for whom John Helm and Gary Stevens are commentating, but it's not the BBC! 2. to C Santos - i think you posted with some fairly strong opinions after the France v Portugal match, but your outburst today has rightly been removed. I'm fully aware that the BBC is funded by your licence fee, which is precisely why I've taken time out to regularly try to explain the thinking behind our programmes. If you'd like to leave your details with the admisntrator, I'm more than happy to continue the conversation without inficting it on anyone else!

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  • 13.
  • At 11:14 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • roooooneddreamz wrote:

Yes...it's all over. italy ist Weltmeister. My fellow Englishmen, when do we get to experience the same outpouring of joy!?

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  • 14.
  • At 11:35 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Tony wrote:

I'm a Brit living in Brooklyn, New York and I've seen a number of over critical comments about the US media coverage of the World Cup on the BBC and Guardian sites. It's true that there have been some minor factual errors from the US commentators but should that be reason to lambast these people? The US is not a seasoned audience for the World Cup in the same way that most of the UK audience doesn't routinely understand the nuances of World Series Baseball. If some of the people who write into these blogs harbour resentments about the US for whatever reason, I'd hope they could just keep them to themselves - not use the World Cup to vent them. Football is bigger than petty and negative personal opinions.

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Quick question - what was that montage about at the end? It was the worst BBC Sport montage I have seen in years - you manage to do such good ones at the Olympics and at previous tournaments, but that was poor. It lacked passion or real moments of the tournament. It lacked humour. It was (as something I've looked forward to) very dissapointing.

Also, where's Gary's joke writer gone? His terrible end-of-programme puns were a jem ... and now they have gone.

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  • 16.
  • At 11:35 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

I haf France and Italy in the Sweepstake!

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  • 17.
  • At 11:46 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

Paul

John Helm and Gary Stevens are commentating on the world feed provided by HBS. (Why the heck am I telling you this - shouldn't you know more about this than me?) Anyway, bet you're sorry you didn't know now - would have given you a golden opportunity to have a pop at HBS again. Ah well, now it's all over maybe we can even be nice about HBS.

By the way, well done on the blog.

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  • 18.
  • At 11:48 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Patricia wrote:

Dear Paul Armstrong,

Half-way through this article you wrote:

"We entered into the party spirit by choosing not to analyse Ronaldo's preposterous dive just before half-time."

Apparently you were saving it for this blog... You just can't help yourself, can you?

I am amazed you failed to mention Nuno Gomes' dive too, as he was clearly not touched by any German player and still had the nerve to touch the ball and score!

Keep up the good work!

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  • 19.
  • At 12:02 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Rob Long wrote:

Given that it doesn't look like Martin O'Neill's going to be in full-time employment next season, is there any chance he might join the MOTD team on a regular basis in 2006/07?

Oh, and no disrespect, as Mark Lawrenson would say, to Manish Bhasin, but I'd love to see Adrian Chiles take over Football Focus next season.

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  • 20.
  • At 12:14 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • KH wrote:

Italy win the competition, but football was the loser.
Where did fairplay and sporting conduct go?
Pay expenses to the players, representing their nation should be enough to motivate the individuals.

End of rant.....

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  • 21.
  • At 12:14 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • KH wrote:

But Germany did host a wonderful Championship.

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  • 22.
  • At 12:27 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Kevin Morgan wrote:

Congratulations to Italy!
Just for a moment imagine the scandal gripping Italian domestic football right now occured in England. The pressure to bring the team home would have been massive. The English press continues to accentuate the negative in our game. They bare a huge responsibility for England's failure. Compare this hypothetical situation with the actuality in the Italian press. They were unanimous in their support for the national team. The weight placed on the collective shoulders of the England team & management is palpable. England will never acheive world success whilst we have these ne'er-do-wells scribing their negative & damaging diatribe.
They think they are bigger than the game. Finally how many of these "learned" hacks have played or managed the game at the very highest level? Get behind our team. Be positive & objective. Bring on South Africa!!

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  • 23.
  • At 12:27 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • MattB wrote:

Yes germany has hosted a fantastic carnival of football, the real winner has been the hosts in my view. I was in Gelsenkirchen last week, and after the predictable shoot out defeat, one thing stood out for me and that was the friendliness of the german locals who would stop and shake hands and have a chat(despite the language barrier). OK the football has not been fantastic all the way through, but my experience of the german people will stick in my mind for a long time

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  • 24.
  • At 12:37 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • belfegore wrote:

I would like to thank Paul for putting his neck on the line and giving us his insight from inside the beep, even thou' I did not always agreed with him. Truth be told I was glad to get back to Britain after following the WC on German Television, and apart from football legend Guenther Netzer (who beats any pundit in Britain for deadpan delivery) there was nothing even slightly comparable to the BBC coverage here.

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  • 25.
  • At 12:40 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Dan Smith wrote:

If the Wimbledon final had overrun, what would have happened?

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  • 26.
  • At 12:42 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Colin McGlone wrote:

Well done the BBC, your coverage of the World Cup has been as good as I'd expected, in other words, superb. Now make the job complete, give us back our teamboards on 606, the current situation is a joke.

I first discovered the teamboards at the begining of 2005. As a Liverpool fan this was an enormous boost, suddenly I could talk to other people who felt the same as me. The day of the European Cup Final,I have to admit, this site was a great comfort to me, chatting to fellow fans, indulging in ours dreams of victory which, ultimately, came true!
The only excuse you have put forward is that you lack funding. Bullshit. Give us back our teamboards. We pay your wages. We deserve this, you cannot simply ignore us. Do this and I will love you as I did before.
C.

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  • 27.
  • At 12:43 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Derek O'Neil wrote:

I live in Halifax Nova Scotia and have just watched the World Cup Final game in the company of a large group of people, most of whom supported Italy. However, the big question we were all left with is why did Zinedene resort to that horrific head butt. Havent seen anything in the media yet to explain his actions.

