Belfast Telegraph

ITV boys fawn over Italian stallion Fab

By Billy Weir

It took 60 days of the World Cup before I found myself wholeheartedly agreeing with something Adrian Chiles said. It finally happened on Wednesday night.

"Every time you watch this it's impossible to do so without shaking your head in disbelief," he said.

I think he was referring to Germany edging past Brazil earlier in the week but he could well have been talking about Fabio Cannavaro who, despite all the odds, has survived to the end of the tournament.

The only problem is which one of his new ITV admirers will he go home with, as Lee Dixon finally made his move by getting one seat closer as Chiles shuffled his across to make an unsavoury Italian sandwich.

Martin O'Neill continued to play hard to get with the stallion of the ITV stable, refusing to fawn over Fabio, as Chiles brought up that it was 'eight years to the day since you lifted the World Cup' bringing about Cannavaro's coy Lady Di look and camp laugh, while Dixon patted one shoulder and Chiles playfully pinched the other.

They probably all had a manly roll around on the living room mat when we went for a break as Martin shook his head and muttered 'it wasn't like this in Spain with Pat Jennings and Norman Whiteside.'

There was another love-in as we finally got round to mention that Holland and Argentina were playing in Sao Paulo with Matt Smith joined by Glenn Hoddle and Ian Wright, who continues to call the former midfield maestro 'gaffer'.

I wish he'd tape up his mouth. Then, with Monty Python all the rage at the moment, there was a slight twist to a famous sketch as Smith blurted out 'seagulls today?'

"I do seagulls," answered Wright, as the gaffer looked on bemused, and then I realised what they meant was goals. We didn't see any, or indeed seagulls or albatrosses.

Another 'dreaded' penalty shoot-out followed 120 minutes of sheer boredom, and clearly Chiles had lost the mat match-up as he began to tire of Cannavaro's boasting when asked had he lost a 'dreaded' shoot-out.

"Yes, in '98 against the French, but in 2006 we won the World Cup on penalties ... " he smiled and blushed, as Dixon giggled but Chiles replied 'yes, yes, we know' and you sense by tomorrow he'll be sitting with his back to Fabio, who'll probably have Lee on his lap.

Don't cry for me, err, Brazil

SKY prised Charlie Nicholas away from his Spanish holiday long enough for one of their World Cup Verdict slots on Thursday and clearly he was in a bit of a mood.

Poor Hayley McQueen was doing her best to flog a dead horse asking Champagne, or perhaps Sangria Charlie, his opinion on the third/fourth play-off match tonight.

"It's a total waste of time. I don't see the point," he hinted, as under the desk he wished he'd taken off his Speedos before hot-footing it from Spain.

Charlie commented on the tears after a Brazilian dream was left in tatters. That's football by the way.

"They've cried, apologised – they were crying before kick-off. It's time they faced it like men," blasted Charlie, who, like all Scotsmen, has never cried, except when his Speedos are on too tight.

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