Belfast Telegraph

A fab start but the fans get a little shirty

By Billy Weir

And with a few dancing trees, raindrops wriggling about on the pitch and JLO trying to escape the clutches of a Pitbull, the World Cup was upon us.

The opening ceremony was always going to be a chore we had to endure, even with JLO wobbling quite alarmingly, but even by the buttock-clenching hypocrisy of most of these things, the sight of Fifa making three kids dander out and release doves into the Sao Paolo skies was cringeworthy.

Sepp Blatter probably had them shot and stuffed. The doves I mean.

It did allow ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley the chance to throw in a 'doves from above' line but the real shooting stars were to come from the host nation. Albeit with a helping hand from a Japanese ref and a handless clown of a keeper from Croatia.

That was as good as it got for Clive, who made a mockery of my previous prediction of mentioning England two minutes into the game. I humbly apologise. It was three minutes.

At least in the studio, though, the two lions of Adrian Chiles and Lee Dixon were met by men of the world. Champions in fact in the shape, and how Chiles was taken with the shape, of Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira, both of whom have lifted the famous trophy.

Dixon's most successful lift was the day Tony Adams got him to the training ground in one piece.

At least he read the memo that light blue shirts were the order of the day, a quick glance and you'd have thought you were in an Ulsterbus canteen.

Chiles bucked the trend, in a dark blue number suspiciously like the one he sweated profusely in during England's game in Miami last week. It may explain why they sat slightly further away from him than usual.

Onto the game and it was a fairytale for the wee lad without a mother – Neymar – who scored and Chiles said he 'made 200 million people jump up in the air at precisely the same time.'

Is America not supposed to disappear if that happens?

South America is still okay, judging by the rioters on the street, who took out their anger on the ITV studio with 'sharp, clattering sounds greeting our ears'. I just thought JLO was back on stage.

Belfast Telegraph


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