Martin Samuel spoils the buzz at Southampton, and Mark Lawrenson delivers a couple of classic lines...
Mediawatch was a little preoccupied with Robbie Savage's musings. Plus, how Man United signed Falcao and Angel Di Maria...
It has been a difficult tournament for Cristiano Ronaldo. He has clearly been carrying an injury and has looked thoroughly frustrated by the performances of his team-mates as Portugal fell at the first hurdle.
His own displays haven't been brilliant either, with a single goal the return from his 22 shots in this tournament. Against Ghana on Thursday he missed late chances to give his side hope, generally huffed and puffed around and had a new haircut. Or so we thought.
'Ronaldo Magic Can't Close Gap' reads the headline in the Daily Mail over a piece by Jeff Powell that is as one-eyed as one-eyed can be.
'Cristiano Ronaldo might have achieved the impossible,' Powell begins. The 'impossible' presumably being taking Portugal beyond the group stage, something they have achieved in each of their last five major tournaments. Or even beating USA.
'If half the great man's thundering shots and leaping headers had crossed the line then Portugal would have done it, too,' he continues. 'Inexplicably, it was not to be. The fates decreed it.'
Yes, that's it: fate. Fate, determinism, the gods and an inability to beat the goalkeeper with a header from four yards.
'Ronaldo had written off Portugal's prospects, admitting: "We were never going to win the World Cup with a team as average as this." How close he came to proving himself wrong.'
Oh don't be so ridiculous. 'How close'? How bloody close? Portugal came third in their group. They would have had to gain an extra point (or score a great deal more goals) to qualify above the USA. Then win a last-16 tie. Then a quarter-final. Then a semi-final. Then a final. That's how close.
And now for Powell's crowning glory: 'If it is some small consolation, Ronaldo will be forever remembered for what he almost achieved on this sunlit afternoon.'
Of course. In 20 years, when we are remarking fondly over the majesty of Ronaldo, it will not be his Ballon D'Or that we remember. Nor his four league titles or two Champions League trophies. We will forget his consecutive Footballer of the Year awards, and scoff at his record of 250 goals in his first 244 Real Madrid games. Because remember, friends, that day when he missed chances to take Portugal out of the group stage. For those were the glory days.
It's almost as if Powell had a piece in mind on Ronaldo's excellence that he crowbarred into the situation as they were knocked out. Almost.
Nothing annoyed Mediawatch more last season that the gradually increased fawning over Luis Suarez as his form took Liverpool to the top of the league. We're getting sick of saying this (and presumably you too reading it), but scoring goals and bitey racism are mutually exclusive entities. Doing well in one does not cancel out the damage done by the other.
Those that lauded Suarez's 'redemption', therefore, would be forgiven for trying to brush such words under the carpet, all of which make Alan Hansen's views on the BBC last night quite breath-taking. Speaking regarding Suarez's latest ban, Hansen said:
"It's sad for Suarez who, after the Branislav Ivanovic incident, won the hearts of everybody in United Kingdom with the way he played."
Few things, Alan:
1) Please don't feel that you can speak on behalf of "everybody in the United Kingdom". You can speak for yourself, and that's about it.
If the 65 million people in the UK were going to nominate a representative, Mediawatch is fairly sure you wouldn't make the shortlist.
2) Even if you do insist on speaking for us all, at least try to reflect the national mood. Mediawatch is pretty sure that a greater proportion of the populace didn't feel that their hearts had been won, perhaps instead thinking that Suarez happened to be a damn fine footballer with a tendency to resort to the foolish, ill-conceived and downright unpleasant.
3) The 'United Kingdom' and 'Anfield' are not interchangeable terms.
As you were.
Oh De Savage
There is a line of argument which suggests that Luis Suarez's ban for misconduct at international level is unfair on Liverpool. It isn't an argument that Mediawatch agrees with (if you dance with the devil, and so forth), but it's an argument nonetheless.
It's that exact same point that Robbie Savage makes in the Daily Mirror and, given that Mediawatch made it above in a matter of 20 words, should be fairly easy to spell out. Not so for Savage, though.
'I think FIFA did the right thing in banning Suarez, and I wouldn't have argued with a six or even 12-month international ban, but extending the ban to club football is not right,' Savage begins.
'If a player is sent off in the FA Cup, for example, he is not also banned from playing in league matches.'
Erm, yes he (or she) is. Red cards in first team competitive matches result in immediate suspension from all forthcoming first team competitive matches.
Way to mangle that point, Robbie.
Fabulous work from Alan Green on BBC 5Live just before kick-off in Germany v USA in rain-sodden Recife yesterday.
"I've never seen anything like this - it's akin to what the South-West of England suffered last year."
So you haven't seen anything like this. Apart from last year, when you saw something like this. Something that was actually worse.
Right, Said Fred
Textbook stuff from the Daily Mail regarding quotes from Fred on his own form.
'Fred: Shearer was right to slam me but I'll come good,' screams the headline in the paper.
Number of mentions of Alan Shearer: 0
Number of mentions of 'slamming': 0
Slight Difference Of Opinion
'Ronaldo Magic Can't Close Gap' - The Daily Mail's take on Cristiano Ronaldo, who award Ronaldo with a 9.5 rating, 2.5 higher than any other Portugal player.
'Wasteful Cris On Plane Home After Major Flop' - The Sun take a slightly different view, awarding Ronaldo a 6 rating, less than two of his team-mates.
Headline Of The Day
'Herr To The Throne' - Good from The Sun on Thomas Muller.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Gone-Aldo' - The Sun stink the place out entirely.
Runner-Up: 'Ronal-Doh!' - The Daily Mail
Non-Football Headline Of The Day
'Monster Rats The Size Of Cows' - The Daily Star's front page.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Police have released an image of a man who showed his genitals to a bus driver when asked to produce a bus pass.
'The man got on the 620 bus at Bradford Interchange at 6.30am on June 10th. When the male driver asked him to show his bus pass he took a step backwards before exposing himself and running away.
'The bus was carrying several other passengers at the time who witnessed the incident.
'An image caught on the bus's CCTV was released today in an attempt to identify the flasher, who left the driver feeling "alarmed"' - Bradford Telegraph and Argus
Thanks to Gerry McGreevy. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.