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  • 28.
  • At 12:43 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Marius wrote:

Congrats to Italy! But what a joke of a final IMO. Zidane gets stupid once more... just hope there will be no amnesty in Italy...

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  • 29.
  • At 12:46 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Jackie Pike wrote:

In the United States, the pundits also increased the hype by stating how amazing American players are "only because they play in Europe." So what?!

These are silly excuses to compensate for the flaws. No team is ideal, but in England's case, a big part of the problem lied in the insistence on playing David Beckham.

What has he done for Real Madrid? Ever since he arrived there I only hear about his injuries or his absences during training.

Is this really a person you want in your team, leading your nation?

During the World Cup, I could see Beckham's face dreading to be taken out because of one injury or another, Letting his country down. He never should have been selected in the first place. His deficiencies cost them plenty, everyone else had to play out of position just to cover for him.

Football is not about scoring goals, entirely. Individual performance in combination with great team effort is needed. And just to want to play "one last World Cup" results in an embarrassment for the rest of the team and a whole nation that bragged about how easy this World Cup would be with the "Golden Generation."

England is full of talented players and the FA is to blame for leaving in charge this clueless manager whose major problems started with team selection. A sign of this problem was during friendlies, when he just couldn't get a single team to gel, going as far as making 11 substitutions, to the enragement of every sensible Prem manager, whose players could be injured for playing for only ten minutes.

Asking to be left out and watching the wonderful 11 get the World Cup for a country he supposedly loves would have been more honourable. Like Zidane, Beckham leaves his mark in History with a sour note. People will remember him for throwing up on the side of the pitch, not for scoring from a free kick.

The best players in the squad showed very weak character too. They are professionals and they should have stood up when the time was right.

Let this be a lesson for everyone and stand up for what you believe in. If the FA keep running things out of control, you have the power to demand their resignations.

It is time for this country to mature a little.

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  • 30.
  • At 01:04 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • georgm wrote:

Congrats, Italy! You've truely deserved your victory. Have a good week partying! ;-)

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  • 31.
  • At 01:06 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Nadeem wrote:

Great coverage by the BBC, online, on radio and on TV.

Was wondering if anybody knows where I can find the excerpt from Goethe on the BBC's closing titles?

I'm gutted: my favourite player in the world humiliates himself infront of the whole planet.

Zizou forever :(

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  • 32.
  • At 01:14 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • bobbylebonfire wrote:

22 tex..I've checked you out over the last few days..never anything constructive to say, never reveal your agenda, and you most definately have one. Sorry for a personal challenge but some bloggers here need unmasking. Would you prefer to live in a world with or without the bbc? Which you so love to attack? It's really a very simple question and you ahve to ask yourself some searching questions or stop blogging here, for personal integrity. So many of us have xchanged views, had a laugh, yet for you and a few others, its just aplatform for an assault. At least tell us where you're from!

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  • 33.
  • At 01:27 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • fromPortugalwithpleasure wrote:

This is to all the English and French fans that got united against Portugal - because of the supposed portuguese divings (yes, we were crucified, although everybody does it), and the shameful had-butt of Figo against Holland, and so on. You all got united also for France, which of course had the best players, and had Zidane, a god beyond every suspect, a great man, good player and so on. French coach has been rude to Scolari and was really busy pointing every portuguese "diving" during semi-finals.

BUT... the TRUTH is that the portuguese team arrived on a sunny sunday in glory to Lisbon. Ten thousand people were waiting for them, very proud of a fourth place in a WC designed to be won by big and powerful countries. They must be happy with what they have done, and with the results, and with the love that was waiting for them at home. They said that they still owe one Cup to the portuguese, nad the people responded with a great applause, meaning: "doesn't matter guys, you were great, and we are proud of you." Figo left the national team in glory, people screamed his name, in tears, and were greating him for all he has done.

Moreover, the wives of our players behaved very decently in Germany: they were there providing support and tenderness to their partners, aware of the responsability they had on their shoulders, and not getting drunk and calling their husbands at 4 am or spending huge ammounts of money in fashion.

Portuguese are still going to England on vacation. In spite of the bad and ugly BBC campaign against Cristiano Ronaldo.

That's it! History is made! So long...

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  • 34.
  • At 01:28 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • mike wrote:

Paul -- you still don't get it -- or more likely refuse to get it.

No one reproaches the BBC for supporting England. They should. It's the hate campaign to incite a lynch-mob against Portugal, throwing away all objectivity and fairness, that's the issue. There's C. Ronaldo's house vandalised, Portuguese people in England reporting stories of having to keep theirs kids off from school, etc. Don't you think it might have something to do with, say, Shearer essentially appealing for violence and the rest of you biased and hateful campaign, including creative editing to distort several incidents?

The statistics saw the same thing that unbiased eyes saw (and the Spanish, Italian and Latin American press saw) -- Portugal dives but no more than several other countries:

https://www.informationbuilders.co.uk/ontheball/wcuk.htm

You chose to ignore Joe Cole winning a free-kick at the edge of the box -- the only consequential dive (i.e. that altered the game) during Portugal-England. In the Portugal-England game I counted quite a few dives by Crouch and Cole.

You chose to ignore Hargreaves getting a yellow-card for harassing the ref for a non-existent pen ('great fighting spirit' it was called) -- but are still running a vile campaign against C. Ronaldo for a much shorter protest (and a legitimate one -- shouldn't he stand up for his team-mates just because he plays for ManU? Plus he showed great character in playing a superb game under constant booing by the lynch-mob you produced).

You also chose to ignore Zidane and Henry's repeated dives in both the games against Portugal and Italy (Zidane got a verbal warning for it from the ref, which you neglected to mention). I counted marginally more dives by France than by Portugal in Portugal-France (the French are just much better at it), and I counted easily far more dives by the Germans in Germany-Portugal.

You chose to make a fuss about the bench protesting after Miguel's serious knee-ligament injury -- when every bench in every game has done similar things in situations where they don't have a clear view of the play.

