TV Review - Saturday 19th June - Czech Republic v Holland
The stadium is "covered by a huge orange blanket" now, and the pundits seem keen on this game, proved initially right by Holland's goal after what Motty times at "three minutes... and a bit". And then.. New Interpretation Of Offside A Go Go! "I remember when that debate started in the 1994 World Cup" Motty observes, which is about nine years earlier than anyone else remembers it. Perhaps, however, this is what he means when he later comments there are "very clever players on the pitch", although after that what business he has complaining about a later late offside flag is something no-one can pin down. At half time Gary reveals "Mr Wright has not been that excited about the tournament so far", but that attitude hasn't lasted long, especially when a player being wrestled to to the ground inside the box, which Gary called WWF-style, only for Wright to more accurately describe it as "he's having it off with him", and as soon as everyone else has recovered concluding "he's spooning him!" It took some time for Alan and Peter to regain their ability to speak. An England interlude sees Garth Crooks on the hull of a yacht referring to the "skipper", because he's Garth Crooks. After "the referee strolling out with the match ball" the action immediately gets back to its previous pace, not that Joe Royle's noticed, as he's been watching Van Nistelrooy, commenting "he's been offside for most of the time since the second half started" at about 46:45. The camera then swings round to follow a Dutch attack building up, and there's Ruud ball-side of the centre backs. "We're going to see a lot more dodgy defending and more goal chances" is Royle's hope, while Motson goes on about Chelsea and how the Czechs eventually earn "their first booking of the tournament" like anyone really cares. Royle points out Poborsky as we "might not recognise him with the modern haircut", something that couldn't be said of Pierluigi Collina, fourth official tonight and namechecked far more than fourth officials are usually, John stating "when you look him in the face you do wince a bit". Yeah, he's like death, really, isn't he? The Czechs score their second set up by Jan Koller, which makes Joe happy as "I knew I was right when I tried to buy him for Man City". Heinz comes on, Motty careful to note that you don't pronounce his name that way, but when Royle suggests "dare I say Heinz has given them more variety?" he can't help himself but to reply "yes, you can say that. You'd think he'd have 57 on his back, really." Mmm. Shame he's not more decisive with second bookings - "Cocu for a yellow card? It's Heitinga, I think" "He's off" "Oh! It...it's the red card, cos he's had a yellow already." The game is hugely exciting Motson, who nearly loses it at the winner, Royle remaining steadfast claiming "you have to feel sorry for van der Sar" as all around, and sitting next to him for that matter, are losing it. The madness continues - "oh yes, oh no!" as van der Vaart misses, Royle feeling it necessary to point out he's "clearly not offside" when nothing about the move suggested he was. Great game, though, although there is a suspicion everyone is being a little too quick to sing its praises, Gary suggesting it's one of the best games he's ever seen, Alan hailing its "perfection" and Peter dreaming "I hope this is going to come out as an educational video". Unfortunately, they then see fit to break into a set of analysis that could have filled the evening by itself to show a clip from a UEFA referee instructional video, which seems suspiciously like they've had it readily edited for broadcast quality for such an eventuality. Everyone just loses their cool composure in the post-match analysis, from Gary's quip that Karl Bruckner is "the only coach in the tournament old enough to remember Alan Hansen play" to how all the voicing over of the near misses seems to consist entirely of the phrase "what about this?" Gary slips in another "van der Fart - I love saying that", but loses points with a final declaration of "Czech mate", which as the OB fades away we can hear Ian chastising him for. It's that sort of night.