Belfast Telegraph

You get nothing for a Per – not in this game

Billy on the Box

I had no real desire to tune in to see England take on Germany B on Tuesday night but after Adrian Chiles' outburst against Polish builders recently, I just had to see how he'd treat the old enemy.

As the opening titles rolled with images of buildings springing back to life from rubble, I half expected Chiles to come on dressed as Winston Churchill and point an accusatory cigar in the direction of Per Mertesacker (pictured) and his ancestors.

But before we could fight them on the beaches, up popped Adrian outside Germany's dressing room door with a 'welcome to Wembley, look who's here' and, surprise, surprise, some footage from a game back in 1966.

"We beat them then and they've been making us pay ever since – it almost makes you wish things had been different," he added, and for the first time ever I was in total agreement with him.

This then led to a rather surreal trip to a parallel universe where the outcomes of all the games between the two countries were reversed, thus changing everything completely, well, apart from Frank Lampard's goal being allowed meaning that England only lost that one 4-2.

Not everyone had received the memo that things had changed, commentator Clive Tyldesley's opening gambit reminding us that "the last time England were beaten 2-0 at home they won their next match 5-1 – in Germany." I think you'll find that's now a 5-1 defeat.

Spare a thought too for Andy O'Townsend, he's already had to change allegiances once to get a game of international football, and was getting to grips with being called Andreas and wondering if his imaginary 'O' needed an umlaut.

"We can't change the past, but we can have a crack at improving the future," insisted Adrian, and with Lee Dixon and Ian Wright beside him how could they fail?

Mainly when they opened their mouths, Mertesacker's winning goal leading to Dixon pointing out that "Smalling gets beat in front of him" and Wright saying the German defender "don't need anything."

"So, it comes down as so often, Michael, to not doing the basics right, a basic, a basic, a basic ... " as Adrian melted down only to be rescued by Herr Ballack, the aforementioned Michael, who, in perfect English, explained what had happened.

Wright had an opinion too, feeling that Joe Hart has to stop coming off his line so much, or as he put it, "he's like a fly with a blue light – he just can't stop himself" and thankfully Chiles put all thoughts of doodlebugs away from his mouth.

But perhaps I'm being too harsh, there is a sinister, dark force emerging, one that threatens to destroy the established order, with an ad break for a new game with the tag line 'a new evil has arisen' followed by Jake Humphrey talking about BT Sport. You have been warned.

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