Today you ignored Domenech kicking a water bottle into the pitch in the middle of play, but vilified Scolari for a similar incident in the France-Portugal game. You haven't mentioned, as far as I've seen, the extremelly serious allegations about Domenech's behavior in the tunnel after the game with Portugal.

The examples run on and on and on. They're easy to find because the statistics are not there by accident. You really threw all objectivity out the window in your vicious and biggoted hate campaing.

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  • 35.
  • At 01:34 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • mike wrote:

bobbylebonfire (#36) -- answering your challenge: dual UK/Portugal national, residing in NY (but travelling a lot, got to see coverage on both sides of the pond). And it is because I care so much about the BBC that I am so gutted by their abject behavior in this.

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  • 36.
  • At 01:44 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • bobbylebonfire wrote:

And, now i really blow it. Wasn't there something splendid about zizou's retaliation? Let's forget about false PC shock horror, but look at a fiery player who reacted in his own way to ..what was said? I'd love to know what he said to get that reaction. I know i'm gong to get shot down in flames for this, but here there's a young Rooney and a much older , experienced player playing his LAST game and they basically do the same thing! Why? Serious questions need to be asked about ourselves because these things captivate us and form subjects to argue about down the pub. Call mne atavistic if you like but i think that was as good a way as any to take a final bow to the modern game.

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  • 37.
  • At 01:54 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

Celebrate the day

A great WC is over and now the frustration of everyday life comes back to Germany - but the last four weeks will be kept in mind as a fantastic time here in Germany. A great summer. I am sooo sad that it's over ...

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  • 38.
  • At 01:55 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • mrbooks wrote:

Not that any of it matters now that England are out some might say, but surely the greatest sporting event on earth cannot be decided by a penalty shoot out. The quarter finals and semis maybe but not the final. There are lots of options which are far better but the organisers just cannot resist the final cheap thrill of this circus side show, which has nothing to do with football. A better way might be to calculate goal difference in the tournament, thereby putting a greater importance on scoring goals throughout the whole competition. Or just total goals scored, or even more complicated stats taking account of all fouls, red and yellow cards, goals, shots on target, percentage posession etc. All of which would encourage more positive play. The teams going into the final would therefore have to be aware of these stats and play with them in mind; too often teams seem too scared to lose and hold on for the 50/50 chance in the shoot out. It has to end at least for the final, and so does the farce of diving and too many yellow cards being banded around and for that matter cliches such as "The Italian Job is done" saved up by the ITV commentator for the moment Italy won with a penalty, but those issues are for another time. Rant over....

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  • 39.
  • At 02:03 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • bobbylebonfire wrote:

mike, obviously split loyalties here..i know it also as i'm s.african/english. But the basic question remains, we're better off with the bbc than without? they at least provide us with a space to debate these issues, and theres not much of that about these days. You may not appreciate certain aspects of the corporation, but theres one thing I'm certain of, it couldn't happen in portugal on the RTP without a scandal.This is a rare thing in this world. Funnily enough i have more sympathy with the scots on this (there, i've said it!) because i think they need their own MOTD so that they can stop moaning about bbc's coverage of the EPL and concentrate on their own tiny league up north! Go Partick Thistle!

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  • 40.
  • At 02:06 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • bobbylebonfire wrote:

Mr Brooks, serves you right for watching ITV!

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  • 41.
  • At 02:30 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • leo wrote:

Why is it that when the english or the french dive...(thierry henry, joe cole, etc) or headbut and pull hair (zidane, crouch) no one in the english media reacts in the same way as when ronaldo dives or figo headbuts??

Fairplay? Team spirit?? Where were Carvalho's Chelsea teammates when he was rolling in pain on the field after Rooney's balancing act on Carvalho's groin?

You got a point:

Maybe the portuguese are bad at diving and cheating (hell, we cant even protest to the referee when we are hurt!)...while the others are so good that most people, including the referees, couldnt see!

Yes, it's hard to lose with portugal..a country that has only made it to the world cup four times! But a third place in 66 and a fourth place in 2006 is more than most countries have done!

Congratulations Portugal! Congratulations Angola!

Sour grapes, prejudice and arrogance...wont go anywhere!

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  • 42.
  • At 02:42 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • bobbylebonfire wrote:

leo, i think you'll find that the english press will play the 'terrible end to a brilliant career'and find zizou's actions reprehensible, blah blah. i'n not an english journalist, not even english tho my kids are. i suspect you are playing the 'poor little portugal, don't pick on us you big overrated bullies' card. It's all over, i just pointed out that it was an extravagant way to go out, and we will remember it! Nothing at all to do with portugal...chill.

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  • 43.
  • At 02:42 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Saladin wrote:

I've been reading these blogs throughout the last month or so and I don't comment normally. However, I feel I must contribute the following at the end of it all:

First of all, the BBC coverage, despite one or two flaws, has been infinitely superior to its ITV counterpart. This is good news because we pay for it directly.

However it's not an astonishing feat, as ITV is basically: 'The Sun' on telly - We Love It! But hey, as your pundits are often fond of spouting: 'You can only beat what's put in front of you'.

In general, the BBC have done a good job of televising the World Cup in a technical sense: the montages, studio editing etc. have been very effective. The music, though unimaginative at times (no more Sigur Ros please!), has also been well-chosen to suit the images it has accompanied.

I think that Gary Lineker has become, after many years of practice, a solid anchor. Hansen has always been worth his spot and Martin O'Neill has once again been excellent. Why? Simply because he has been a refreshing, anti-soundbite pundit. He doesn't just serve up the tedious platitudes of the rest of 'the lads.'

Leonardo and Desailly have been pretty good value and given an interesting counterpoint to some of the annoying Little Englishers that blight the studio:

Ian Wright, for example, has been a constant irritation and should be exiled to the 'Jingo UK' channel. 'I love them little people - they kill me man!' God help us. If you want a fan's opinon, get a genuine fan. Alan Shearer should also go back to his creosoting. Sorry Alan but - great footballer, rubbish pundit.

