Portugal v Denmark
Another simple method. Regular updates of the game but only 140 characters allowed per update. I occasionally tweet during football matches if something occurs to me, but generally I get bit bored of the endless streams of tweets from fans saying inane things like "Goal" or "Good Save". Quite often these are from the same people that make disparaging remarks about the pundits at half time! I hope my tweeting is slightly more insightful and interesting, although 140 characters can be a bit limiting.
Pre Match: "Heart says Denmark, betting slip says Portugal, Brain say draw. #mustlearntobetwitbrain"
"Both teams unchanged. Postiga must have something on the manager! Oliveira is far better"
8 mins "All Denmark, Portugal should bring Ronaldo on. Oh hang on a minute!"
12 Mins "I keep thinking Portugal will be good...but they're not. #flattertodeceive"
18 Mins "Rubbish shot from Ronaldo, dull game so far. Please don't be a dud!"
23 Mins "GOAL!! Lovely header from Pepe. Can't stand Pepe. Come on Denmark"
28 Mins "Denmark have stopped playing since first 5 mins. Not sure if Bendtner has touched it yet"
32 Mins "Ronaldo passes when he should have kept it! A pig flies over my house"
33 Mins "Only Holland haven't scored so far. #totalfootballmysarse"
35 Mins "Another pig goes over! Postiga scores"
39 Mins "Beautiful goal! Bendtner is playing. dud well and truly averted"
42 Mins "When will there be a rubbish game in this competition? England and Sweden i'm looking at you!"
45 Mins "Drury says skulldugery! Highlight of the Euros so far"
HT "Another decent half. Slow start but fun last 25."
49 Mins "1on1 but poor effort from Ronaldo. ITV still love him though"
50 Mins "Drury mentions the Killing. Good for him"
53 Mins "Eriksen not living up to the hype, looks a bit like Captain America pre experiment"
59 Mins "Rommendahl pulls a hamstring. Mikkelsen on, looks a bit like Judd Trump"
61 Mins "ooommpphhh. Bullet from Klist, inches wide, would have broke the net #itwouldn'treally"
64 Mins "Mikkelsen looks good, great cross on him"
68 Mins "Oliviera on, always went Benfica players to do well #secondteam"
73 Mins "Nothing happening"
76 Mins "Ronaldo misses a sitter. Hilarious stuff.The Danish fans chant "Messi""
80 Mins "Bendter again. What a fun few minutes this has been."
83 Mins "Come on Denmark. I may jump out of armchair if they win this!"
86 Mins "Varela. Great hit, yet another cracking game"
90 Mins "How loud is the PA?! Like a nightclub. #imgettingold"
93 Mins "3-2. Excellent game, this is my favourite tournament ever"
Hope that wasn't too painful a read. Not one of my favourite efforts to be honest, felt very contrived and hard to make interesting comments. Maybe twitter is best for inane comments!
Germany v Holland
On Friday, I looked at ITV's coverage of the Czech Rep v Russia encounter. The verdict? Pretty good apart from the bits in the studio.
This time I'm casting my eye over the BBC's effort in broadcasting the Germany-Holland match in Group B. I'll be using the same marking criteria, but it is worth pointing out that the BBC started it's programme 45 minutes before kick off, compare this to ITV's 25 minutes including adverts, and it's clear that the BBC have a much more thorough build up to the games.
Of course, that's a double edged sword. It could mean 45 minutes of insightful analysis and features, or it could mean a plethora of reports on how England have killed some time at their hotel.
Style - We start off with some unmemorable music and an equally uninspired title sequence, What's more, Auntie hasn't even sent the gang over the Channel. They have the pleasure of broadcasting from Salford, somewhat nearer to Walsall than Warsaw. Not surprisingly, they've been equally as thrifty with their studio design, so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching Football Focus! At least there's nothing offensive about it, but ITV clearly take the honours in this category.
Presenter - Gary Lineker represents the "safe pair of hands" that the BBC generally plump for when it comes to the big games. To say he's better than Chiles is very faint praise, but in Lineker's defence he keeps things on track well and doesn't resort to trying to become a comedian. As an ex pro, he obviously has more knowledge of the game than Chiles and this is demonstrated by his occasional comments on incidents in the game. He got particularly excited by Mario Gomez's second goal and was full of praise for the striker's finish. He lacks the gravitas and personality of a Lynam but the Beeb could do a lot worse than sticking with Lineker for the foreseeable future
Features - 45 minutes is a a lot of time to build up to a game and to the Beeb's credit they filled the time with some interesting features on the 2 teams. There was a detailed piece on the rivalry between the 2 teams, including some interviews with the protagonists and a look at how both teams have evolved in rent years. There was even a German comedian offering his views, but that was about as amusing as it sounds.
