Wednesday, 12 July 2006

The World Cup Of World Cup Coverage: Final Standings

Best Player: Big Dennis Lawrence (Trinidad and Tobago).

Not just because he plays for Wrexham, but because he did really, really well against both Sweden and England (er, we didn't watch T&T against Paraguay), but mainly the Wrexham thing*. Well, it'd be a bit boring to go for Cannavaro like everyone else has. And Zidane is clearly out of the question. Big Den it is, then.

(*Just in case he reads this, and buys us a drink next time we see him in Liquid.)

Worst Player: Ronaldin-who?

Do you see what we've done there, readers? He didn't do a lot, did he? Maybe this is because Nike had a fairly useless ad campaign for this world cup, and that had some effect on his morale, we're not sure. Dishonourable mention: W Rooney. We still maintain that he only stamped on Carvalho's Portuguese plums because he was getting increasingly frustrated by being fairly rubbish in a tournament his agent and the press told him he was going to be the next Pele at. And yes, we do think he did stamp on him on purpose, though not necessarily on that particular bit of him. Oh, plus: Lampard - the supposed second-best player in the world? It doesn't mean much having "more shots on goal than any other player" if approximately fuck all of them hit the target.

Best Goal: Maxi Rodríguez (Argentina) vs Mexico

Argentina's 72-man goal left us a bit cold, to be honest. It was a great goal and all, but it always strikes us as a bit hollow when the Goal Of The Tournament award is given to a player 'merely' capping off a wonderful team move that he may have had very little to do with. And it looked laughably poor when UKG2 placed it in the top three of their DJ Spoony's Super Top Ten Goals Of Ver World Cup, then only showed the last three seconds of it. So we'll go for Rodríguez's (yes, we ctrl+v'ed his name to get the accent on the 'i' right) wonderstrike against Mexico, glorious chesting-down and all. And surely the BBC could have come up with a better prize than a tour of the Match Of The Day studios. Really.

Best match: Australia 2 - 2 Croatia

Possibly because we managed to miss all but the last ten minutes of the now legendary Germany-Italy semi-final AND all of Argentina's masterclass against Serbia-Montenegro (curse you, gainful employment! Curse you, Match Of The Day's 'only ten minutes of highlights' policy! Curse you workplace IT spods for blocking the Beeb's live net video feed!), but this stands out as the most enthralling match that we saw live. Even without the dodgy refereeing from Tring's non-finest, it would have been great, but the whole 'idiot ref' factor added an extra special something. Maybe there should be a spurious 'super bonus yellow' added at random to more matches - come on FIFA. The best thing that has been on BBC Three, ever.

Most Shameless Display of Hypocrisy: BrokenTV.

Normally, The TV Blog That Tells It Like It Is would delight in England's inevitable collapse to the first half-decent team they faced. We think it's a genetic thing distilled into the DNA of all Celts. Despite that, the Portugal-England game saw us actually willing England to win, partly due to a steadfast refusal to support a team full of cheats, and partly because we ended up watching it with a really attractive female England-supporting colleague. We didn't even laugh when Rooney was sent off. Man, we're shallow. DO NOT JUDGE US.

The Bobby Chariott Award For Rubbish Comedy: Mark Lawrenson

Just pipping Gary Line-acre and BrokenTV to the award, Comedy Lawro didn't just make his ha-ha-larious Sven impression ("Weelllll...") which was greeted with five seconds of dead air from Motty*, we're told he did another impression, this time of a stereotypically thick Gumbyesque footballer ("durrrr... my brain hurts") that was greeted with an even longer period of Mottysilence before the sheepskinned one (even in that heat, we'd wager) carried on as if nothing had happened. As we've previously said, we're sure even John Motson can't stand him by now. Promote Mark Bright immediately.

(*Yes, five whole seconds without him cramming in some oblique statistic. It was that bad an impression.)

Thoughts On England's Performance: Will this prove to be England's 1978? Where they decide not to get so cocky and assume they've a divine right to win every World Cup that they qualify for?


Best Pundit: Martin O'Neill.

Well, duh.

Worst Pundit: Alan Shearer.

At least Ian Wright displays a bit of emotion. Seeing Alan 'Elbows' Shearer decry other players for unsportsmanlike behaviour in a bit like seeing Genghis Khan claim Zidane went 'a bit far' with the headbutt. It was great when The Chiles mentioned Shearer's elbow antics in front of him, wasn't it?

Best Person Involved in Any Aspect of World Cup TV Coverage: The Chiles / Sean Lock

The Chiles was at his best throughout the tournament, so it was a bit of a shame he was considered even below Ray Stubbs in the hosting pecking order. The sooner Line-acre devotes himself full-time to crisp whoring and The Chiles is placed as main host for Match of the Day, the better. As for Sean Lock, is was his presence in the episode of World Cuppa we accidentally saw that stopped us taking our lives in despair. His display of shouting down weak items, refusing to laugh at clearly rubbish gags, and crossing the line into subjects far too leftfield for ITV (i.e. Guantanamo Bay isn't necessarily great) restored out faith in humanity. And we're not sure that was him in the England-Portugal match, but we missed Friday's episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

Pedantic Gripe Of The Tournament: The Amount Of Close-Ups of the Ball.

Yes, we know it has the names of the countries involved in this match written on it by now. You don't need to show us every time. If Jason McAteer has scrawled his name on it: yes. Otherwise: no.

