Saturday, June 10, 2006

Germany v Costa Rica, BBC1

"The world is at our feet" continuity tells us before a set of titles that are an odd mix of Euro 2004 graphics style and 1996 easygoing classical, incorporating what look like specially filmed segments with Ronaldinho, Robben, Henry and Gerrard. Gary gives it the usual introduction about freshly minuted memories around Berlin while the team that put the music on set their standard high with Bowie's Helden over a Germany montage followed by a proper all-inclusive intro backed by Super Furry Animals' Rings Around The World. An attempted introduction in German - "thanks to Owen Hargreaves for that translation. Useful soul" - leads to an introduction to a set that's a lot more open than its obvious 1998 antecedent, except with a low table in front of the pundits. Martin O'Neill's back and on form straight away, getting digs in at both Alans within minutes. Jonathan Pearce proves himself to be no Barry Davies when it comes to opening ceremonies, despite a reference to "bizarre women with horns coming out of their head". Ray Stubbs gets the ignominious role of stands reporter, meaning he has to shout directly at Alan Ball, who disturbingly is introduced as being "in our team", and later bellowing into Boris Becker's ear, who reciprocates. Garth makes a last ditch attempt to really seal his reputation, casting himself as a casino hustler against a Svenalike, meaning those who had 25 minutes within their toecurling moment spread can cash in. "I'm still hoping his (Rooney's) injury is one of those hilarious Rio Ferdinand hoaxes" Gary chides. An odd 3D zoom in map introduces us properly to Pearce and Lawro, who throughout the game finds Pearce's weak jokes audibly hilarious. He'll have to get used to the mike cut button soon. Way to start with "a minute's silence in memory of the FIFA family", which goes as well as can be expected. The BBC captions trade an even smaller score display with arrows in kit colours pointing to the respective team name with a bloody enormous score caption in gold and black. Pearce sounds genuinely shocked by Philip Lahm's shot, Lawro offering "I was just thinking, Andreas Brehme" for no particular reason. Both are obsessed by the concept of a fifth official, because hold hard, "flag's down, and it's still down, and this is Wanchope, and how about this? How about this?" Apparently we should "start thinking again" about goals spread bets and "remember that one for pub quizzes in the future" when the first yellow card comes out. Man of the people, him. "That's the trouble with these opening games - they're always cautious, dull affairs" is Gary's inevitable offering before he really applies the pun accelerator, suggesting Germany are "pulling the wool over our eyes with Lahm scoring" before claiming it's the earliest opening goal in a tournament "in eight years" in a mangled dig at Hansen for being Scottish. Germany soon take control, Pearce looking forward to seeing the locals "thump the tables and bring up the steins of beer", but he's more interested in how already we seem to have had the goal of the tournament stakes raised. "What a bullet!" "What a joy it would be to see a World Cup full of long range goals like that" he surmises. Gary really goes for it at the end, suggesting "Wanchope became two-chop" and ending on "it was getting Klose by the minute but Frings turned out OK". It's just a goldmine for him sometimes.

What we've learned: Germany have plenty of energy and tempo in midfield and might be slightly scary if Ballack's fit and up for it; their defence will however be sliced open by a strikeforce of more than one creative player; we may not have heard the last of Costa Rica


Blogger paul said...

Lawro saying "Don't tell me Centeno's got not antena" was a particular low point in the history of the BBC!

10:20 am, June 10, 2006


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