"One day it might indeed all end, but Eamo’s show will surely go on forever."
Amid all the talk this week of the great decline in football all over the world; the pining for Jim Baxter, Jimmy Johnstone and Ivor Allchurch; the fears for Ragball Rovers Scotland; the worry that the great nation of Brazil is dead and buried and not coming back; the fretting over streets unsafe for football and the coaches flogging the creativity out of every toddler with a decent first touch; there was one poignant moment as Eamon Dunphy pointed to John Giles and Liam Brady and told us to “take a look at these guys, because we won’t see anyone like them again.”
But then, if we rewind a decade to Euro 2004, we find that the dystopian wilderness in store for us was, if anything, even more stark: “If you’ve got a computer and a gameboy and all of that stuff, bammm, you ain’t gonna play. What you want is a dictatorship and lots of poverty to produce great players. Fifty years from now, there will be no Bill O’Herlihy here. This will be a basketball studio.”
One day it might indeed all end, but Eamo’s show will surely go on forever.
Lee Dixon comes back round to Javier Mascherano:
“I’ve always been a convert.”
Single-minded Martin Keown:
“Brazil totally reliant on one player; Neymar at one end, Thiago Silva at the other.”
Andy Gray wasn’t going to make allowances:
“I know they’ve lost their best striker and best defender, but Brazil are a team full of internationals.”
Neil Lennon plays his joker:
“They folded like a deck of cards.”
Steve Wilson sees what he likes:
“The acapella anthem; one of the sights of the World Cup.”
Clive Tyldesley’s attempt to work some gridiron jargon into his commentary wasn’t entirely successful:
“First down and six.”
A one-off move by van Gaal in three decades of coaching, turned into a habit by Terry Butcher:
“He couldn’t take off his goalkeeper like he usually does.”
LORD HAVE MERSEY
A fortnight is a long time in delusion.
Paul Merson, June 26: “This is the lowest of the low for England. It doesn’t get any worse. People said we had a tough group because there were three former World Cup winners in it — rubbish. England’s problem is we don’t have any world class players.”
Paul Merson, July 11: “I think now, we could have won the World Cup, why not?”
While lazier media outlets were sidetracked by the hosts’ implosion in Belo Horizonte, the Daily Mail wouldn’t be thrown off the scent of the real story last Tuesday.
“Mezut Ozil barely registers an important kick as Germany destroys hosts Brazil 7-1.” The website splash, posted just after the final whistle, said: “Ozil ran from side to side like a lost and confused child before continuously and clumsily losing possession against Brazil. ” The Mail’s own ‘Match Zone’ statpack put Ozil’s pass completion at 87.8%, behind only Kroos and Schweinsteiger in the German line-up. The story was deleted by Wednesday morning.
Robbie Savage wipes away Brazilian tears in the Daily Mirror: ‘The only consolation I can offer Brazil is that two of their players make my 2014 World Cup XI.’
THE BIG QUESTION
What happened to Paul Clement featuring as a World Cup pundit on RTÉ? Perhaps the Real Madrid coach was intimidated by the depth of research required of a ‘Spanish football expert’.
STILL A HARDMAN
It was the scene that made the world forgive. After the Dutch shoot-out loss, Arjen Robben, pictured, making his way over to his wife to console his teary toddler son in her arms. Alas, the pair were just out of Arjen’s reach behind a perspex barrier. Cue Gilesy’s advice: “He should dive over the thing there.” A studio chorused almost in unison: “Ah John...”
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