Best World Cup Break Bumper: Dammit, the Budweiser one on ITV.

Despite our decrying them, we've heard that the Budweiser ITV break bumpers used a similar 'semi-on' gag to ourselves, so a limited amount of kudos to them. Fair dues.

Best Use Of A Track By The Pet Shop Boys That Isn't Even A Single Yet, Despite It Clearly Being The Best Track Off Their New Album: BBC Sport.

If we were moved enough by not getting a hug off Sexy English Colleague Girl, because England refused to score in normal time, the Beeb's montage to the tune of 'Numb' made things even more emotional. Sadly, we're not sure if Sexy English Colleague Girl needed a hug by that point, because we'd gone home. AGAIN, DO NOT JUDGE US.

Special Award For Services To BrokenTV's Hits Counter: Clydebank FC.

We've no idea why (as we can't sign up, for some reason), but a Clydebank FC message board is accounting for a lot of BrokenTV's hit right about now. Presumably, this is World Cup related, and we'd like to know precisely why. Also, the term 'Miff Daniels' seems to have led several people to this blog lately. Hopefully, they think he's as much of a cock-end as we do.

Best Pointless Internet World Cup Thing: The ASCII Coverage of Live Matches.

It wouldn't work in longer than five-second bursts for us, but a great idea all the same.

Best Coverage:

Well, this is where the whole points structure comes into play. Ah crap, that means we've got to add it all up, doesn't it? Well, before we do, let's take a look at, say, one episode of ESPN India's pre-match show, Duniya Goal Hai. That we happen to have downloaded about three weeks ago, and have only now got around to writing about, despite promising to do so ages ago.

Well, despite the UK quite improperly assuming we're the World Champions of Irony, this is a pretty splendid show. Think 'Soccer AM, but without fawning over Kasabian and The Ordinary Boys', about 90% of Duniya Goal Hai is presented in an English tongue (lucky, as our grasp of Hindu is a bit ropey). Let's look at a few illustrative screenies...

A background crammed with comedy Germanic stereotypes, but - crucially - in a gentle light-hearted manner, not just banging on about the sodding war, or having fat idiot cockneys coming in to state how much they hate Germany.
+3 points

TV monitor in background is a crappy 70's TV set.
+2 points

Said monitor features pictures of kittens and puppies alongside generic pictures of Germany for no reason whatsoever.
+5 points

Presenters wearing T-shirts proclaiming their predictions for the forthcoming live match.
+4 points

A daily compilation of the previous days' most appalling dives, for which the presenters don diving gear.
+ 3 points

Scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen throughout the programme listing translations in English, German, Italian, French and Hindu for phrases such as "I love David Beckham" and "Crouching Peter, Hidden Dragon".
+ 5 points.

Section of the show where the presenters drag up in an edit lounge as screeching fishwives to comment on highlights of matches from the previous day.
+ 2 points

Fake news section (presumably a parody of a famous Indian news service, we don't know) called 'B News', hosted by excellently named newsreaders called things like Jogging Gently or Walking Briskly. This is so they can say things like "that's all the news for now. I'm Walking Briskly." We like this.
+3 points

Fake news section is "brought to you by cheese, in association with monkeys". Ace!
+5 points

A course in Bavarian dancing, mainly as an excuse for rarely-seen Presenter C to hit Presenter B in the face, thereby leading Presenter A to pile in and jump on Presenter C.
+ 3 points

A section on dodgy hairstyles in the World Cup, entitled 'Classic Cuts'. Cue large wig donned by Presenter A, and a 'money shot' where Presenter A poses as a famous player with bad hair.
+1 point

An interview with 'Ronaldinho', who answers increasingly Garth Crooks-esque questions with the answer 'foot-ball?'. Until, of course, he answers a final, easy, question with the words 'cricket, yah?'. Well, we liked it.
+1 point

A section called Rat Race. A further attempt to predict the outcome of the forthcoming match by seeing which goal a small rodent scurries into, after encountering a series of Kryton Factor-ish obstacles. Although, due to circumstances, it's a hamster, not a rat. And due to said obstacles, it generally predicts a draw. But hurrah for ideas!
+ 3 points

A caption competition. Being won by a pseudo-rude nonsensical slogan. Fair enough.
+1 point.

Hurrah for Duniya Goal Hai! It very much rocks, and entertains us in a matter that doesn't pretend to be all 'edgy' and 'late night' like World Bloody Cuppa does. In fact, Dunita Goal Hai, have +26 bonus points for being so very smashing!

Right, combining that with a quick dozen bonus points for Baddiel and Skinner for being great in their last few podcasts, that brings the scores up to...

ESPN India: 68 points
BBC: 67 points
Skinner and Baddiel Podcasts: 14 points
BrokenTV: 3 points
ITV: -19 points
Five Live: -19 points
UKG2: -30 points
ITV4: -35 points
Sky Sports News: -46 points

Well, who'd have thunk it? A last minute addition to the list storming to victory on the back of one half-hour of tomfoolery that might very well have proved annoying after seeing another ten or so episodes featuring the exact same jokes, eh? Probably lucky we only ever saw three episodes of it, then. Right, back to needlessly YouTubed uploads of old adverts we go. And, we presume, goodbye to at least 60% of the visitors we've received in the last month. Sigh.

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