I refuse to believe that there aren't other candidates to provide more intelligent and incisive comments on football than these two.

The commentary on the high profile live matches has also been of a poor standard. Motty, much as I feel awful saying it (I used to idolise the man), is past it. Please promote some of your junior commentators (not Jonathan 'pointless trivia' Pearce though for mercy's sake).

The co-commentators have also been pretty terrible. There are two choices:

1. Don't have them - let the football do the talking and get the audience used to more open crowd noise.

or...

2. Get someone who will say something genuinely interesting. Would it be too much of a risk to get someone slightly idiosyncratic for a change, rather than the usual bores?

I don't want to be totally negative - much of what has been achieved by the BBC over the last month has been of a very high standard.

But what do you prefer - Public Service Broadcasting or Tabloid TV? I know which one I want the BBC to provide - ITV already does the other...

So as The Streets said a few years ago: 'Let's Push Things Forward.'

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  • 44.
  • At 03:40 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Mark McCoy wrote:

England always have been & will continue to be, Mediocre, at best.
Many of us Celts know the reason(s)why, but you've No chance of us ever letting on!

The Beebs coverage was fairly good, but too many dopey pundits & fatuous reporters spoilt this. Here's to an improvement for 2010?

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  • 45.
  • At 04:09 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • zberetz wrote:

Oh well, we portuguese got sick of seeing our players wasting chances diving. BUT, before you tag us all as cheats from your morally superior pedestal, do your homework, will you?

Source: https://www.asseptic.org/433/
"One of the rules of the 1966 World Cup was that in the knockout stages, the team with the best results from the group stage wouldn't have to change stadium against a team with a poorer group stage performance. The England officials decided to chuck this rule out the window for the semi-final between Portugal and England. Portugal had three wins and 6 points from its group phase, while England had two wins and a 0-0 draw against Uruguay, thus giving them five points. Upon learning that the english had ignored the existing regulations, the portuguese squad had to make a gruelling train journey from Liverpool to London a day before the game, not giving them enough time to prepare properly."

Truth hurts, doesn't it?

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  • 46.
  • At 05:17 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • wolf wrote:

To come to the BBC's defence against all those who have been criticising it, I'd personally like to thank all involved for a month of superb in-depth coverage. The new features such as the blogs certainly have added to the all-round experience and have been very entertaining, and being able to watch live sport on the internet is a wonderful idea.

I think the BBC has struck the right balance between neutrality and supporting England, as it has not been too jingo-istic but at the same time the British pundits have expresssed their opinions which are surely similar to the majority of people watching. The BBC is after all funded by the licence fees of people from the United Kingdom (85% of whom are English) and so I think they should definitely pander primarily to those who fund them and then secondly to the wider world, providing what is effectively a free service. After all, I very much doubt how neutral the people on Portuguese television were.

For those wanting a non-English point of view, Marcel Desailly and Leonardo both gave interesting, eloquent views and added to the sense of an international event with their presence, whie obviously Hansen is Scottish and O'Neill is from Northern Ireland

Lineker seems to be completely comfortable in his role and he was entertaining as usual, and Adrian Chiles and Ray Stubbs were also very watchable.

Hansen is in my humble opinion the best pundit around on any channel and he was again superb, while Martin O'Neill had some very interesting things to say as well.

I don't think Lee Dixon was quite in the same league as any of those I've already mentioned, but he was OK. While Shearer still isn't the most interesting pundit and Ian Wright was occasionally fairly stupid, I think Shearer is now far better than when he first appeared on MOTD and Wrighty is the funniest pundit.

In terms of commentary, I have always liked Motty's style and I think it was an inspired choice to partner him with Lawrenson as they make a great duo. The other commentators were all fairly good except for Jonathan Pearce, who I think always tries to over-exaggerate foreign pronounciations to an unintentionally comic extent and whose voice was well suited to Robot Wars but not, I think, football. It would be great if you could involve Alan Green in MOTD commentary as I always enjoy his work on Five Live and Jonathan Pearce currently seems to be thought able to do both.

Overall, I think the BBC coverage for this World Cup has been the best I've seen, so thankyou!

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  • 47.
  • At 08:48 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Andy Marczak wrote:

I thought the end of show montage was the most pointless piece of TV I have ever seen. To quote Red Dwarf "I consider it an insult to my backside which was forced to sit here growing carbuncles".

It's not necessary. At least, if you're going to do a montage, make it uplifting, not as though someone just died.

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  • 48.
  • At 09:56 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Wess wrote:

Despite the lack of goals in the knockouts stages, it has been a fine World Cup again....except for the Portuguese.

Oh dear. What a terrible advert for the game. I've never been so embarrassed by a national side in my life. The level of cheating has been taken to new heights by this poor, pathetic excuse for a squad.

In the first 30 minutes against France I could see a palpable difference. They were obviously on a charm offensive (by their own standards) because even Ronaldo was bouncing back up onto his feet after being 'fouled'. But oh dear. When the goal went in, they quickly reverted to form; and then some.

Disgusting. There's no other word for it. And yes, I know other countries have divers and cheats on board, but not at the level Portugal has. It's not in the same league.

Beckenbauer wants FIFA to sit down and decide how to stamp out cheating. It's a pity that Portugal have been so shameful that this is the major discussion point to come out of the World Cup. Instead of marvelling at some world class players, we are having to decide how best to cut out cheating.


And what's even sadder is the fact that Portugal received a hero's welcome upon arrival back home! Are the Portuguese so blind? Are they so patriotic that they are willing to ignore all the play-acting, diving, scheming and histrionics in order to celebrate??

I'd be ashamed. Thoroughly ashamed. My countrymen would not have received such a welcome from me.

To play badly and lose in the group stages is infinitely more honourable than to cheat and go out in the semis.

Portugal - you are a disgrace.

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  • 49.
  • At 10:23 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • UJB wrote:

@Wess
Oh dear ...I should say so !.... another bit of pathetic blind racist bigotry. A Fine world cup.? What competition were you watching? and on a day when four Italian times might go down for cheating...FOUR TEAMS! and the great Zidane's fair play last night is ok of course.
Wake up and look around.

