The tournament may be over, but Twinty Tin isn’t quite done yet. As every other football related website on the planet ‘takes a look back’ at this year’s World Cup we decided to do something a little different. Sadly though the lack of a suitable arena hindered our planned World Cup 2010 On Ice spectacular and so we’ve had to fall back on plan B and just do one of those token award based round ups. Here’s the best and the worst and the ideal television panel of this year’s World Cup as viewed by the Twinty Tin team.
Which was the Match of the Tournament?
Dan: Slovakia versus Italy
Matt: Ghana versus Uruguay had everything; great football, outrageous cheating, controversy, and a penalty shootout, something which always manages to make my heart pound and nerves somersault even when I’m relatively neutral.
Steve: Germany’s 4-0 demolition of Australia was very enjoyable, mostly because the commentators were absolutely stunned at how good Germany were. They simply could not fathom why this German team (that didn’t feature a single Premier League player) was playing so well in comparison to England’s moribund performance against the United States the previous day.
Glen: France versus Mexico was particularly enthralling, with Mexico simply much better equipped mentally and tactically to stay in the tournament than their soon to implode opponents. Watching Raymond Domenesch, helpless or perhaps too stubborn to prevent what was going on around him, standing alone on the edge of his technical area in the final minutes staring forlornly ahead like a man watching his house burn down with the fire-brigade nowhere to be seen, was genuine car-crash television.
What was your Goal of the Tournament?
Dan: Giovanni van Bronckhorst versus Uruguay. Boom!
Matt: For its sheer jaw-dropping amazement factor, Clint Dempsey for USA against England. Robert Green deserves to be forever lauded as a true Guardian of the goalposts, primarily due to having all the commanding presence between the sticks of a broadsheet newspaper rustling forlornly in the Rustenburg breeze.
Steve: Landon Donvan’s last-minute goal against Algeria which gave the United States the lead and saw them top Group B. Anyone who still believes that people from the States don’t ‘get’ football should be made to watch the numerous YouTube videos available showing the jubilant reaction to the goal in bars across the US. If Donovan hadn’t scored that goal then England would have topped Group B and played Ghana in the last 16. It could have been all so different.
Glen: I can’t decide between two and as I’m editing this page so I’m not going to do so. Fabio Quagliarella’s chip over Slovakia’s Jan Mucha was a gloriously taken goal, not least for his ability to calmly execute such a sublime finish in amongst the complete madness of that fixture. And also Japan’s third goal against Denmark, scored by Shinji Okazaki, but made by a couple of fantastic pieces of skill by Yoshito Okubo and Keitsuke Honda. It was overshadowed by the two first half free-kicks Japan scored but it was the best team goal of the tournament and completed a brilliant Japanese performance.
What was your favourite moment of the tournament?
Dan: Netherlands beating Brazil
Matt: Steven Gerrard patronising Algeria to within an inch of their lives; “You have to give them credit. This is their World Cup final and they’ve managed to get a draw off us”. Nice one Stevie, why not just pat them on the head and give them a lollipop while you’re at it too, eh? I also heard a rumour that he went into the opposition changing room after the match in Bloemfontein and gave each member of the German squad 50p that he’d found behind their ear.
Steve: I’ve always loved watching players hurdle hoardings when celebrating a goal. For a British football fan it’s quite an exotic sight as very few grounds in this country have the right set up to enable it. The only time I’ve ever seen a player hurdle the fence at a football match was at non-league Bracknell Town when a forward hurdled the barriers behind the goal to celebrate with his mates after scoring an audacious chip. He was booked for his efforts – quite rightly. It’s with this in mind that I’d nominate Milan Jovanovic, who not only hurdled the advertising hoardings to celebrate, but also jumped into a moat. Jovanovic signed for Liverpool this week, disappointingly there is no moat around the pitch at Anfield.
Glen: Either the epic final minute of the Ghana against Uruguay match and all that it brought, or Frank Lampard’s unseen goal against Germany. Now I should point out at this point that I have nothing against England, I’d have been quite happy for them to have won the tournament, but for that to happen, at the detriment of England in a match against Germany was genuinely amazing. If you’d written it as a work of fiction beforehand you would have been laughed at. For England fans reading, imagine you had just seen Argentina eliminated by a goal that was clearly turned in by a player’s hand. You’d laugh wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you?
Which team did you most enjoy watching?
Matt: Germany. When they played Argentina rather than England though, obviously.
