Sunday, June 15, 2008

Euro Babble 2008

Let's get the name checks out of the way first.
If only Portugal's Pepe's parents had named him 'Tio' and Portugal's Deco's parents had named him 'Arthur', we could have had the intoxicating football of Tio Pepe and the elegance of Art Deco.
We mourned the fact that Russia's Arshavin was absent from the side this week. Maybe he cut himself shavin'. Ouch.
But Russia's Zhirkov (pronounced Jerkoff) was upstanding on the pitch and seminal in their victory over Greece.

Commentary analysis has logged several recent re-appearances of "the dying seconds of the game" which we thought had indeed died and been laid to rest in the cliché cemetery.
We now await the return of teams "setting their stall out" which, once ubiquitous, has now been off the radar for several years.
Players continue to be "caught in possession" which, for the uninitiated, has nothing to do with drug offences but simply means they've been tackled and lost the ball. Is it possible to be "caught out of possession"? If not, the expression is balls.

At tomorrow's clash between Austria and Germany in Vienna, expect to hear a lot of "It's Goodnight, Vienna". I've already heard it once on Radio 5.
It reminds me of an old actors' joke. One actor asks another which was the most disastrous play he was ever in. "It was when we played Goodnight Vienna in Croydon. What about you?"
The other actor replies: "It was when we played Goodnight Croydon in Vienna."
You may recall that Rigsby's cat in Rising Damp was called 'Vienna'. I'm sure the writer, Eric Chappell, only did that so he could do some 'Goodnight, Vienna' jokes.

And so to tonight's (Sunday) incident-rich game between Turkey and the Czech Republic.
At kick-off I wondered whether commentator John Champion would be able to resist a reference to "bouncing Czechs."
No, of course he couldn't. To be fair, he managed to stave off the pun until the 36th minute.
His greater achievement was managing not to tell his sidekick Jim Beglin to shut the fuck up. Jim ("that wasn't a foul") Beglin has never quite understood action replays. "He hesitated before he fell" and "he went down in stages" is his constant refrain. But you see, Jim, in slow motion replays people do appear to fall down in stages. When one of your co-commentators chins you, you'll fall over in stages if the tape is run at half speed. He'll be able to say that you dived. Hoist with your own petard, motormouth.

The match was delayed because, for reasons still unknown, a Turkish player was made to change his boots three times before kick-off.
In the second half, the linesman's flag broke in half and, near the end, a player on the bench was summoned to the touchline by the referee and given a yellow card.
Despite these strange events, I must still give John Champion the award for the Overstatement of the Tournament so far:
"If a spaceship full of Martians landed now in the centre of the pitch, it wouldn't surprise me."

In the dying seconds of the game, the Turkish goalkeeper walked across to the Czech Koller and pushed him in the chest, knocking him to the ground, for which indiscretion he was sent off.
But for Koller, this was as nothing to the indignity he had suffered in the first half.
Andy Townsend, in his half-time analysis, described Servet's marking of Koller during a corner kick thus:
"Servet was literally right up his backside."
I think we can all agree that the last thing you want when trying to make contact with a cross from the corner is a hairy Turk up your arse.
Metaphorically, you could probably live with it. But literally!
Sometimes it's not such a beautiful game.


At 5:13 AM, Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

I have watched little bits of some of the games. The commentary is entirely made up of cliches strung together.
At least you did not mention "Bollocks" the goalkeeper. They don't half have funny names, these foreigners, eh?
I was, of course, more occupied with cricket yesterday. I fancied something quiet, but was denied this pleasure by the constant chattering of Nick Knight. At least he is articulate and makes sense, but he doesn't know when to shut up.
Perhaps they will introduce live chess soon. That should make for some really annoying bollocks while Petrosian spends 30 minutes considering his next move.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

It is, of course, very childish to laugh at foreign names. But I'm sure they do the same when our names have a rude meaning in their language.
Some months ago, the BBC team were all on their best behaviour when Ian Wright exclaimed "Jerkoff! Great name!"
You could always rely on Wrighty for that and he'll be sadly missed.


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