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  • 50.
  • At 10:26 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Sam Lowry wrote:

I'm going a little off-topic and i'm sure this won't get through, but anyway! :D

This is not done to annoy the BBC or anything, but there is a horrific lack of energy and enthusiasm for my money in their TV coverage. Lineker is very dour and monotone (i'm from leicester too!), and generally there is a horrible sense of negativity in the studio every time.

And goodness me you are going to miss Motty when he's gone! Jonathon Pearce and the other guy (can't remember his name for the life of me), where's the thought in their commentary? And Mark Bright... don't make me laugh!

ITV's coverage seems to have an extra edge, a buzz that the beeb's just doesn't have. They can make what essentially is a boring meaningless match more appealing to the viewer, while the BBC pundits just complain about what they've got in front of them from moment one. Clyde Tyldesley especially puts all BBC commentators to shame, what a man!

rant over lol

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  • 51.
  • At 10:28 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Affers wrote:

Martin O'Neill ticks all of Niall Quinns boxes and will be unveiled as Sunderland manager on Tuesday 11th July.

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  • 52.
  • At 10:30 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Malcolm wrote:

My wife backed Germany for the World Cup. My son backed France. I backed Italy. It would seem my family were better than all the BBC pundits put together.

I don't believe the Anglocentric BBC will learn any lessons from this World Cup because they haven't learnt any lessons from past football finals. The viewer will still be subject to the hype, the crass jingoism and the xenophobic reaction when England crash out in EURO 2008 and the World Cup 2010. However I do believe in future such poor broadcasting will be for English eyes only. No one outside English borders will put up with such Little Englander mentalities anymore.

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  • 53.
  • At 10:51 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • TonyD wrote:

Nobody know's anything?

Well, let's see...what do I know...

I know that the BBC, even at it's most average, does pretty much anything better than ITV.

I know that as far as pundits go Alan Hansen is very knowledgeable but he repeats himself endlessly (getting really dull, Al!), Alan Shearer should retire from EVERYTHING (especially punditry) and that Martin O'Neil is a star...I also know he should be England's manager.

I know Sepp Blatter is insane and that FIFA are so far up themselves that the bulges in their throats aren't adam's apples...it's their own noses...way to try and ruin a world cup guys!

I know that unless you let English players play the way they like to play...that is with the reckless abandon of 8 year olds in a playground...they can't function.

I know the FA are a bunch of useless non-entities who should stick to what they do best, return to Soho Square to shuffle papers and have affairs with their secretaries and keep their noses out of how the England team is run and how it plays.

I know that when other countries support their teams and make iffy comments about other countries it's called patriotism...when we English do it somehow it becomes racism...the ethnic cleansing of my nation contiues apace.

I know this was a good World Cup not a great one.

I know that in 4 years time I'll be glued to my TV watching, and suffering, with every minute England play...until we lose the inevitable penalty shoot out...McClaren please prove me wrong.

I also know that football is in serious danger of becoming a joke with all the diving, theatics, tantrums, hype, PR, politics etc. and that FIFA have no clue what to do about it (see above)

Wow, seems like I don't know much after all...my head hurts...I'm going to lie down...

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  • 54.
  • At 11:02 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Paulo wrote:

A fine WC except for the portuguese?
That is a laugh !!!
Sure Ronaldo dived and I don't like. No one does. But I believe that the violent tackles from dutch players, the kick from Rooney or the head butting from Zinade are much more disgracefull.
This reaction coming from England is a surprise. I thought (naive of me) that you knew how to handle defeat (even 3 times in a row). Unfortunately you seem to have lost it somewhere along your "let's become 2md rate americans" process.
I have to say it is England that is becoming a disgrace.
(as a result I doubt this post will appear - I guess freedom of speech is always one the first victims of the sort of disgrace you english are becoming).

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  • 55.
  • At 12:11 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Paulo wrote:

I can see that the house rules don't apply when it comes to insult Portugal.
We going the right way...
I never thought of considerering BBC as racist but the facts speak for themselves.
Shame on you.

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  • 56.
  • At 12:13 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Tex wrote:

A hugely enjoyable world cup on all fronts (including this blog!). Some fantastic goals, some superb games, and drama galore.

Full marks to the BBC also for getting it out in HD format which made it even better to watch. Sure a couple of the pundits / editors (post-England demise) were awful, but their awfulness was widely noted and certainly brought this blog to life!

Away go the flags for another 2 years. Roll on 2008 I say!

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  • 57.
  • At 12:58 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Sam wrote:

By far the best aspect of the BBC's coverage - Adrian Chiles.

Down to earth, genuinely witty, and a refreshing change from the norm.

Next time, promote him from the highlights please!

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  • 58.
  • At 01:29 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • UJB wrote:

Yo! What a great WC that was and now Zidane's got the Golden Ball. A fitting end to a theatrical charade. Hardly a game that had me even near the edge of the seat, and the most enjoyable bit was this and other blogs full of bad losers.
Q How do you make a Portuguese laugh?
A Show him the average English opinion on these pages. Considered, intelligent, unbiassed,.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
And I'm English I'm sorry to say. Shameful behaviour at every turn, but especially the spleen and vitriol aimed at the Portuguese, as if every every one else is all innocent and honourable. People in grass houses shouldn't store thrones...or something

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  • 59.
  • At 01:31 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Adrian wrote:

I saw Martin O'Neill describe the 3rd place game as "the single most pointless game in the history of football". Now that may be true, but in that case why was he on the pundit panel for the game? Didn't he mention that this was his opinion beforehand? I would have gladly done the job for him to save him from having to suffer it.