Steve: I really enjoyed the watching the United States as something interesting always seemed to happen during their games. The States began with Robert Green’s fumble, followed by a wonderful comeback from 2-0 down, then struck a last-minute winner against Algeria, before an intriguing 120 minutes against Ghana in the second round that ultimately ended in disappointment.
Glen: Chile. Whilst Brazil, Germany and Argentina took the plaudits for throwing men forward, no team embraced the concept of attack with such reckless abandon as Chile did, with an approach that said yes we could have a holding midfielder, but that would just be one less person in attack, so why bother? Inevitably this ultimately cost them their place in the tournament, but at least they went all out to win every game and no team concerned eventual winners Spain as much as the South American side did.
Which was your favourite World Cup kit?
Dan: Spain’s home kit.
Matt: Slovenia. If, as it seems, the technology exists to display a large ECG on the front of shirts to allow players to monitor their own heart rate, why are Slovenia the only nation forward-thinking enough to embrace it?
Steve: Ghana’s yellow and red change kit. It’s very difficult to go wrong with such a marvellous set of colours. I’d like to specifically nominate John Pantsil wearing Ghana’s change kit. Throughout the tournament Pantsil wore an undershirt that covered only one of his arms, the other one was left bare.
Glen: Paraguay. More international teams really should wear hooped socks
Which was your favourite National Anthem?
Dan: Het Wilhelmus (Netherlands).
Matt: I always seem to miss the anthems. I could just make something up but I have far too much respect for Twinty Tin readers to do that.
Steve: Spain’s. Only because the players not singing during the anthem has caused a few pundits to question the morale within the Spanish camp. The Spanish anthem has no words.
Glen: The Slovak National Anthem is impressively relentless, it just keeps going, plodding forwards like a pensioner in the snow. It’s the musical equivalent of those trick candles that you can’t blow out.
What one thing will you miss most from this World Cup?
Dan: The Guardian‘s World Cup Daily podcast.
Matt: ‘Bat-shit crazy’ Diego Maradona and his uncanny resemblance to globetrotting gentleman lion Willy Fog.
Steve: The lack of heavily sponsored team kits. The kits in the World Cup are generally nice large blocks of colour. The kits I’ll see in the Football League next season will feature horrific logos for double glazing and online betting firms across the arse of many players.
Glen: Being able to show a genuine interest in a match such as Honduras versus Chile without folk questioning your sanity, moral fibre or general approach to life. Makes a welcome change to the reaction I usually get when people find out I go to watch Doncaster Rovers regularly. That said, my major regret is not spotting ‘Bat-shit crazy’ Diego Maradona’s resemblance to Willy Fog until Matt just pointed it out.
What will you miss the least from this World Cup?
Dan: The co-commentary of Mick McCarthy, Mark Lawrenson, and Mark Bright
Matt: Mark Lawrenson’s sneering cynicism. If you don’t want to be there, give the job to someone who does
Steve: Time after time teams would get into a good position only for a player to spank the ball aimlessly twenty yards over the bar. Perhaps it’s because international players spend so little time with one another that they don’t care what their team-mate thinks of them, but some players really do need to learn to pass the ball rather than attempt to see their name up in lights. I wholly blame Nike’s Write the Future advert for this.
Glen: Four things, in no particular order. FIFA’s walk-on music, sounds like the incidental music you would hear in a Police Academy film, and having heard it three times a day during the groups stages it was embedded in my conscience better than my PIN number. Defining countries by their population, I could tell you with more confidence how many people live in Slovakia than I could how many live in my building. James Corden, if I wanted something chubby faced jumping up and down desperate for attention in a box in the corner of my room I would have bought a hamster. Those bloody cars playing football either side of the ad breaks on ITV, which have surely encouraged more people to torch a Hyundai than buy one.
What was the most overstated fact, aspect or words of the tournament?
Dan: “Totally” – cheers Alan Hansen.
Matt: The bloody ball. We get it, it’s round. What do you want Adidas, a fucking medal?
Steve: Almost every time Serbian coach Raddy Antic appeared on screen the commentator would mention his goal for Luton Town that kept the Hatters in the top flight and led to a delighted David Pleat partaking in a triumphant jig across the Kenilworth Road pitch. It appears that for British commentators Antic’s career can be been summed up by a journeyman manager in a bad suit, rather than Antic’s achievements managing Barcelona, Read Madrid amongst a host of top Spanish sides.
