Friday, 20 June 2014

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

Gary Lineker: Good evening, and welcome to the Estadio Mineirao here in Belo Horizonte, for tonight's Group F game between Argentina and Iran.
Joining me in the studio are Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Clayton Blizzard.
[Wide shot of pundits looking awkward.]

GL: Both teams started well in Group F...
[Cut to VT of teams in action in the opening games.]

GL: Thierry, how well did Argentina play, for you, against Bosnia, because a lot of people felt that Lionel Messi came of World Cup age, if you like.
TH: Yeah, I thought he had a very good game but it's not all about one player. For me, the change when Higuian came on, it was very important.  He gave the team a different option which was important for them because Bosnia was well organised and hard to break down.
GL: Al, I know you were impressed with the way Iran defended in their game against Nigeria.
AS: I was impressed, they were compact, they closed down the space very well and they stopped Nigeria's creative players from making any headway, really.  But listen, tonight, they are up against some top attacking talent and this Argentina team will be a different proposition altogether.
GL: They certainly will - Clayton, what did you make of Lionel Messi's performance?
CB: Umm...I didn't see it.
GL: Oh, well, that's dealt with that one.
CB: Yeah, I watched the first half but I fell asleep - it was midnight, you know, I was tired.  But on tonight's game, I agree with Renault Car Salesman Thierry Henry: it's not all about Messi, it's a team game.
[Nervous laughter; TH raises a perfectly-groomed eyebrow.]
GL: There's been some controversy around the goal-line technology at this World Cup, being used for the first time in a major tournament, of course.  Alan, there was some confusion at the France game, when the big screen showed it wasn't a goal, then it was - what did you make of that?
AS: Well, it's no good having the technology, if-
CB: Hang on, there was no confusion in that game - the big screen said it wasn't a goal when it hit the post, because it was on the line, being as the post is on the line, then the ball went over the other side and the goalie fumbled it in - and the big screen said it was in, which was useful, since the goalie clawed it out and it would have been difficult for the ref to tell. What's confusing about that?
AS: Well, the point is, why did it say no goal when it-
CB: When it hit the post? Because it was on the line so obviously the sensor goes off. Then it goes off again when it actually crosses the line. Come on lads, this isn't confusing - Robbie Savage called it right, in the commentary, he said it's not confusing, it's done its' job perfectly. If Robbie Savage can get his head round it, I think we can all agree it's not confusing.
GL: OK, well that's-
CB: Anyway, it was all youse lot clamouring for this for years, giving it: "When will FIFA see sense?" and all that, now you wanna moan about it even though it works perfectly well!
GL: Thierry, did you-
CB: I was dead against it, from the off. It's spoiled it, I reckon.  One of the best things about football is its' universal appeal: all you need is a ball, you don't need anything more.  It's the same game in a favela as it is in a billion-dollar stadium, that's the beauty of it.  When we start introducing all this tech, it makes it a totally different game at the top level.
GL: But it's a different game at this level anyway, isn't it?
CB: Well, yeah, because money obviously makes a difference - we can't all make a living as crisp salesmen can we, Gary?  And it slows the game down.
AL:  But these games are so important now, the margins are so tight...
CB:  Well, let me just be the first person here to say: Maybe there are some things that are more important than football.  I know it's a heresy - I love football, but let's not get carried away.  Anyway, it didn't mean less in 1974 than it means now, did it?
GL: OK, putting the goal-line technology to one side for a second...let's go live to the England camp -
CB: -Must we?
GL: - where Jonathan Pearce has been chatting to Gary Neville.

[Live feed to England team hotel with JP stood outside.]

GL: So that's the mood in the camp after last night's game. Clayton, do you think England can still build a team around Wayne Rooney?
CB: Not tonight, they can't, 'cos it's Argentina and Iran that's playing, so why don't we talk about that?
TH: No, but it's English TV, so...
CB: British TV.  [In Glasgow accent] See, this why we've a chip 'n wur shoodir! Ah'm votin Aye!
TH:  [Laughing] Look, I don't want to get in the middle of your British politics arguments.
CB: COME ON ENGLAND! The Whole Nation is behind you!  Except of course Scots, Irish, Welsh, Contrarians, Curmedgeons and those who just don't like football. 

GL:  Thanks to our commentary team, Jonathan Pearce and Martin Keown.  Terrific half of football there, Al.
AS: Fantastic entertainment, terrific advert for the game - Argentina so strong in attack, but they are vulnerable to the counter, as we've seen before.
CB: Have you ever noticed how Martin Keown really really looks like a monkey - a worried monkey?
[Laughter] He really really does.  Thierry, I expect you had loads of hilarious nick-names for him when youse played together...?
TH:  No, not really.
CB: Shame, seems like a missed opportunity.
AS:  But seriously, Argentina have pace, power...

After the game:
GL:  OK, gents, just time for some quick predictions: Who will win the World Cup - Al?
AL:  I still think Brazil.
GL:  Thierry?
TH:  France? [Laughs] No, I can't say, it's so open...
GL: Clayton, who do you think will win the World Cup?
CB:  Capitalism.
GL:  Ummm...
CB:  Yeah.  Satire.  Take THAT, everyone's expectations.
GL:  Thanks for joining us, Clayton.
CB:  [Saluting] Just glad to be on the team, Sir! [Laughter] Great to be on a BBC jolly to Brazil, eh?  And who pays for it all?  [Points at camera] MUGGINS, there, that's who, the British license-fee-payer.  You've paid for all this, hope you're enjoying it.  Hooray for taxation.
GL:  Well, we all love the BBC, don't we?
CB: You should, Gary, it's blown your arse far enough up the social ladder.  In all seriousness though, thanks for inviting me to the World Cup, I look forward to reporting live from the scenes of protests by The Rebel Alliance against the Emporer, Sepp Blatter and Darth Platini.
GL: From the Estadio Mineirao, good night.

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