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  • 60.
  • At 02:14 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Chris Twaddle wrote:

I just wanted to add my voice to those in praise of Martin O'Neill - what a star. Absolutely compelling to watch because:

1) you have no idea what he's going to say next

2) his fellow pundits have no idea what he is going to say next - and are pretty petrified they are not going to understand it when he does say it (i.e. he reads books once in a while)

3) when he does say what he says it is normally a lot more interesting than what anyone else has to say - exactly because he thinks about the game, to paraphrase what someone else wrote - outside the prism of pure football

Let's hope the fella gets himself a good job soon so he can lighten up the mood of the self-obsessed Premiership.

Another point though to the BBC, which is that as much as Motty is a national treasure, please pension him off. It was embarrassing to hear him and Lawrenson endlessly pronounce 'Pirlo' as 'Purlo' through the game - these guys are meant to be experts, but anyone with even a passing acquaintance of top European football should know that. Also, the BBC should have corrected them, since O'Neill and others were pronouncing it correctly and Motty had made the same mistake in the Italy-Ghana game weeks ago).

And it's not as if you haven't got better commentators - Steve Wilson is excellent, as is Jonathan Pearce. For a start they bother with doing research into interesting stuff, unlike the achingly boring statistical anomalies referring back into the Dark Ages that Motty keeps on bringing up.

A last thing is that it's great to have these blogs - it really heightens the debate and I'm sure keeps writers and others on their toes. It has also shown off the amazing amount of nationalisitic misunderstanding going about the place, so the moderate, balanced and humourous blogs written here themselves get castigated as vehement nationalism (a perfect example of how judging things can say a whole lot more about the judge than the judged). The Portuguese need to lighten up a bit, admit Ronaldo isn't a saint and stop being so defensive. God knows us English have taken more abuse over the years (often quote rightly) than most nations put together, but at least most of us can take it in good heart and have a luch about it.

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  • 61.
  • At 02:23 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • MRamos wrote:

Dear Wess,
I do honestly hope that one day you might be able to see properly and then... learn about the game!
Before that, please keep your comments to yourself, it only make you look stoopid!

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  • 62.
  • At 03:34 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • John Maclean wrote:

I do wish you English lads would get off the Portuguese backs. As Mystic Wrighty said in an England friendly pre world cup (and after an outrageous dive from Gerrard to win a penalty) "its ok because plenty of teams will do that to us". So is it such a surprise that players dive? You can really only genuinely point the finger at Ronaldo when the English game is squeaky clean and I am afraid we can all remember when diving was ok because it was good for England (Lineker v Cameroon - twice, Owen v Argentina to name but two) - indeed I think these swallow dives were described as "winning a penalty". I know for sure when I hear that said, its a horrible dive.
Time really to get the spotlight shone on these pansies, so lets start with next season in the Premiership. Can't Match of the Day have a regular feature called "divewatch" or suchlike. I think if the problem is highlighted week in week out, and if the guilty parties are shown the evidence of their "gamesmanship", then perhaps they might be shamed into playing the game in the correct spirit. And by that I mean showing Mourinho or Wenger(I pick them because they appear to suffer from myopia or plain forgetfulness when Pires, Henry, Drogba, Cole, Robben et al lose control of their legs) ON CAMERA the offensive dive and then asking them if, in their opinion, it was fair play. These guys get paid millions, then get a completely easy ride in interviews. Want to take something positive from the Portugal game - then do this and feel smug as the only league in the world to shame the divers.
Mind you, what chance do we have when the pundits on MoTD last night failed to spot an outrageous French dive to win a penalty that could have won the match. To a man they all saw that as a penalty. You will be telling me next that Didier Drogba always stays on his feet!
So leave the Portugal team and nation alone. If they are happy with the world laughing at their team falling and screaming for no reason, so be it. Nothing the BBC, pundits or the English nation says or whines will ever change that attitude.
As for FIFA, I do laugh at the giant banner at the start of every game encouraging fair play. What a piece of nonsense. Anyone see that Panorama programme? These people couldn't clean up their own kitchen floor never mind football.
And finally, Adrian Chiles is the only pundit/front man I will listen to on the BBC. He genuinely appears to be a combination of supporter and sensible commentator. Get him on tv more!

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  • 63.
  • At 03:43 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Golly wrote:

Martin O'Neill really has been the start of the tournament. He always has something interesting (or bizarre) to say and isn't afraid of putting a heartfelt opinion into the mix.

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  • 64.
  • At 04:01 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Jon wrote:

Absolutely agree with post no. 60

How is it that as soon as someone mentions portugal in any negative light (i.e they were the worse side against france) then its all of a sudden racism?

I thought that the world may have moved past this PC Nationalistic crap. What happened, happened, learn from it, get over it and stop talking about it.

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  • 65.
  • At 04:13 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Ashley wrote:

Being an expat living in the Cayman Islands, we had the choice of ESPN or FIFA coverage with British Commentators.
Folks in the UK, be glad you didn't have the American coverage - it was truly appalling. Everything is in American Speak: No extra time, its 'overtime', no goalkeeper, its 'goal tender' and they just can't understand why the final ended on penalties - shouldn't it be a 7 game 'World Series' (at least that would keep the TV pundits in work).
As for the British Commentators, not bad but what a howler when one commentator remarked that an Iranian players had displayed his 'Christian' name on his shirt. So, not much intelligence there then!

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  • 66.
  • At 04:40 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

Some final thoughts about the Beeb world cup coverage.

I agree with posts #57 & 60, that Adrian Chiles and Martin O'Neill were the two best pundits during this world cup!

I hope to see more from these two on the Beeb in future tournaments.

The BBC website coverage was great as always, and these blogs have been a good read!

Now the bad points!

Motson, Lawrenson, Shearer and Wright will hopefully all be binned by the BBC now after this tournament, as their input has been a major turn-off for me, and the main reason I turned over to watch a lot of the matches on the other channel!
If I never hear from/of Motson and Lawrenson again then that would be a major boost to the BBC's coverage In my opinion!

Out with the old, and Welcome Chiles and O'Neil!

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  • 67.
  • At 05:27 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • A.Simpson wrote:

Both Germany and the BBC have enjoyed great success, our grateful thanks for a wonderfgul world cup, we appreciate the unbelievable amount of work that must have gone into both organisations. A month of superb coverage as No: 21 says.