Glen: “The mood in the camp”. There are prisoners on suicide watch whose mood is monitored less closely than the England ‘camp’ were. Day after day, hour after hour Gabby Logan and/or Gabriel Clarke would stand in a hotel car-park trying to convey the collective feeling of a bunch of individuals. It was the television equivalent of your other half leaning over to you in a quiet moment and asking “What’re you thinking?” And then doing the same thing forty-five minutes later. And again the next day.
Finally, construct your ideal World Cup television panel, starting with the presenter;
Dan: James Richardson
Matt: Adrian Chiles, because I feel guilty that I complained to ITV as I thought my picture was horribly distorted. They assured me that Chiles always looks like that
Steve: Its time for the long-awaited return to ‘proper telly’ of Des Lynam
Glen: Colin Murray, I didn’t see much of his BBC football coverage debut, but he sits in an ideal position between Gary Lineker’s past player banter and Adrian Chiles’ ‘I’m just a fan like you’ routine
Commentator of choice:
Dan: Peter Brackley
Matt: Jonathan Pearce. Best of a particularly bad bunch.
Steve: Jacqui Oatley. She gets a lot of unfair stick for having a female voice, but when I’ve listened to her commentate on my own team Cardiff City she’s always quite obviously done her research, many others don’t bother. I’m thinking of you here Mark Lawrenson.
Glen: Steve Wilson swings it for me, a no-nonsense commentator with a decent amount of humour in his delivery. He was particularly impressive in the Japan vs Denmark game as he soldiered onwards despite incorrectly predicting the outcome of every Japanese free-kick.
Your ideal co-commentator;
Dan: Jose Antonio Camacho
Matt: Jim Beglin, health permitting.
Steve: Mick McCarthy. He’s come in for quite a bit of stick this World Cup, not least for his comment about whether it was “the same Veron”, but I find his ‘no-nonsense-Northerner’ style quite endearing and amusing at times. I actually think the Veron comment was a very ill-delivered joke rather than a lack of knowledge
Glen: Martin Keown continues to show a sound understanding of the game that you wouldn’t expect from a man most remembered for jumping around Ruud van Nistelrooy like a Orangotan. His stinging “his career is passing him by” criticism of Niklas Bendtner’s laziness was perfectly delivered and much better than the usual co-commentator staple “he’s had a shocker”. I’ll add that, like Steve, I’m also a fan of Mick McCarthy’s token unimpressed Northerner routine.
And lastly choose your perfect three pundit panel of those at the World Cup;
Dan: Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Jurgen Klinsmann
Matt: Gareth Southgate, because seeing his face on TV makes me glad I haven’t wasted money on upgrading to HD. Andy Townsend; I follow him on Twitter (@andydtownsend) so I know that deep down he’s a comedy genius and I keep watching him on ITV in the hope that some of that comic talent is allowed to flourish on TV, but for some reason it never is. And Alan Shearer for the laughs at his ineptitude. A player who retired from the professional game after wearing his elbow out on opposition defenders, and who now doesn’t seem to be able to differentiate between that and his arse when it comes to tactical insight.
Steve: Roy Hodgson, who I am reliably informed was sent to South Africa by the UN to lead a ‘Crimes Against Punditry’ task force. Alongside Roy I’d place Alan Shearer who appears to revel in the role of Catchphrase contestant, egged on by Lineker playing Roy Walker, imploring Big Al to simply “say what you see”; an invaluable service to blind viewers. My final place on the panel has to go to Emmanuel Adebayor, who despite barely uttering a dozen understandable words during his stint as a sofa pundit still managed to offer more insight into the games than Alan Hansen, Lee Dixon and Garth Crooks managed in their four-week stay in South Africa
Glen: As ever the BBC’s ‘guest’ pundits showed their regular collection of golfing buddies how it should be done. Clarence Seedorf was refreshingly open and honest, particularly when talking on the Netherlands. Roy Hodgson consistently showed why he is such a respected manager, happy to go out on a limb with predictions at odds with the rest of the panel, and always proved right. Finally Jurgen Klinsmann was particularly brilliant, not least before the Uruguay versus South Africa match when despite being subject to a gleeful school choir, an impassioned speech by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the South African team themselves singing en route to the stadium he refused to let sentiment cloud his judgement and steadfastly maintained his prediction of Uruguay win. It’s that sort of resolve that routinely reaches World Cup semi-finals you know.
So that’s our collective unprofessional opinions on the past month’s football aired. You probably disagree, with some if not all of what we’ve said, after all you’re your own person, you really are, and don’t let anyone tell you differently you hear. Please comment below and let us know who you’d choose for any or each of the above categories.