Three weeks into the World Cup and, despite some entertaining games, it is still events around the edge of the actual football that are grabbing my attention.
Also, if you ever have a bright idea about running a Prediction League for the World Cup, try to resist the urge.
Luis Suarez – This guy is such a rich vein of entertainment on so many levels. When he arrived home in Uruguay, hundreds of people congregated outside his house to generally gawp at him and his kid on the balcony. They chanted a song about the Uruguayan people being behind him, all “three million hearts and six million arms”. Really? Not one single amputee in Montevideo? I find that quite hard to believe.
Big Screen – I never cease to be amazed at the whoppers you see making themselves look an arse on the big screen at football matches by waving like a mad man when the camera falls on them? It’s not cool and I’d like to think if it happened to me I’d behave accordingly. I was snapped by the ITV cameras once when working in Athens and going to watch Newcastle play Panionios in Europa League tie with a colleague. Good job I’d told the wife beforehand, otherwise being spotted on national TV, thousands of miles from home chatting with a busty blonde might have been awkward.
Mexican Wave – Talking of whoppers at sporting events, I see that Wimbledon is back. Does any other sport event attract such annoying spectators as tennis and, in particular, Wimbledon? I mean, really, Mexican waves in between points? As if the incessant grunting on the court, and the fact that the poor pampered players get two chances to serve the ball over the net, isn’t bad enough we have to put up with imbeciles in the crowd, singing along to Cliff Richard or giggling lime school girls whenever a player slices a ball into the crowd or a ball-boy lips over. Seriously, grow up!
ITV Pundits – Is can’t just be me that has noticed the following? Pre-match, Martin O’Neill and co have been dressed very casually in shorts and flip flops at their Copacabana beach-front studio. By the time Adrian Chiles has bumbled over his link at the end of the first half, they are all dolled up to the nines ready for hitting Rio (the night-life, not Ferdinand). So, while they are getting ready to turn out, they clearly cannot be taking in the match. It goes a long way to explaining their standard of comments and brings a whole new meaning to the oft-used phrase “he must have been watching a totally different game to me?
Germany Free-kick – Having worked with Germans, I have a huge respect for Teutonic efficiency and attention to detail. That is why I am not for one minute buying into the theory that Thomas Mueller deliberately fell over in the run-up to that free-kick the other night? What was all that about? Apparently, they had studied hundreds of clips on YouTube in search of a sure-fire way to score directly from a free-kick. Here’s an idea – give it to Jordi Gomez, instead of prancing about on the floor. Subterfuge? I’ve seen less wooden acting in Thunderbirds.
See you on the edge of the penalty area – Griff