Eye On The Experts: World Cup Awards - Week One

The first week of the World Cup has seen an extraordinary amount of reaction to television punditry of various qualities. Alan and Johnny are therefore in their element...

Last Updated: 19/06/14 at 08:37 Post Comment

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We've had the first round of World Cup games - so how have the pundits and commentators done so far? John Nicholson and Alan Tyers pick out their highlights and lowlights...

Pundit Most Likely To Be Replaced By The More Exciting Sound Of One Hand Clapping
Phil Neville. Poor Our Fizzer. In fairness to him, has taken the criticism in the sort of good, self-deprecating spirit that makes one feel a tad beastly for complaining about him in the first place.


Unconvincing attempt to betray in-depth football history knowledge
Robbie Savage's reference to 1962's Battle Of Santiago. In the immortal words of Alan Hansen "someone's gi ye him".


Toughest Gig
Clive, battling gamely through a fruit-loop opening ceremony and trying to find things to say about the unfolding madness.


Pundit Most Likely To Evoke A Reference To Jimi Hendrix
Thierry Henry: Not Necessarily Stoned, But Beautiful. The very personification of laconic. Terry is all sleepy eyes and as relaxed as a Horlicks enema. Nice yin and yang trip going on with Savage. Talking of which....


Most Improved Hair Cut
Savage's taming of the tresses into a ponytail. Actually helps you focus on what he's saying instead of wondering if he's some sort of My Little Pony/human hybrid. Hair maketh the man. And the pony too, for that matter.


Nancy Dell'Olio Award For Least Comprehensible Italian on TV Ever
Fabio Cannavaro. Firstly, he looks tiny and sits like he's a Thunderbird puppet. Secondly he can't speak English and, quite possibly, can't actually understand English either. Instead, he's opted for grinning a lot.


Incomprehensible Brazilian
Juninho. Never needed to speak English on Teesside, Still can't.


Not Leaving Anything To Geographical Chance Medal
Martin Keown, discussing humid playing conditions, in Russia v South Korea. "I played in the States - the United States... of America." Never heard of it Martin. Is it something to do with USA? Please clarify.


Load Of Bollocks Award
Glenn Hoddle. Pick a side and stick to it, Glenn. Don't be separating your balls with your crotch seam, it's undignified and yet strangely we couldn't pull our eyes away from this classic old man's trouser gaffe.


Best Bust-Up
Adrian Chiles has had a hell of a lot of stick, but we really enjoyed his interrogation of Pat Vieira after the Thomas Muller play-acting. Pat Vieira was defending the German with the standard "this is the professional game, deal with" in that smug way a lot of ex players have. Adrian's "I'm just an ordinary bloke, me" shtick can grate at times but here he seemed genuinely annoyed in the way that a lot of fans also are about players cheating and carrying on, and was not afraid to attack Vieira, who spoke, as it were, as the counsel for the pro footballer defence. it. Good TV.


Most Improbable Commentator Claim
Steve Wilson, for saying that "there are bugs almost the size of seagulls" in the Fortaleza stadium for Brazil v Mexico.


Pundit Most Defensive About His Mate
Rio Ferdinand. Shamefully fell back on saying Wazza (and he did say Wazza which officially reduces the speaker's IQ level by 50) wasn't playing well because he was out of position, despite the fact that he and, many others tell us Wazza can play anywhere. That said, Rio has generally made an excellent start and has provided several decent moments of insight.


Most Miserable Pundit (Retained)
Mark Lawrenson. Lawro. It's a World Cup. In Brazil. Cheer up love.


Most Likely To Be Found Behind The Bar Of A Working Men's Club
Alan Shearer. Now shorn of all hair and going through that middle-aged man's thing of getting wider. The squint of eyes, slight nod of head and crisp white shirt with black slacks evokes a man whose first words to you should ideally be "pint of Fed is it, kidda?" Later to be found out the back smoking a fag nipped between thumb and forefinger, complaining about lipstick smears on glasses.


Confused.com Sponsored Commentators' Gaffe Award
Jonno Pearce. No-one was confused about that French goal except Jonno. Briefly seemed to actually lose his mind, as though logic and proportion had fallen sloppy dead and the very notion of a linear universe was a surreal concept to be mistrusted. Revealed a deep suspicion of technology as though it was, like the faked moon landings, a conspiracy to oppress us.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

See extracts from Alan's new(ish) book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here.

Check out John's new series of crime novels about life, death, sex and UEFA Cup football, here.

You can also follow Alan and Johnny on Twitter.

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