Tag Archives: ITV

Dave Hanratty’s Winners & Losers – Round of 16 Finale

Dave, of upcoming band After The Explosions is back with his latest evaluation of the World Cup’s heroes and villains.



So it seems the world is still in love with the European Champions. Alan Hansen described it as a “victory for attacking football” and while that point is certainly arguable given Portugal’s suffocation tactics, Spain are looking very shaky indeed. There are holes in their defence and a better team should exploit it. I expect them to ease past Paraguay but once they come against Germany or Argentina, we shall see if they are World Champions material.

David Villa

Barcelona’s new boy can do no wrong.


Another win, another curious and not overly impressive performance. The question has become whether or not Holland are deliberately not playing at their best. The question will be answered on Friday when they line out against Brazil.


Barely broke a sweat. Like Holland they haven’t really been challenged yet which makes their forthcoming clash all the more interesting. I would say mouthwatering but neither team has really excited thus far, despite showing flashes. Hopefully Friday will see the record being changed.


Into the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Gave us a fairly boring game but deserved their win.


English punditry

Tuesday saw a new low in the English presentation of the World Cup. It began with ITV’s Adrian Chiles, Andy Townsend and Gareth Southgate openly mocking the Paraguay/Japan game. While the match was undeniably dull, the relentless negativity from the ITV team was unprofessional and unnecessary.

Meanwhile over on BBC, commentator Jonathan Pearce dared to throw out some facts during the Spain/Portugal clash, leading his co-commentator Mark Lawrenson to sneer; “What were you doing before the game?”. Erm I don’t know Mark, his job perhaps? Lawrenson is a joke that is no longer funny, a decrepit and miserable dinosaur who violently lowers the quality of any football match he is allowed commentate on. Of all the complaints in this World Cup (and there have been many, both valid and invalid), my biggest one is the presence of “Lawro”. I’d rather get trapped in a lift full of tarantulas than listen to him again, but then again the alternative is George Hamilton so you can see my dilemma.

BBC also presented a solemn arthouse style film package about the the goal-line technology debate. A patronising easy listening piano plays over various footage of contentious refereeing decisions. The ref in the Germany/England game is jingoisitcally referred to as “England’s nemesis” while we get a cute little interview with nice English referee Howard Webb (who has never ever made mistakes EVER) who says he’s in favour of goal-line technology. There’s a shock.

But leave it to Alan Hansen to take the prize for the biggest idiot on display for offering the following during his analysis of David Villa’s match-winning goal; “There’s a hint of offside, but, who cares?”. His ill-timed, ill-informed and just plain disgraceful comment elicited laughter from Lineker and co but probably couldn’t have come at a worse time. If he was trying to be satirical, he failed. If he was trying to be funny, he failed. Terrible, as the man himself might say.


Negative negative negative. With the exception of the mauling of North Korea, Portugal failed to score a single goal in the competition. That game flattered them hugely and gave false hope to anybody hoping to see the attractive attacking football shown by the Portuguese in Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006. It would seem those days are over, with Carlos Quieroz and his team choosing to employ negative anti-football tactics throughout, resembling a Greece side with more flair by the end of their campaign.

The autopsy report will make for grim reading. Ronaldo was ineffectual throughout, Deco signed off his international career with a whimper while once again Portugal were absolutely toothless up front. A lot of work needs to be done before Portugal become just another football team.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lived up to his reputation as someone who vanishes in big games by entering in several anonymous performances. He also made sure to enhance his reputation as a petulant brat by spitting at the camera as he trudged off the field in defeat. Many are hesitant to place Ronaldo in the elite “best of all time” bracket and it’s disgusting acts like this that hold him back from such greatness.

While many footballers have their dark side, including Lionel Messi who seems to get away with his gradually increasing petulance due to his ability, there is no excuse for lowering yourself to such a level. It’s frustrating because we all know just how phenomenal Ronaldo can be, but it’s times like these that give his biggest defenders no cause to do so.

Joan Capdevila

The worst piece of simulation to get a player sent off this World Cup will (hopefully) see. Absolutely shameful, but not surprising considering the actions of Torres in the previous round and Sergio Busquets for Barcelona against Inter Milan in the Champions League semi-final.

Fernando Torres

Substituted just shy of the hour mark after another poor showing. He is clearly unfit and by starting him repeatedly, Vincente del Bosque risks harming both his player and his team. It will be interesting to see if  Fernando Llorente lines up alongside golden boy David Villa on Saturday night.


World Cup Daily – Winners and Losers of Day 2

In the second of his columns on the winners and losers of the day from the World Cup, Dave Hanratty aims his sights at Robert Green and co.



Torn apart after five minutes, it looked like it was going to be a very long night for the Americans, but a combination of their determination and Rob Green’s stunning incompetence saw them deservedly take a point from proceedings. Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu and Landon Donovan stood out in a team that grew in confidence as the game went on. Solid but not spectacular, they should advance from the group with little difficulty.

South Korea

Often pigeonholed as “workmanlike” and often dismissed in turn, the South Koreans combined their impressive workrate with skill and flair, cruising to an easy two nil victory over a pathetic Greece side. The scoreline flattered the 2004 European champions and in truth really should have been much more. South Korea are out to prove that their semi-final appearance in 2002 was no fluke, and while that might be a touch optimistic, they should not be underestimated.


