Friday, 13 June 2008

Schedule A: Euro 2008 Day Seven (Semi-Live Blog)

After conspiring to miss the matches over the last couple of days, we're back in football watching mode. Our attempts to catch the repeat of Germany vs Croatia on ITV4 were hampered by the broadcaster accidentally simulcasting forty minutes of the CITV Channel instead of the first part of the match, which kind of gets ITV Sport off to a bad start for the day.

[ITV Sport -1 point]

Italy vs Romania

It's Andy Townsend again. Do ITV keep him in a box in the corner of the studio or something? Football pundits should be massively insightful and interesting, or at the very least, be known as a legendary (in the football sense, not that they're a talking dragon) footballer. Andy Townsend is, of course, neither. At least drag Ian Holloway or Steve Claridge into the studio, they've got something interesting to say.

[ITV Sport -1 point]

ITV have nabbed an interview with England manager Fabio Capello, but laudably just ask him about the Italian side, and not about England. Somewhat less laudably, they bugger up the widescreen flags whilst doing so, meaning everyone has an elongated face, like Sarah Jessica Parker. Is it bring your kids to work (and then let them do your job) day at Network Centre?

[ITV Sport -1 point]

Meanwhile, we've been trying a new P2P program to try and see what the coverage of the match on Rai Uno is like. Annoyingly, it won't connect, suggesting either too many people are trying to use it at once, or it's too busy sucking all of our bank details out of our PC to bother. Then we tried the feed of an Argentinian channel, but that just seemed to be displaying the Argentinian flag and the component letters of the word 'Argentina' moving around the screen. By this point the match had started, so we won't be getting any foreign punditry action this afternoon. So instead we tried using the 'picture in picture' function of our excellent Topfield PVR to put The Paul O'Grady Show in the bottom corner, just because we can. He was showing two small boys a photograph of an old woman, then putting an old woman wig on. We wait fifteen years to catch up with picture in picture technology, and this is how we use it.

Half Time

We've got a working stream of a German channel. ARD, if we can still remember the logo from when our parents had old-school Sky in the early 1990s. It's nice to see that German television adverts are as mental as ever: a couple in a bath at an opera, and a load of people in a shop doing a really bad German language version of 'We Will Rock You' about said shop (presumably). Oh, and Germany have the same Nike advert where a cameraman gets to play for Arsenal - we had wondered if other markets saw the action relocated to Eintracht Frankfurt or similarly localised sports team. And also, the presentation team have bothered going to the stadium. Do you see what happens when you make an effort, ITV? Granted, the match is practically down the road from the ARD studios, but still.

[ARD +1 point]

Today's hackneyed half-time observation: Is it just us, or does Roberto Donadoni look more and more like chief Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne with each match?

That's Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, and not as George Lamb claimed on his 6Music shitfest the other day, Wayne Gretsky. Now, he could have been saying it as some sort of 'joke' with the intent of winding up right-thinking people who don't like his show, who he incorrectly categorises as all being joyless beardy musos. But it wouldn't work as a joke, because Wayne Gretsky isn't well known enough over here for it to be a worthwhile reference. None of his hangers on bothered correcting him, one of them even repeating the error, so as not to invoke the Wrath of Lamb. Bloody hell, eh?

Wondering who that French footballer in the new Betting Company/Retired Footballers Pretending To Do A Proper Job advert is? Not easy to tell for the .3 of a second they're on screen, even though it's the entire punchline to the advert. Our screen grabbing technology to the rescue.

Looks like David Ginola, although as he's largely been out of the public eye (at least over here) recently, it's not immediately noticeable who he is. That brings the number of current underwhelming television adverts featuring members of the France World Cup 1994 qualifying round team who were subsequently blamed by Gerard Houllier for their qualification-buggering draw against Bulgaria to: two.

France vs Netherlands

Putting Mark Lawrenson down for co-commentator duty? Here, at the Wankdorf stadium? Home of football club Young Boys Berne? With his love of making shit jokes? Are they mad? nb. It helps if you read that last bit out in the voice of The 13th Duke Of Wybourne. Will there be one of those moments where Comedy Lawro makes a rubbish witticism, followed by ten seconds of dead air from Motty, after which he carries on as if nothing had happened? We suspect, very much so.

Update: 21.15

Well, a refreshingly restrained performance by Comedy Lawro, and we've really been too busy enjoying the match to slag anything off. So, we'll draw a curtain over today's half-hearted live blogging (aah, so that's why we don't do it very often - we're not very good at it), and bid you all a good night as we sit back for the denouement to tonight's match.

[BBC Sport +1 point]


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