Tuesday, June 13, 2006

France v Switzerland, BBC1

Goal of the match: Well, the format I tried out yesterday is mocking me now, isn’t it? What I would have given for a goal…

Shot of the match: French substitute Vikash Dhorasoo’s fizzing drive just wide near the death.

Save of the match: Fabien Barthez from Swiss substitute Daniel Gygax’s point-blank header.

Pass of the match: Swiss left-back Ludovic Magnin’s whipped free-kick, which Alexander “Maradona” Frei tried to punch into the net despite the fact that he could have headed it and teammate Johan Djourou was right behind him too.

Miss of the match: That one was bad, but Frei should also have scored in the first half when he and Phillippe Senderos failed to get a touch as Tranquillo Barnetta’s free-kick hit the post with Barthez scrambling helplessly across his line.

Man of the match: Senderos – aside from one mistake in the first period, the Arsenal youngster was commanding and rock-solid.

He was playing?!: Homer Simpson lookalike Sylvain Wiltord was anonymous – as Martin O’Neill said, if he’s a better player than Ludovic Giuly then he’s a Frenchman (he’s not, by the way) – but Patrick Vieira was nowhere to be seen, and for someone who normally has such a huge presence, that must be very alarming for France.

The Thierry Henry Award For Choking In A Big Match: Thierry Henry.

The Brave Little Soldier Award: Philipp Degen, injured ten minutes from time but forced to play on because Switzerland had used all three subs.

Manager who most resembles John Lithgow: Kobi Kuhn.

Manager most likely to be named after a character from ‘Star Wars’: Kobi Kuhn.

Face in the crowd: Very few crowd shots – presumably because disgruntled French fans wouldn’t make for a good spectacle.

Stat attack: This was Switzerland’s first clean sheet in a World Cup match at their 23rd attempt. (Announcing that they hadn’t achieved a shut-out in the previous 22, Guy Mowbray added “… for those of you that believe stats mean anything”. A sly dig at colleagues Pearce and Motty there, Guy?

Minutes elapsed before Mowbray asked Mick McCarthy “Do you think the heat will be a factor?: 11.

Minutes elapsed before McCarthy made mention of neutrality in connection with the Swiss: 42.

The David Pleat Award For Idiosyncratic Pronunciation: O’Neill for repeatedly referring to “Terry Henry”. Those foreign names can be tricky, can’t they, Martin?

Player whose name Mowbray pronounced with the most relish: Pascal Zuberbuhler, Switzerland’s white-boot-wearing ‘keeper. Truth be told, many of their players have the sort of names that it’s a joy to say: Raphael Wicky, Tranquillo Barnetta, Daniel Gygax…

The Yeah But No But Award For Self-Contradiction: McCarthy, who claims that it’s healthy to have arguments and competitiveness within a squad (conveniently forgetting about Roy Keane there, are we?) and then five minutes later, commenting on the bench-warming David Trezeguet’s applause for the efforts of Henry and Frank Ribery, stresses the importance of togetherness.

Two Ronnies Moment: Mowbray: “What did Claudio Ranieri call him [Makalele]? ‘The battery for my watch’”. McCarthy: “He’s not big enough for some of the watches I’ve seen these days”.

McCarthy’s Insult Corner: On the referee: “He’s a wally”. On Frei, banned for three games after spitting at Steven Gerrard in Euro 2004: “Spit The Dog”.

Learning the lingo: Not so much a new term (unlike Leonardo’s “reference” yesterday) as evidence that the BBC’s non-British pundits can learn to absorb and reproduce Lawrenson-type nonsense quickly. Marcel Desailly was doing so well until he insisted that the reason Dhorasoo didn’t score was because he “hit his shot too well”.

Most bizarre moment of coverage: Either the half-time montage of player photo-portraits morphing into each other in a pastiche of Godley & Crème’s ‘Cry’ video while the song played over the top, or Gary Lineker being interrupted during one of his links by the realisation that behind his head, outside on the balcony, Iain Dowie had wandered into shot, chuntering on his mobile. Sadly we were unable to hear the Elephant Man telling Simon Jordan to fuck off.

What we learned: There’s a good reason why very few people have been talking up France’s chances of winning the trophy – they looked past it and rubbish, and served up the first really fist-chewingly tedious game of the tournament.


Blogger SwissToni said...

Patrick Viera looked less like the Arsenal Viera we Brits tend to remember, and a whole lot more like the Viera who strolls around in his own half for Juventus. We shouldn't be surprised that he doesn't look fit - he plays at walking pace in Italy.

Mind you - he's still more mobile than Ronaldo.

Ribery's a looker, isn't he?


12:10 am, June 14, 2006

Blogger Del said...

As an Arse fan, I take immense pleasure in watching Vieira be rubbish. Kind of like seeing an ex who's let herself go. Especially with Senderos playing so well for the opposition.

12:36 am, June 14, 2006

Blogger Ben said...

ST: Ribery certainly is a looker - reminded me a bit of Craig Bellamy. And what's with that weird thing on the bridge of Magnin's nose? Looked like one of those nasal strip things that Robbie Fowler et al used to wear, but I think it's a scar of some kind...

Del: An excellent way to look at it.

1:10 am, June 14, 2006


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