Belfast Telegraph

Billy Weir: Young ones are a big hit

A sideways look at the World Cup on television

It would be fair to say that there were contrasting fortunes for two pundits from the Emerald Isle as Day Six of the World Cup drew to a boring and tedious close.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, well, in Rio but closer to the jungle than Dublin, Neil Lennon was in full swing, Tarzan-style, for the Beeb but back home, things were far from well for Eamon Dunphy.

The world's grumpiest man had good reason to be down in the grumps as he let rip with a very naughty word that suggested Neymar had been quite anxious when taking a penalty against Croatia.

This caused the sort of Twitter meltdown not witnessed since, well, Saturday night when Phil Neville's soothing words were sending a continent to kip. Perhaps a lesson to be learned there, Phil. Just chuck in a few F-words tonight and you'll be grand.

Even funnier was Dunphy being forced to sit on the naughty step by Bill O'Herlihy and address the nation in Jackanory-style to apologise to all the boys and girls. First time I've ever felt sorry for him.

And it was all about the young ones for Lennon as Russia took on South Korea in a game where no-one wanted to win, even though the Koreans had more reason than most.

"They have a great incentive when they come to these big tournaments because some the young ones have the threat of National Service hanging over them," he explained.

"So if they do well in these games that gets washed away and they're free to live their lives accordingly." Indeed, to win the chance for freedom of speech, but not in Dublin.

The only problem was that in the South Korean team there were four Youngs, two Yongs, a Heung, a Jeong and Yueng, so if they do well that means only poor old Koo Ja Cheol will be standing trembling in a look-out tower facing Pyongyang.

But at least it's not Siberia, where bungling Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev is likely to spend the rest of his days but did provide Lennon with the chance to use the best line of the tournament thus far.

"He reminded me of Joe Bugner tonight – he wore gloves for no apparent reason as well," he said, as the studio guffawed.

Even Dunphy may have smiled back home. Or perhaps not.

Belfast Telegraph


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