Every man has their breaking point and when it comes to the standard of co-commentary in football I’ve reached mine.
I tolerated “Keeper no chance” for a while but this season it’s just become ridiculous. It’s being said after every goal, regardless of how savable it actually was. There are many culprits, but here’s a selection of a few recent standouts:
I was part of the record crowd at Wembley last night to see Great Britain’s Women defeat Brazil 1-0 in the group stages of the Olympic Football tournament. I saw their warm up match and 2 previous group games on TV, as I have with most of England’s games over the years, but seeing them in person gave me a new appreciation of just how good they are to watch.
There’s some talk around this morning that Spain might be boring. Some are questioning whether it’s their style of play or the fact that they are just winning everything. Let’s take a look at both of those arguments and try and determine how exciting it is to watch them play.
The pundits on TV didn’t seem to think this was a good idea. One of their best penalty takers never got the chance to step forward and help the team. Strangely, I don’t recall criticism of Portugal or Ronaldo when he took 5th and scored the winner against England in the 2006 World Cup. Nobody said Chelsea got it wrong by letting Drogba go 5th in the Champions League Final last month. This is just another case of pundits waiting until the outcome before deciding what their opinion is.
So, where should Ronaldo have gone in the order?
The World Cup began in 1930, the European Championships in 1960. A total of 33 major tournaments and England have won just one of them. In fairness, we didn’t enter the first 3 World Cups, but 1 out of 30 isn’t great from a nation that thinks of itself as one of the big guns.
Sweden don’t have the same expectations as England do, yet our major tournament performances have been remarkably surprisingly similar.
As expected the announcement of John DeCaro has brought smiles to the faces of fans of the other EIHL teams and elicited these quotes on Steeltalk:
I had a go at the BBC’s pundits for being really predictable in my last post. With the exception of Jan Molby nobody stuck their neck out and broadly they all predicted the same set of results. They were safe, dull and will probably turn out to be wrong anyway.
Picking individual games is a recipe for trouble. At the start of last season would you have backed Wigan to get 40+ points? Quite possibly. Would you have backed them to win at Liverpool, at Arsenal and against Man United within the space of 4 weeks? Almost certainly not.
I’m not going to be able to predict all 31 results, or even all 6 within a group, or even any team’s first 3 games with any certainty. Despite those constraints, here are my predictions, complete with the logic behind them. They aren’t especially shocking but they go against the conventional wisdom on display right now.
BBC Sport asked 16 of its pundits to say who they thought would be the champions and who else would make up the final four. Here’s a breakdown of how often each team was selected to get as far as at least the semi finals:
Germany - 16 (10 wins, 4 runners up, 2 semis)
Spain - 16 (5 wins, 7 runners, 4 semis)
Netherlands - 15 (1 win, 3 runners up, 11 semis)
France - 12 (3 runners up, 9 semis)
Portugal - 2 (2 semis)
England - 1 (1 semi)
Poland - (1 semi)
Germany, Spain, Netherlands and France are the bookies top four teams. You could ask anyone in the street and they’d probably tell you those 4 teams in some order too.
Are the pundits giving us any actual insight here? I don’t think so.