Who will win the battle of the chat in Brazil?



RTE: Paul Clement, Brad Friedel and Neil Lennon should keep the old stagers on their toes, with Didi Hamann and Ossie Ardiles popular returnees.

BBC: Rio Ferdinand and Thierry Henry arrive as cultural ambassadors for themselves. Juninho is the token local, Phil Neville will keep it tight, while Clarence Seedorf wowed them in South Africa, even performing a bit of Bob Marley. Enough for a recall.

ITV: Voted the most attractive player in 2010, Fabio Cannavaro forms a beauty and the beast centre half partnership with ‘Brave JT’. Glenn Hoddle is set to do a job for them on loan from Sky.

VERDICT: RTE, if the signings click



RTE: Will anyone but Brady be up for the fight with Eamo in Graeme Souness’s absence?

BBC: “This was clearly the result you wanted, wasn’t it?” No mention of Garth Crooks in the Beeb squad – who will ask the hard questions now?

ITV: Anyone who watched Chiles and company waffling during the lightning break in the England-Honduras warm-up knows that we have already been spared, in Keano’s absence, the first live punditry murder.

VERDICT: Keane loss blows hole in ITV setup



RTE: It’s rotten, Bill. The game is sick. There are no great players out there. Real players… Henry Shefflin, Jonjo O’Neill, John Oxx…

BBC: Shearer can roll out this one again from South Africa: “Pele did say an African team would win the World Cup before 2000 – I think it’s going to be longer.”

ITV: Apologies everyone; while we were away, Costa Rica made it 1-0.

VERDICT: RTE. We’ll hear it until people start to listen



RTE: How will RTE’s ‘Spanish football expert’ cope with Real Madrid coach Clement’s presence? A lid on the spoofing or a fresh audience for the ‘Ramos is a headbanger’ theories?

BBC: The younger Neville’s chance to emerge from his brother’s punditry shadow – and wash off the Moyesy stain.

ITV: Gus Poyet has probably been signed to be the butt of bantz during England-Uruguay, but a man whose nickname as a player was ‘El Radio’ might be hard to silence.

VERDICT: RTE. Hopefully Clement’s presence won’t inhibit outright spoofery



RTE: With a few permanent vacancies due to open up soon, it’s time Ronnie Whelan lifted his game and polished his CV.

BBC: Robbie Savage will be treating us to his unique charms on both television and radio. Of course he will.

ITV: At least Andros Townsend will be well-placed for analysis if Roy Hodgson decides to go down the half-time stand-up commentary route again.

VERDICT: One Townsend was probably enough.




RTE: He is made of the World Cup and you could listen to him all day, but you mightn’t make out anything Ossie Ardiles says.

BBC: Rio, if his Twitter is any guide. Ooof, let’s ave it … ahhhhhh… noice!!!

ITV: During the warm-ups, Glenn Hoddle told us Rooney and Lallana will ‘flatulate on the left”.

VERDICT: ITV – Word of Hod should deliver fresh guff impetus



RTE: Will we leave it there so? Looks like Darragh Maloney will have to step, full-time, into the agent provocateur role after Billo announced this would be his last big tournament.

ITV: Would any of them be missed?

BBC: “That system was obviously fundamentally flawed.” Last time round, they even got Alan Hansen to analyse apartheid. What will they do without him?

VERDICT: Billo – will ructions ever get as heated again?

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