Gabriel Heinze’s header on six minutes seemed to invite the floodgates to open. Were it not for the heroics of Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, it could have been an embarrassing day for the African side. While Enyeama won his personal battle with Lionel Messi, it was Maradona’s men who won the war, although they will need to produce a better performance against more credible opposition.

Mick McCarthy

“When I looked at the teamsheet I had to ask if it was THE Veron!”. An all expenses paid trip to the World Cup and an easy commentary gig without doing any homework. Good job Mick.


Rob Green

It would be tragic if it wasn’t so funny.

James Milner

Whether or not Milner’s 30th minute substitution was down to illness or a fear that he may get sent off, the possibly Man City-bound midfielder was given a huge opportunity and promptly blew it.


You get the feeling that they would be content to suffocate teams to 0-0 draws until the end of time. Thankfully the South Koreans were able to find away around their disgusting anti-football tactics.

Anglo/Korean Relations

Hats off once again to Peter Drury of ITV for coming out with faux-xenophobic rhetoric. Remarking on the “bench full of Kims” wasn’t enough for the gormless commentator. On half-time he declared that it was “a walk in the PARK” for South Korea. Because Park is a common Korean surname you see? Genius.

NB: I didn’t see ITV’s coverage of the England/USA game, so if anybody can shed some light on what I missed, feel free to add a comment.

Anglo/Korean relations

The Winners and Losers of Day 1

Dave Hanratty evaluates the heroes and villains of the opening day of the World Cup Finals.


While not especially impressive, the South Americans picked up an important point against arguably their toughest opponents in Group A. A victory in their next game will put them in the driving seat. While all four teams could only manage a draw, Uruguay will be happy with the solitary point.

Siphiwe Tshabalala

The World Cup has often been a shop window of sorts for players previously unknown on the world stage, and the first goalscorer of the tournament has done his future prospects no harm. Following on from Philip Lahm’s screamer against Costa Rica in the opening game of 2006, Tshabalala capped off a fine passing move with an absolutely spectacular finish. Expect to see it again come the inevitable goal of the tournament competition.


Ireland may not be there, but we can relax in the warm, glowing embrace of the RTE punditry team. It took less than an hour for things to descend into surrealism, from Johnny Giles desperately trying to remember the title of Casablanca (all the while ignoring poor Graeme Souness) and host Darragh Maloney presenting the panel with three customised England jerseys. Souness couldn’t hide his disgust, but he was no doubt on edge due to the constant needling of arch-nemesis Eamonn Dunphy. Forget potential scrapes between Germany and Ghana, it’ll be a miracle if Souness and Dunphy don’t come to blows before July 11th.

Deaf people

For they will never know the horrors of the vuvuzela.


Everyone else

Unlike the omnipresent horn, I shall refrain from droning on at length regarding the subject. While not quite as irritating as feared, the vuvuzela does have the ability to really distract from proceedings. RTE host Darragh Maloney was at pains to point out to complaining viewers that there is nothing RTE can do about it, so it’s a case of just getting used to it. One can’t help but wonder what confusing scenes would unfold should a swarm of bees descend upon the stadium.


The unforgettable method of their qualification masked just how poor 2006’s finalists were throughout their campaign. Their performance against Uruguay was listless and uninspired. Sidney Govou’s early miss will be rued in the French camp as they managed to come up with nothing else in a fairly tedious game. While they should ease past Mexico and South Africa, this performance recalled the 2002 World Cup campaign which saw France fall at the first hurdle.

South Africa

While it may seem cruel to put the hosts in the losing column given the spirit, energy and conviction they played with and the grand atmosphere provided, South Africa should have three points on the board. A combination of sloppy finishing and sloppier defending saw to it that they only have one. While John Giles may have dismissed goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s dramatic head-in-hands reaction as him trying to get his photograph in tomorrow’s paper, the reality is that the South Africans now have a huge mountain to climb to progress.


Failing to enter the half-time break a goal up invited South Africa to attack and gave them the belief that they could win. The Mexicans showed little of their impressive pre-World Cup form, lacking bite up front and playing a largely pedestrian game. A point helps neither team and both France and Uruguay will have looked on with confidence for their forthcoming encounters.

Carlos Vela

The sometime Arsenal forward was utterly anonymous throughout.

Steven Pienaar

The pre-match talk was laced with rumours that Arsenal are looking to sign the impressive Everton midfielder, however his performance was so lacklustre he will hope Arsene Wenger wasn’t watching.

Sepp Blatter

His very odious presence threatened to derail the fun and games.


By contrast to RTE’s warts-and-all coverage, ITV have sauntered down the road marked “patronisation”. From Ned Boulton harassing the locals in Soweto to Peter Drury shrieking “BAFANA BAFANA!” and “A goal for ALL of Africa!” following Tshabalala’s stunning strike, it’s a wonder they didn’t stop short of patting an African child on the head. Heavy-handed and clumsy, it’s what we’ve come to expect from ITV, and the scary part is that Clive Tyldsley and David Pleat have yet to be unleashed.

On the punditry side of things, Adrian Chiles was more dead-eyed than usual and his teleprompter reading much more noticeable, while Andy Townsend’s pink shirt was more offensive than the vuvuzelas in the stadium. ITV’s production values are obviously going to outshine RTE, but their overall delivery leaves a lot to be desired. And let’s not mention James Corden, shall we?