I agree with No:19 that Manish Bhasih should be placed behind the scenes and that Adrian Chiles would be a better front man, but don't forget Celina Hinchcliffe who has done excellent work there too under what looked like awkward conditions - they could share the spot on alternate Saturdays, and we would be the winners.

Please don't let Motty go. I know he irritates many people but he brings so much raw enthusiasm to the task and he and Mark Lawrence seem very comfortable with each other which is important for the viewer too. (I remember seeing Graeme Le Saux, Lawrenson and Lee Dixon in the studio on one occasion and you could have cut the tension with a knife. Someone complained about Lee Dixon, but I think he is just quieter and more modest. Agree that Hansen is probably the best (after O'Neill) but you first have to fight your way through that broad Scots accent.

But seriously, all your presenters, commentators, and pundits have been outstanding. I am sure we have forgotten to mention some by name, for instance Damien Johnson who has a good strong voice and articulates well (precisely what is needed). Incidentally whose idea was it to let Gary Linneker talk and walk yesterday and then play that awful (was it music or was it just wind in
the mike?)noise over the dialogue. His voice is not strong enough to cope with that kind of thing.

I am furious that England were knocked out so early because I longed to see an England/Germany final. Where is all this character that so many of our players mention when they've had a good game? And I felt very ashamed of the Wags, I have been telling everbody that none of them are English!. How stupid to have let them anywhere near Germany.

Finally, I hesitate to admit that I agree with No:36 bobbylebonfire and think Zouzou's retaliation was splendid. I know, I know, that says more about me than about him.


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  • 68.
  • At 05:30 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • rup wrote:

well done bbc. great coverage in genaral with amusing commentary. Good to see that the bbc is not scared to report what they see rather than hiding behind the "we better not say that or Fifa will get upset" situiation. The only problem is that this will lead to a multitude of cries of nationalism if it is at all directed at defending england. Unfortunately these cries usually come from people who are scared to stick up for there country through fear of what people might think of them.

I can honestly say that i tried not to watch the games broadcast by ITV.

Oh and congrats to Italy, i think they deserved to win the tournament in the end.

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  • 69.
  • At 05:38 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • A.Simpson wrote:

And there's another thing!

I am not sure that I'm right (would need to see all the penalties again)but I have a hunch that the successful penalty takers struck the ball as their full weight was over the ball, while the missers tended to lean back at the moment of impact.

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  • 70.
  • At 12:38 AM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • tony bee wrote:

zberetz @45 believes (or wants to believe) that the semi-final venues of the '66 World Cup were switched 24 hours before the game to the disadvantage of that wonderful Portugal side. The great Eusebio and friends would not thank you for such mindless nonsense. I guess the great conspiracy also included the groundsman preparing the pitch, the local security forces, the stadium administators, the ticket-buying public, the world"s media and the other semi-finalists. Zberetz, please, just think about it for a while. The semi-final venues were known before the group stages even started. Why do you want to believe stuff like that?

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  • 71.
  • At 01:19 AM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Me wrote:

First of all well done to Italy =D. But mainly I think its terrible the way Ronaldo and Portugal hav been treated. Ronaldo certainly doesn't deserve the boo'd he receiver and for some vandals to smash windows of his house.. It disgusts me! The commentators aren't much better and if anything encourage the booinh sayin he deserved it! He was playin for PORTUGAL NOT ENGLAND! So how anyone can say he was betraying his team mates at Manchester United totally baffles me! He is an amazing player and I think he handled the hostile atmosphere he receiver superbly! England should stop looking for someone to blame and look at what went wrong. They have no one to blame for Rooney's sending off bar Rooney and his short fuse and agressive behaviour!

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  • 72.
  • At 01:41 AM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

The blog is great and I for one also enjoyed Zidan's headbutt - sorry. He is only human and when the dust settles still a fantastic footballer.

I was also happy that Germany won the play-off, who would have wanted to spoil that party? Only wish I was there. An interesting point on party spirit though is Paul's statment on choosing to ignore the Ronaldo dive before half time. His omission of the German dive that earned Costinha a yellow card is questionable. Is it possible that Paul needs to justify his decision to make the broadcast of the semi-final into a spaghetti western with Portugal cast as the bad guy? The unfortunate thing is that with the mood of the country as it was it didn’t take much to create the impression that Portugal are in a ‘league of their own’ in cheating. We’ve read examples here where people have taken that message beyond the team to the Portuguese themselves which illustrates the bbc’s power and responsibility in reporting balanced views. The fact that Italy, the winners, dived more is lost on the majority. The bbc have therefore done fair play a disservice by allowing this curse on the games to hide behind only one of the worst offenders. Those that ask how the Portuguese public can welcome back their team may as well ask how Italians can do that. For the Portuguese it must be a little easier knowing they didn’t score any goals by cheating. Something England, Italy and France can’t say.

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  • 73.
  • At 02:40 AM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • James wrote:

I'm glad you are considering keeping this sort of blog going. I really feel it has opened up a useful means for us to give you (the BBC) feedback which we can see is received and reflected upon.

I am not English. I am glad that you seem to have grasped some inkling of non-English sensibilities within the UK. Enough said...

I was just disappointed that there were not more background pieces on life in Germany. Celina's city-guides were trite, cliched and too short. All you need to know about Leipzig in 30 seconds?! You even sent her off to Wroclaw (a fantastic city) for a ten second piece to camera?!

