Wednesday, 16 June 2010

World in Slow Motion

The World Cup was never going to live up to the hype was it?

But I doubt too many people thought that after one complete round the tournament would be this lacklustre.

Apart from a near-master class from the Germans the other night when they ripped apart Australia and a thoroughly entertaining game last night which saw top seeds Brazil make very hard work of the North Koreans (who to be fair probably played out of their skins to avoid the firing squad when they get home) the games I’ve seen have been utterly dreadful.

The group stages of the competition never quite carry as much excitement as later rounds do, but the overbearing hype prior to the tournament kicking off last Friday seems to have made people forget that fact.

That said, it doesn’t change the fact that this World Cup, thus far, is in desperate need of a shot of adrenalin from somewhere.

Vuvuzelas might be the pantomime villain of the tournament so far in many quarters, but in the UK I would say that the real villain of the piece is the heinous TV coverage we’ve been subjected to so far.

I can only hope that our hosts, pundits and commentators are phoning it in at the moment due to the group stages being more of a war of attrition than a fight to the death; because if this is how the coverage is going to be, even when the games actually pick up, then we are in for a very long Summer.

I won’t dwell too much on James Corden’s World Cup Live, which ITV promoted almost as much as the equally dire Celebrity Juice, but suffice to say that I thought I’d give it a chance one night and managed roughly two minutes before I had to turn it off.

James Corden is not a presenter – didn’t we learn that after the BRIT Awards debacle last year? He is though the most over-exposed man in Great Britain – James, seriously mate, sometimes less is more – which is a shame because he seems like a genuinely nice guy, he just isn’t that funny and is certainly not capable of carrying his own chat show.

Corden may have actually achieved the impossible with this show, in making Johnny Vaughan’s effort from a couple of tournaments back seem like and episode of Parkinson by comparison. With guests like Abbey Clancy and Pixie Lott though, Corden never really stood a chance did he?

In terms of the actual coverage from the two channels, the BBC is certainly my preferred broadcaster, but they are by no means perfect.

I completely understand that the World Cup is all about diversity but some of the foreign pundits both channels have really seem to struggle with the English language, and having expert analysis is kind of a waste if you can’t understand what they are saying don’t you think?

Half the pundits, especially the likes of Edgar Davids, look like they would rather be anywhere else other than sat in a studio with Adrian ‘the gargoyle’ Chiles, and I know it’s wrong but I can’t help feel that half of them are only there to fill some sort of quota.

Speaking of Chiles – is this guy really worth £6 million? He looks bored to death half the time and helps build the excitement prior to the match about as much as a prostate exam would.

ITV cutting to adverts at every given opportunity doesn’t help their coverage either, neither does the fact that Clive Tyldesley is a complete and utter tit.

The BBC are marginally better than ITV in terms of host and pundits, but with the likes of Mark Bright and Lawrenson on their commentating roster – comparing the two channels commentators is like comparing herpes to crabs.

That said, why the BBC persist in throwing to Gabby Logan in the England camp during their coverage of every game is beyond me – I just want to hear about the two teams that are playing, I don’t care what Fabio Capello had for his tea or if Wayne Rooney just took a 30 second piss.

Every time I see Logan in the jungle I hope a Lion is going to leap out and eat her.

The BBC also seem to think that rubbing it in that they’re out there and we aren’t is going to endear them to us. Lineker, I don’t care if your studio rotates, nice to see my licence fee is going to a good cause though.

It may not read like it, but I do love the World Cup. I’m not as fanatical a football fan as I once was but something about the World Cup always gets me.

Four years doesn’t sound like a long time but it seems many a moon ago that Italy lifted that trophy back in 2006, so in spite of the gash coverage we all have to suffer through, let’s try and appreciate just what an amazing event this is and enjoy it while we can.


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