Sunday, June 11, 2006

Netherlands v Serbia & Montenegro, BBC1

Oh, so you're going to start with the England goal as well. "A day of watching others suffer" is enlivened as we've got Martin with Alan Hansen and Ian Wright, referring to "arguments over who's got the best looking wife". Wright is his usual, um, unique self, declaring "I'm going on van Persie because I love van Basten - I just love the Van bit". An interesting understanding of Dutch custom, certainly. He doesn't pick up on "Wrighty, are you a fan of S&M?" at first either but eventually gets it and recovers to declare he likes their strikers as "they got such a slating over here and now they're doing well". It's not a majority view, we'd guess. Steve Wilson gets his first live commentary of the tournament with McCarthy, marvelling on how Marco van Basten "he doesn't look a day older" before declaring "he's grasped the Dutch nettle". Botany, too. Meanwhile Mick produces the old favourite, "the players must feel they've been Tangoed". What did we all do with the colour orange before that campaign started, eh? Robben scores and we get a couple of replays, which oddly Mick seems to find odd, wondering if the producer - not even the director - is Dutch. Alan's still running with the S&M line at half time while Wright sums up van Basten's reaction to the goal as "I'm a great manager, let's have a game of golf". Plenty of other time for that, we'd have thought. Martin takes the reins, though, as he needs no second invitation to go on a mighty spiel about England only to completely and spectacularly lose his train of thought and forget his closing argument when Alan tries to interrupt. No sooner have we observed the way Ian stares at Alan right across Martin then the latter suddenly announces "I know what I was thinking of!" right at the death of the half time allocation. Afterwards comes the very definition of first round filler as Comedy Dave off Chris Moyles' show, like people would recognise his name, interviews Embrace at length, followed by the inevitable clip of the Forest squad singing We've Got The Best Team In The Land on Jim'll Fix It, leading to some vintage O'Neilling: "this is not the time to be self-effacing, I was good then...Robert Plant wanted me to rewrite Stairway To Heaven!" Right at the end, Gary finally has a moment of clarity regarding whether we've seen the winner yet - "it's not worth asking you, Ian, you've just said you don't care about anyone but England."

What we've learned: Holland are going to have to be watched carefully; Group C really is going to be a bugger; O'Neill in a permanent studio is going to sway us all again at this rate

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