Saturday, June 10, 2006

Poland v Ecuador, ITV1

EDF can fuck off. Budweiser can really fuck off. Kasabian's version of Heroes seems to have been recorded in a cellar miked from the floor above. The titles may well have been made in 1988. Ladies and gentlemen, ITV Sport, where even Gabriel Clarke gets the big build up. Gabby's in charge but remembers the new order of things around here with a spectacularly pointless link to Steve Rider at Silverstone within five minutes, a location where apparently "it became Formula Wanchope". What purpose this serves is never made clear as we have to meet the pundits, "we need to update your memories" Gabby claiming after talking about World Cup memories for what seems an age, Ruud Gullit somewhat spoiling the temporal flow by reminiscing about the 1988 European Championships. Jim Rosenthal gets to introduce Germany's highlights from in front of a crowd watching a screen, getting gazed at admiringly by celebrants after a meagre edit. Sam Allardyce moans about the ball already and recommends not writing the Germans off as if it's a radical new thought. Ruud has "quite a controversial opinion about Wayne Rooney", apparently - yes, he should be humanely put down. Oh, no, it's that Sven's taking a risk with his injury. A sea level line graph breaks new standards in 'because we can' pointlessness. Clive has glasses, Southgate a silly grin and this game is "a bit like an episode of Blind Date - teams that would never normally come together come together". Erm, yeah. It's also another example "the European/Latin American mix that proved so stunning in the first game", which is top notch clutching at straws when on paper your opening game of a tournament looks so unpromising. The score graphic is a great big black and grey thing. Southgate is often barely audible, so much does he drop below the volume of the crowd, and it's not evident yet that he has much to say when you can make it out. Half time seems to take Clive by surprise, and it gives ITV to unveil a 3D diagram of shot position and range that proves little. "I'm very pleased the cameramen have found the pretty lady so early in the tournament" tartly remarks before the first of this year's real clunkers, Ask England, where 'ordinary fans' - not you lot at home, this is all long pre-filmed, ask questions to Beckham and Ashley Cole of little consequence. A quiet second half is enlivened by the staring Ecuador coach at the final whistle. Gabby tries "I don't think we've seen the winner tonight", which Allardyce seems to take as sage comment. Inevitably, we finish on England. No, worse, it's the work of Keith Wilson, the sporting poet whose barely tolerable verse has channel hopped at an alarming regularity. Really looking forward to a summer of Country Girl behind everything, ITV.

What we've learned: Ecuador have the capability to work hard; Poland need to sort out their midfield or they'll be packing for home after the second game; sponsorship break bumpers can fuck off in general


Blogger Matt said...

I think we should track down whichever genius thought "those 3D graphics that they have for the cricket and tennis are good, let's get one of those" and then used it show us that Euador have had some shots on target and some off target, and bombard him with email claiming to be close friends with a deceased African president and please send us your bank details.

12:39 pm, June 10, 2006

Blogger Ben said...

Well, there I was feeling a bit uncomfortable about having outed myself as a BBC man earlier in the week - the smugometer for the opening game was sky-high, Pearce was trying to cram in every little titbit of trivia he could and Shearer was disappointingly wooden (to be fair to him, I don't think he is all that often).

And then ITV put it all into perspective. Tyldsley is useless, and the Silverstone link and 'Ask England' bit were cringingly awful. Cheers to the other half of Black & White & Read All Over for pointing out to me that the decision to seat Gullit next to Pearce was particularly curious, given that the former froze the latter out when manager on Tyneside and the pair had a falling-out on a scale only slightly smaller than those of Gullit and Shearer / Ferguson / Lee. Pearce got in one good dig against Gullit, but that'll be the only reason for watching the ITV punditry this tournament - to see if the needling escalates.

Matt: Spot on - that graphic about shots on goal was spectacularly pointless.

12:57 pm, June 10, 2006


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