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The 2014 World Cup On TV

Updated on July 22, 2014

World Cup On TV

After recently watching the vast majority of the World cup on TV probably my main complaint is that I don’t really have much to complain about this time. In the past I have always seemed to have a few things to moan about,- usually the pundits and commentators but this time the coverage from both BBC and ITV was really good.

I don’t know whether they are all getting better or I’m mellowing in showing anger to a TV set as I get older. Maybe a bit of both.

I still don’t know if we need pundits right enough. People telling us what we have already seen. If there has to be any why can’t it just be 1 or 2 through the competition rather than an ever changing lineup. Also is there any need to have everyone actually in the country where the tournament is taking place. Surely they can give the same opinions if watching the game from a screen in Britain rather than from a screen over there.

But these are just my own quibbles. The powers that be have decided for long enough that this is the way things are done and that’s it.

In the past I have maybe listened to some pundits for a short amount of time and then couldn’t stand listening to them anymore. Whether they were being too dull or trying to be controversial I just decided that was enough and maybe muted them or turned over to another channel while the pundits were speaking.

This time I suppose it was the same again. I thought I would give them a few minutes each at the start of the tournament and see which pundits annoyed me the most but much to my surprise this time there wasn’t many. In fact possibly none.

In other tournaments it’s never really been too long before I have muted Alan Shearer and Ian Wright but this time I was able to listen to both of them and actually found that I was sitting agreeing with them in different points they were making.

There were a few other good pundits on each channel. Martin O’Neil, Gordon Strachan and Glenn Hoddle each had their own style on ITV and they were easy to listen to. BBC had those such as the experience of Alan Hansen and the rookie Rio Ferdinand mixing well.

Among the others there are a few who seem to get a bit of criticism but Robbie Savage,Danny Murphy and Andy Townsend have a relaxing and usualluy informative way of speaking during the games.

There seems to be a feeling in recent tournaments that they have to add a different flavour and get in a few foreign players. This may be a good idea in theory but in practice it doesn’t always work. Although they all do really well to talk on TV in a foreign language sometimes they do struggle for the right words and phrases and it felt as if sometimes they are left out of some of the discussions.

Phil Neville

Phil Neville
Phil Neville | Source

Still Some Issues

As I say I found the tournament and the pundits very watchable this time but there were still moments that were open to criticism. BBC received a lot of complaints for a couple of co-commentators. Firstly Phil, or as he’s now known, Phillip Neville for his co-commentary during the England-Italy game. Nearly 500 people complained that he was too quiet and his voice never changed whether the game was exciting or not. Then Mark Lawrenson received a number of complaints as co-commentator when saying a player kicked like a girl.

To be honest I thought Neville was harshly treated here. He may have performed poorly but I didn’t think it was an act worthy of complaint and has been mentioned he was thrown in at the deep end with such a big game viewed by his country rather than starting with a few lower key matches. But I felt he came back strongly, both as a co-commentator and a pundit.

There were other moments that brought more of a smile than a grimace. Glenn Hoddle calling Algeria Al-Jazeera and Kevin Kilbane mixing up the commentator he was with. Then commentator Jonathan Pearce going on and on and on about a goal given to France after it was checked on the goal-line camera. He was really confused and didn’t seem to understand why it was given and his co-commentator Martin Keown seemingly had to stop him from having a breakdown there and then.

BBC presenter Gary Lineker
BBC presenter Gary Lineker | Source

Some Disappointing Moments

But there were a few other moments all from the BBC coverage that didn’t look great. Gary Lineker wearing his Italy top when only 2 Italy wins had a chance of keeping England in the tournament. It may have been funny down the pub with your mates but from a presenter of a national broadcaster it didn’t look too professional.

The pundits also were full of praise for the Dutch substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul’s gamesmanship during the penalty shoot out v Costa Rica. This seemed a bit uncalled for.

Then before the France-Germany game they showed the horrendous assault from the 1982 world cup game between the teams when Harald Schumacher badly injured Patrick Battiston. It was a very serious clip but when it went back to the panel they seemed to be having a laugh, almost in a lighthearted frame of mind. It didn’t seem in keeping with the incident we had just seen. To be fair to them though maybe it was a nervous reaction rather than anything particularly nasty.

I can’t recall many horrendous moments from ITV but something that continues to surprise me is the reliance on Adrian Chiles. Again, as in other tournaments they seem to have a more professional and composed presenter in Matt Smith just being used almost as a reserve while Chiles is there for the majority of the tournament, usually asking inappropriate questions and misjudging the mood of the panellists.

He seems to annoy some panellists throughout and rather than him as presenter making things right it seems to be panellist Lee Dixon that tends to take over and take any heat out of things, maybe by bringing someone else into a chat or bring in some humour. Dixon, again seems to be one of the real unsung heroes of the football pundits and co-commentators. Someone who can talk to the viewer and point things out but can still come across as being a good laugh. In fact possibly his equivalent at the BBC as the unsung one for talking sense and pointing out worthwhile moments during a game is his ex Arsenal defensive team mate Martin Keown.

It will be interesting to see how those 2 especially do in future tournaments as they have both done well in the big tournaments so far and I await the next big tournament, maybe hoping for a slip in standard from the pundits to give me something worthwhile to moan about

BBC World Cup Final Montage

ITV World Cup 2014 intro


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