LARRY RYAN: A missing Ray of sunshine

Still no word of Ray Houghton. Not even a stir out of his new Twitter account (@ray81988) since Brazil-Colombia on Friday evening.

So the nation has held its breath, wondering and worrying, since George Hamilton flew solo on Saturday night in Salvador, with no explanation as to why Razor wasn’t at his side, explaining where everyone was going wrong.

Naturally, there was much speculation on Twitter. @colinowens83 worried that an Amazonian tribe had him. @DubWeasel suspected Ray was there alright, but George had sneakily turned down his mic, for peace. Others hailed a fine two-hour-plus shift from George, who came to life as much as the match in extra-time, and suggested Ray was welcome to extend his break.

@bobdebilde: Commentary has gone very well tonight. Nothing too negative or exasperated at all. That said hope Razor alright.?

@TomAherne: How much less infuriating was the game without Razor?

@mondieucestmoi Will be petitioning RTE for Razor-free commentary from now on. Old school bliss.

But just in case he’s tempted to stay in hiding, Ray does still have few fans out there. @DaithiOLaoire: Sorely missed. Him and George a great team.

FOR YOU, FRITZ

It couldn’t have happened under John “Best victory over Germany since the war” Motson’s watch, but it seems disappointed England fans have fallen for Die Mannschaft. Spotted in the stands during Germany’s quarter-final win over France — a group of fans in England shirts with their faces painted in the German flag. On Twitter, BBC’s Danny Baker confirmed the big switch is on: “Not joking about German shirt shortage in London. All other nations available but told Germany shirts most popular now. We are in a new era.”

To be fair, the England fans in the Maracana did recognise the gravity of the situation. They were holding the banner: “Look What You’ve Done To Us Roy”.

GUFF MERCHANTS

Clive Tyldesley tries out middle distance boxing: “Brazil are hanging on to the ropes but are in sight of the finishing line..”

What Danny Mills gives with one hand...

“Their never-say-die attitude is so admirable. I mean, some of those lads are dying on their feet.”

Ray Parlour cuts the engines: “They’re not flying on all cylinders.”

Pat Nevin was doubly sure: “Substitutions become imperative and also very important.”

Clarke Carlisle cuts close to the bone: “Van Buyten up front as a makeshift centre half.”

George Hamilton: “You really know Brazil are in town.” You’re in Brazil, George

Gilesy sticks to the facts. “I think Germany have a better chance of beating Brazil than Romania.”

DUTCH DECISIONS

What Argentina’s semi-final opponents are known as in the RTÉ studio: “Holland, er The Netherlands, sorry...”

Chill out lads — word from the Dutch Tourist Board at Holland.com: “We have chosen Holland as brand name because Holland is internationally well-known, popular and an accessible name for our country.”

INFLATED REPUTATION

Pity Juan Cuadrado has gone home. In the days between the last 16 and the quarters, his stock had soared on the Eamo Index. From one of Colombia’s headless chickens to an “exceptionally good player”.

CHARM OFFENSIVE

Samir Nasri’s girlfriend Anara Atanes reacted with predictable diplomacy after France’s quarter-final exit, tweeting: ‘Ooooopppsssiiiie! And that’s the reason u need ur world class players!’ Seems a move unlikely to persuade Deschamps to drop his planned legal action over Atanes pre-tournament reaction to Nasri’s omission from the squad: “F—- france and f—- deschamps! What a s—- manager!”

CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE

Say what you like about Eamon Dunphy; after Chile’s exit, then Belgium’s; he’ll soon have predicted more winners than anyone else in the tournament.

And in another boost to Eamo’s stock; Lorenzo was non-existent against Belgium.

CHAMPIONS ELECT

What does Eamo make of the Brazilians now?

“They’re a bloody awful side with no real redeeming features. Paulinho can’t run. Maicon is ancient. At Man City he was a joke, an embarrassment.”

TWEET RELIEF

@frailfiend: For people to love them, Brazil need to pick a man on stilts, Josimar, and two horny chimpanzees. With Fred on a tiny tricycle.

PUNBELIEVABLE, JEFF

Gary Lineker cramped up as much as the players at the end of Netherlands-Costa Rica: “Navas spelt backwards is Savan... and he’s been savin’ everything.”


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