Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Billy on the Box: The A-Z of the World Cup

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas holds up the World Cup trophy as he and other team members celebrate, as South African President Jacob Zuma, front right, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter, second from right in front, look on

They think it’s Paul over - it is now, at long last

A is for Africa: It's amazing they ever get anything done on the continent, all their time is spent saying how wonderful it is to have the World Cup for every African, even the ones who have been knocking seven shades of Mozambique out of each other for decades. Still that shiny multi-million Rand new stadium will look lovely while you're living in a shed in Soweto and sitting on a bucket.

B is for BBC: Lots of back-slapping as the Beeb trounced the other lot in the Final. Don't get too excited. Let's face it, it wasn't what you had to offer it was just the ads on ITV that made people switch sides.

C is for Chiles: The most over-hyped, over-priced piece of transfer business since Juan Sebastian Veron tootled up in Salford.

D is for Desailly: Hopping about the studio like a scalded gazelle every time Ghana appeared, you wished he'd been more Marseau than Desailly. So proud to be Ghanaian no doubt those 116 French caps are now in the bin.

E is for England: Stop laughing. You have to feel for Frank Lampard. Christine, over to you.

F is for Final: A fitting climax to four weeks of sheer boredom and disappointment. Bring on Ballymena United v Lisburn Distillery.

G is for Guy: Guy Mowbray (somehow) got the big gig as final commentator, while Clive Tyldesley was on the microphone for ITV and even with Spain playing failed to mention that night in Barcelona. Guy and Clive? Sounds like two camp characters who should be presenting a makeover show on Five.

H is for Netherlands: Spain's achievement in winning the Final was all the more remarkable having to beat Holland and Netherlands in the final. Note to commentators, do your research and learn what the country is called in future.

I is for ITV: Andy O'Townsend and Chris Coleman? Why did you think this was a great idea?

J is for Jabulani: Have you ever heard as much over-inflated guff about one round, over-hyped insignificant object filled with hot air? But enough of James Corden, the ball wasn't great either.

K is for Kiwis: Destined to be the quiz question of future years — which team remained unbeaten at World Cup 2010?

L is for Lionel: Mr Messi joins the rest of the Mr nearly men of Argentina, along with Mr Heinze (57 varieties of gurning) and Mr Completelyoffhistrolley (Diego Maradona).

M is for McCarthy: The most unlikely hit of the tournament, a man whose voice could curdle zebra milk came up with the best line of the four weeks of tedium describing the Serbian goalkeeper as a ‘big tart’.

N is for Nelson: Never more than one patronising cliche away from any BBC pundit, Nelson Mandela turned up at the Final, looking like a cross between Bill Cosby and Shaft. Opinion is divided. Alan Hansen says he's an absolute legend, Lee Dixon says he's a legend. I'm not sure, but I think he's a legend.

O is for bloody Octopus: If I ever hear of Paul the bloody Octopus ever again I will jump in my car, drive to Larne and then swim to Germany, clamber like a limping limpet into its tank and give it a good kick right in the tentacles. There is only room for one slimy creature from the depths, and Chiles is now (bad sea-creature pun alert) squids in.

P is for pronunciation: No, not the African teams, South Americans or even which North Korean tickles your fanatical dictator but Germany. The humble umlaut (the two wee dots that live over vowels) that meant Joachim Loew ended up sounding as if Barry White had arrived full of Lurve and Marty Feldman look-alike Ozil sounded like he should be in the Wurzels.

Q is for Queen Sofia: The reaction of the Spanish lady king when her ninos scored the winning goal against NetherHollandlands. Poor King Willem couldn't have looked any more edammed off if someone had painted his horse orange, and on the 11th night too.

R is for radio: A few minutes listening to Radio 5 and you wonder why they were able to get people commentators who can commentate and pundits who can, err, pundit. Robbie Savage, Chris Waddle, David Moyes and even Graham Taylor were excellent, and why is Danny Baker not on TV?

S is for Shearer: A man with more medals than brain cells, such mumbling, unhelpful Geordie musings haven't been heard since Gazza turned up in Rothbury. At least he brought chicken.

T is for tailoring: The Beeb went to Top Man for the final, all neatly dressed by their respective mammies but ended up looking like reps, unlike Clarence Seedorf, who, bedecked in orange was more like Johnny Rep. ITV abandoned ties, presumably to stop people strangling them. All dressed up with nothing to show.

U is for Uruguay: Previously known as the home of corned beef it is now at least famous for two things — Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez. One a man who in a red shirt couldn't hit a Fray Bentos threatened bull on the backside with a banjo and the other the pantomime villain who dared to handle the ball against an African side. Shame on you, Suarez, shame on you. Cheats never prosper. That's bull. And not the beefy variety.

V is for Vuvezela: I warn you now, if I cover a match this year in the Irish League and see or hear one of these damned things it will be inserted right up your Limpopo.

W is for Walkers: No, not Gary's bag of choice (and we're not talking Danielle here), but Rob and Dan, last seen looking roaming across the bushveld looking for a garage to fill up their daft bus.

X is for X-rated: Nigel De Jong's tackle on Xabi Alonso in the final who looked as if he'd been felled by a wandering windmill.

Y is for why: Emmanuel Adebayor and Edgar Davids? I think we all know the answer but for legal and politically correct reasons no-one can say it.

Z is for zzzzzzzz: Is it all over? Thank goodness for that, wake me up in four years when no doubt Ronnie Biggs, Alan Brazil, a bag of Brazil nuts, Sharron Davies (Amazon from Gladiators) and a strange lady's haircut will join the commentary teams.

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