Belfast Telegraph

Not even Alan Hansen can say a prayer for Brazil

By Billy Weir

Where do you start? The most incredible match not just of this World Cup but ever and ITV must have been spitting feathers that it fell into the Farah-clad laps of the Beeb.

"Big Phil – possibly the worst two words on television," began a cautious Gary Lineker, fearing a tense stalemate when we all know the worst two words on television are 'Robbie' and 'Savage'.

Perhaps the most relieved man in Brazil on Tuesday night was Alan Hansen after his gaffe that could have brought down the curtain on his punditry career.

In fairness, he only has one more game to go, but there was serious danger of the carriage clock being returned to the catalogue after footage showed David Luiz pointing to the heavens and chanting manically for guidance.

"I don't know what that is about," said a dismissive Hansen as Christians across the globe struggled to turn the other cheek but an hour later he could have been refusing to sell cakes for a mixed marriage wedding in Monkstown and no-one would have batted an eyelid.

"You always feel there's a mistake there," added Hansen on Luiz and we all thought 'nonsense, PSG have just splashed out £50m on him, he's the best' and with this in mind the two Alans – Hansen and Shearer – plumped for Brazil and Rio Ferdinand in Rio went for Germany.

Commentator Steve Wilson offered little hope for the Germans either, explaining that it had been 66 games since Brazil had lost a competitive match on home soil, but when the first goal went in he started to change his tune.

"Brazil have a mountain to climb in their own backyard," he said, which was handy as Jason Mohammad was in the ground, along with wee Juninho whose face was even whiter than his shirt by the break as goal after goal followed.

"The dreams of 200 Brazilians look now like mere fantasy," said Wilson at 3-0 and to be fair if only 200 of you believed in the first place, is it any wonder Luiz was seeking divine intervention?

There was more chance of Candy Devine making an intervention, as Martin Keown explained how the absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva had had an effect.

"It's like without their two main players it's like pulling the plug out of the bath," he said, with poor Fred, or bloody awful Fred, bearing the brunt, steadfastly refusing not to break sweat. There's more chance of the camp at Twaddell Avenue moving.

"In 18 minutes the host nation's emotions have gone from euphoric hope to utter desolation and despair," began Lineker at the break, handing over to Hansen who couldn't believe his luck at the chance to really put the boot in.

"In the annals of time there has never been a game like this – it's total humiliation. Every facet of defending – a lack of urgency, communication, positioning, the cover, it's about four levels below rock bottom," he hinted.

"David Luiz is supposed to be the captain, he's the leader but he's abandoned ship," added Shearer before praising the Germans' passing and movement as 'awesome'.

"Wait a minute," retorted Hansen, sounding more like Rab C Nesbitt by the second, "there's 26 mistakes in there," as off camera he pulled on a headband, pulled out a rolled-up copy of the Daily Record and starting slapping Shearer.

At the end, Lineker addressed the nation.

"We've just witnessed one of the truly astonishing victories in football history. This was not just one of the game's superpowers beating a small nation, this was Brazil," he said, sounding a wee bit like an M and S ad.

"Let me tell you boy," Hansen didn't begin.

"I am totally distraught. I've been watching football for over 50 years. The high point was definitely the Brazilian side in 1970, this is a low point for me, to come over to Brazil and see them capitulate in the way they did."

The final words went to Lineker.

"On the night Brazil's beautiful game died, Deutschland are in dreamland," he said, but not as much as the Beeb were.

James fails to bring the House down in Rio

For the final word on the game I switched over to Eurosport for the ever bizarre Copacabana Live, where presenter Ashley House was joined by David James as the rain lashed down in Rio.

It seemed to have dampened James’ spirits, the former England keeper, bedecked in a purple shirt and dazzling red trousers that made him look like the Muppet Jim Henson forgot to finish, couldn’t hide his anti-German feelings.

“The Germans — efficient, decent, annoying,” he said, forgetting to add anything about the war, but Ashley was quick to appease European viewers.

He wasn’t as quick to apologise for surely the most convoluted and contrived ending to a programme ever.

“You may have read about David slaying Goliath but it was no children’s story tonight, it was much more like a horror show,” he said. Who teaches him his Bible stories, Alan Hansen?

“There was no Goliath, although Hulk was incredible, incredibly bad that is. Brazil were again a sleeping giant and David Luiz wasn’t even close but it was Klose.”

Clearly Jim had been making two Muppets…

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