We did have a couple of people at pitch side in the shape of Jake Humphreys and Martin Keown. Humphrey's is a reliable presenter and will be fronting many sports for years to come - although it's highly probably Sky will be bidding for his services pretty soon!
There was the obligatory feature on England's day. Essentially viewing if you want to know about any new haircuts or what rob Green had for lunch. Surely even the most one eyed England fan doesn't care what happens at the team hotel.
Overall though it was an interesting and appetite whetting build up, certainly better than ITV's patented "question, banter, look outside, ad break" formula
Analysts - The A-Team of Shearer and Hansen were in town (well, Salford) and joined by Clarence Seedorf, who was putting a Dutch spin on events. Shearer has clearly upped his game since the end of the Premier League season and was offering some good analysis throughout the evening. He actually seemed knowledgeable about most of the players, and whilst this game was full of star names, he has shown a similar ability throughout the competition. He even managed to pronounce the Polish team correctly, a challenge rejected by some of the other "experts".
Hansen was his solid self, offering a decent pre match feature on Hummels performance against Portugal (He likes him) and some decent comments on the German team. Seedorf didn't offer a great deal, but his contribution was better than some of the previous "foreign stars" that the Beeb have invited to tournaments. Hello David Ginola!
Again, this is an area that the BBC win hands down.
Commentators - The biggest game of the competition, a fervent atmosphere, 2 high class teams...and still Mark Lawrenson acted like a man who didn't really like football. In fact, it seems that Mark gains very little pleasure form living at all and is just killing some time before the Grim Reaper comes calling. A highly entertaining, top quality game was made to sound like a League 2 midtable clash by Lawrenson. Numerous snide remarks were being made about the "multi millionaire" referee, the Dutch left back and, later on, German time wasting. Because of course, only the cynical Germans partake in that. Lawrenson's "analysis" appears to mainly focus on Premier League players. Apparently Van Persie would have "stuck that away if he'd been earing an Arsenal shirt", but no attempt was made to explain why a red shirt gives Robin magical powers!
Alongside him, Jonathan Pearce wasn't much of an improvement. At least, he'd done a bit of research, but it was limited to occasional facts along the lines of "Steklenberg was sent off twice last season" or "Steklenberg dropped the Dutch league trophy during the open top bus parade". The second comment was met by a Lawro classic - "he's not the only one to have done that". Not doubt, Ricky Gervais was making notes and will be using that putdown in his next Golden Globes speech.
Talking of Gervais, Lawrenson magically morphed into David Brent during a period of play that encapsulated how bad our commentators were. Arjen Robben got subbed. He was on the far side of the pitch from he dugout, so instead of crossing the pitch and wasting a bit of time, he left the field on the far side and walked back to the Dutch bench the long way. Nothing interesting their you might think, indeed it seemed to be good thinking by Robben to save a bit of time. Not so, according to our dynamic duo. "he's taking his shirt off, I know it's hot, but that's clearly a gesture" claimed Pearce. Yes Jonathan, it's a gesture that says "it's hot". What's more he walked in front of the Dutch fans, another massive faux pas according to Pearce. Quite how Robben was meant to get to the Dutch bench without passing the Dutch fans, was a problem never addressed. Lawrenson then channelled his inner Brent to offer "There's no I in team". True Mark, but there is in equipe, which is the Dutch for team! He completed his descent into corporate hell with "You know what team stands for? Together Everybody Achieves More". He claimed he'd just made that up, but is seems like the Beeb have sent him on some kind of "Management Away Day", perhaps prepping him for an upcoming move into the back office to look after the BBC telephony team.
It was clear from the response on Twitter, podcasts and websites that I wasn't alone in my verdict on the dynamic duo. In fact, they were so poor that it detracted from an excellent game of football. Pearce, I can just about cope with, but factor in a man with a "thatched cottage" haircut and you've got a disaster behind the mic.
Overall - The opposite of ITV, everything was good apart for the commentary. I'm calling it an honourable draw. So the final I'll be watching BBC before and after match but switching to ITV for the commentary...unless the "Swindon lot" come in and Lawro is made redundant!