Whilst I cannot stand the man as a pundit, I enjoyed Ian Wright's reactions to that exhibition. But that was one of 170 museums and galleries in Berlin!.
It's a shame that in the run-up to the World Cup, you did not do a similar piece on the 'Rund Leder Welten' show. It was on at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin before Christmas, before going on tour round Germany. This was relevant (about football!), fun and accessible.
Martin O'Neil was so appreciated by your bloggers because the rest of your output was so dreadfully trite, uninspiring and intellectually bankrupt.
If you know Kirsty Warke, tell her to keep going with her travelogues on BBC4 - because I sense it's the only way I'm going to see anthing interesting on the BBC about anywhere east of Dover.
There was an excellent documentary on the Olympiastadion on Radio4 yesterday. Why could you not have shown something similar as part of your very-late-night coverage?
In fact, on reflection, there was sod all in your pre-tournament coverage on how Germany had geared up to host this tournament. Twelve new or refurbished stadia vs the new Wembley - compare and contrast! And nothing meaningful on Germany's sense of it's own identity since 1989 - to help explain all your pundits' current bland assertions about Germany discovering a new patriotism.
Just remember - Your audience are not all idiots, and most of us are not as stupid as your pundits. Some of us actually wince as we hear the English language mangled to a pulp.

I won't go on, much as I would like to...

Regards, James

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  • 74.
  • At 12:41 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

The closing sequence/montage was a brilliant piece of work, great images cut to superb music. Generally the coverage was excellent with some fantastic images broadcast however the punditry and commentary was not so good (but still miles ahead of ITV). Hansen is predictable, cliche ridden and states the 'obvious', O'Neil is unpredictable which could be an asset however, more often than not, he was incoherent and illogical. Shearer, Leanardo and Desailly were pretty good but the star was Adrian Chiles, witty, informed, intelligent and genuine-top man!

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  • 75.
  • At 01:54 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Unclejonboy wrote:

To no.70 and Zberetz...I really want to know....no biased hearsay,no slaggin and just the truth (believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see blah blah)BUT... There was a very erudite and source -quoted example of why what Zberts said about the switching of venues in '66, that appeared convincing, stats and all that... the reply was 'Hogwash' (can't find the messages now, maybe another blog,) and then, this little dissention...no.45 and 70...is it true or not? No opinions please, just facts.
And I hope its not due to editing censoring or moderators but we seem to be mellowing out a bit...mmmm much better..

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  • 76.
  • At 02:17 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Chosulman wrote:

Whilst the TV commentary may be worthwhile, I often wished I
could turn it off. With all this new Digital TV stuff why
can't pressing the Red Button bring up "No Commentary" option?

I solved my problem by watching BBC/ITV for the build-up,
half-time and post-match, but actual play by switching to
German TV. Same pictures, but easier to ignore the voiceover.

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  • 77.
  • At 02:24 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • Chosulman wrote:

Whilst the TV commentary may be worthwhile, I often wished I
could turn it off. With all this new Digital TV stuff why
can't pressing the Red Button bring up "No Commentary" option?

I solved my problem by watching BBC/ITV for the build-up,
half-time and post-match, but actual play by switching to
German TV. Same pictures, but easier to ignore the voiceover.

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  • 78.
  • At 01:57 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Toochay wrote:

Thank you Paul for refraining from making any unwarrented nationalistic remarks and not singling out Ronaldo with any of your now charcteristic biased, vile, xenophobic and unfair comments we got so used too, during this World Cup.

As you put it it's the sheer power of thos TV images and your qown keen sense of ojectivity, that surely represent and tell the truth.
Ronaldo dove after going past two defenders. This according to the images, corect me if I am wrong, was done whilst running and dribbling past 2 defenders, all very fast and running at at high speed. I might even mitigate (not justify this deplorable behaviour) that possibly he dove, or his momentum carried him over, so as to avoid and antecipate a hard knock or worse case an injury on himself when confronted with the 3rd defender.
But then I'm delusional thinking this beacuse he is firslty not English, oops sorry, he is obviously a cheating Portuguese. Shame on him!

But kudos to you - the images prove you have been right all along - he absloutely and irrefutively dove.

BTW - no comment on the handshake between the referee and Podolski after a foul was suspiciously awarded against Portugal?
Couldn't make up any conspiracy theories, no wink related stories, for this action?

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  • 79.
  • At 02:41 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Paul Armstrong wrote:

I'm back in BBC Television Centre today (Wednesday) and am amazed as ever to see the extraordinary, meandering conversation which has taken place following my last blog. Quite how what was intended to be a good-humoured glimpse behind the scenes has generated so much sound and fury from some quarters is beyond me, but a testament to the passions aroused by the World Cup and our coverage. I was saying as much to the Portuguese couple who live in my block of flats only this morning!

Toochay, whoever you are - by all means send in some contact details. I'm happy to have a chat with you rather than watch you send your unhappiness into the ether.

Hope most people enjoyed the tournament - a record 17 million people watched the BBC's covergae of the Final, so I hope most people enjoyed most of what we tried to do in Germany. Even as a programme editor, I didn't think everything we did, or everything said by every pundit was 100% perfect and feedback (as long as it doesn't generate into outright abuse) helps us scrutinise what we do.

Hope everyone has a good summer, and enjoys the very short period (three more days if you're a Newcastle fan) with no football.

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  • 80.
  • At 02:24 AM on 14 Jul 2006,
  • Nima wrote:

To Ashley (#65)

"As for the British Commentators, not bad but what a howler when one commentator remarked that an Iranian players had displayed his 'Christian' name on his shirt. So, not much intelligence there then!"

Actually, it wasn't that much of a howler, as the Iranian player they mentioned, Andranik Teymourian (who had shirt number Andranik T.) IS a Christian, and a pretty orthodox one at that.
Much as you might think otherwise, Iran has more than one religion!

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  • 81.
  • At 02:27 AM on 14 Jul 2006,
  • Nima wrote:

To Ashley,

"As for the British Commentators, not bad but what a howler when one commentator remarked that an Iranian players had displayed his 'Christian' name on his shirt. So, not much intelligence there then!"

Actually, this wasn't as much of a howler as you might have thought, as the Iranian player they mentioned (andranik teymourian, who had the shirt name Andranik T) IS a Christian, and a pretty Orthodox one at that!

Much as you might believe otherwise, Iran has a couple more religions than just one!:)

https://tehran.stanford.edu/Culture/rel.html

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