Good afternoon, sports fans! It seems like an age since we were last on the case over the 2014 World Cup finals, but we’re at, what I have come to understand is known as, the “business end” of the tournament. So, what will happen? Will sangfroid and caution win out over flair and imagination? Can the excellence of the matches that we have seen so far really continue now that the stakes are starting to rise? France and Germany, of course, have a history, most notably the infamous semi-final match played in Seville in 1982 when the West German goalkeeper Harald Schumaker attempting the head clean off the shoulders of France’s Patrick Battiston took a little shine off a three-three draw that was one of the finest matches in the history of the tournament.

Of this this year’s vintages, well, Germany have subequently failed to recreate the stellar highlights of their opening match demolition of Portugal, whilst France have looked like a threat since the very first game of the tournament. A pleasing to watch, fluid and attractive team to watch, France may just start this match as the favourites to win, but there really is very little between the two teams. We shall see whether these two teams can continue this tournament’s fine record of fascinating football. Join us shortly before five for more.

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Mark July 4, 20147:01 pm

And c’est ca. Benzema drills one at Neuer’s casually upheld right arm and the whistle goes.
This is the way the French World Cup ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.
Shearer’s called it “a lack of urgency, a lack of spring,” and he’s absolutely right. Paul Pogba… Three dots after his name overstates his second-half contribution. Indeed, each pundit in turn has led with France’s general bleughness. Germany? They needed a rest after that 120 minutes against Algeria. And now they’ve had one.
Brazil/Colombia will be better – this was, after all, two northern European teams in early afternoon heat, almost as hot as here today…and it didn’t half show.
Dear me…

Ted July 4, 20147:00 pm

Crumbs. That was PROPER dogshit from France. I imagine that Germany, who were at best very average, can’t believe their luck.

Ted July 4, 20146:55 pm

FULL TIME. Germany 1-0 France. A perfect argument for football matches being 5 minutes per half, like they are on Pro Evolution Soccer.

Ted July 4, 20146:53 pm

I’m going to go out and play with an 8-week old kitten after this, France. I’m OK. You’re only hurting YOURSELVES.

Mark July 4, 20146:43 pm

“Ozil…looked about three yards offside there.” – Pearce. Replays show him to be NO yards offside. “Not up to it” indeed.
I’m a bit bored too. Poor second half. Or “intriguing,” as Lawrenson has just suggested.
Go Europe!!!

Ted July 4, 20146:38 pm

I’m bored.

There, someone needed to say it.

Mark July 4, 20146:38 pm

Mind you, great last-ditch tackle on Valbuena there, by…erm…Benzema.
And Pearce and Lawrenson’s joke French is worse than mine. “Apres tu”? “Les Les Bleus”?
Still, as Lawro has just said: “Here’s the game in a nutshell.” No, me neither.

Mark July 4, 20146:33 pm

Mon dieu, France have been merde this demi,

Ted July 4, 20146:33 pm

“Your first fence is FREE if you let me schtupp yer wife”

Ian July 4, 20146:32 pm

“Hello, Pat Evans fences. you have them blow down in the wind, and I come over and replace them.”

That’s his advertising slogan. It’s… not the greatest.

Ted July 4, 20146:25 pm

Germany’s new game plan: get the ball to Miroslav Klose at absolutely any cost. They’d be well advised to fetch him off and start playing football.

Ted July 4, 20146:24 pm

Patrick Evans sounds like the sort of bloke you find in the Yellow Pages to mend your fence. He has 20 years experience.

Ted July 4, 20146:23 pm

Presumably Patrice Evra’s Anglicised name would be Patrick Evans.

Ted July 4, 20146:22 pm

Germany seem to have decided one goal will be ample. An improbably risky strategy.

Ted July 4, 20146:19 pm

Roger Federer wins 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to make his ninth Wimbledon final. France seem unmoved.

Ian July 4, 20146:18 pm

Coo, doesn’t Diddy Dessy look old now? Always a worry to see players that you can remember looking that age.

Mark July 4, 20146:16 pm

You’ve missed Tony Kroos “thinking Hollywood.” Apparently. France have had a few moments but that just means Germany are in control. Apparently.

Ian July 4, 20146:15 pm

Sorry, I had to go to the shop. Doesn’t look as if I’ve missed much.

Mark July 4, 20146:05 pm

So, Germany are in control but France have had the better chances. I know nothing about modern football… (well, SOMEONE argue…)

Mark July 4, 20146:02 pm

Gullit needs an atlas for his next birthday if he thinks Costa Rica is in South America.

Mark July 4, 20145:58 pm

Interesting use of the Nigerian team praying, to start a piece on the statue of “Christ the Redeemer.” Or is Victor Enyeama a Christian???

Mark July 4, 20145:55 pm

Not as enthused about this game as the studio bods. Mind you, I enjoyed Argentina v Switzerland, so…

Ted July 4, 20145:53 pm

Ruud Gullit was a lot cooler before he started giving interviews and revealing he was just like every other footballer in the entire world.

Mark July 4, 20145:52 pm

Gullit doesn’t do sarcasm. Does do golf, though. BBC pundit’s research seems to be along traditional lines…

Ted July 4, 20145:49 pm

HALF TIME at the Maracana, the score is 6-4, 6-4 to Federer against Raonic.

Mark July 4, 20145:48 pm

What have Pearce and Lawrenson got against the “assistant on this near side”? Watched the first half-hour sans bolox and thought the flag man got most things about right. Did I miss him flag someone offside from a throw-in???

Ted July 4, 20145:48 pm

I’m basically having an argument with myself. There’s a football match on as well. It’s still 1-0 to Germany. France have had a few shots of little consequence.

Ted July 4, 20145:47 pm


Fuck off.

Ted July 4, 20145:47 pm

I’ve become fixated on the referee for this match. He has magnificently old-fashioned hair. He basically looks like my grandpa. Having looked him up on Wikipedia, I discover he’s only five years older than me.

Ted July 4, 20145:41 pm

The best piece of punditry about the coverage of the World Cup on British television of the entire summer, coming up:

Ted July 4, 20145:38 pm

Mathieu Valbuena wins The World Cup Prize for taking a corner with the ball within the quadrant. France are playing a little better now, but they’re not particularly convincing.

*cue France goal*

Ted July 4, 20145:33 pm


Ted July 4, 20145:32 pm

There’s probably a joke there about the Anglicised pronunciation of his name, Klose, being a heterophone for the word for “proximity”.

Ted July 4, 20145:28 pm

Miroslav Klose busily diving in the box to try and get a penalty. The penalty spot is, of course, the furthest point away from the goal that Klose has scored any of his 15 World Cup goals.

Ted July 4, 20145:26 pm

He’ll drop them.

Ted July 4, 20145:21 pm

The day after it happens, he’ll get a knock on the door. It will be a hamper of mini-muffins sent by Rene Higuita.

Ted July 4, 20145:20 pm

I’ve had this creeping feeling for the last few matches that all of this cleverness is going to come back to bite Manuel Neuer on the arse. It may be today, it may be next week, it may be next year. But he’s going to have a calamity one day that will have the name Neuer associated with goalkeeping as much as Ronnie Rosenthal is with finishing.

Ian July 4, 20145:18 pm

An early goal was just about the best thing that could have happened to this game. This first quarter of an hour was a little cagey, but it will have to open up now, with all that ensues from that.

Ted July 4, 20145:18 pm

The thing that always strikes me about Germany is how good they are at heading the ball. This is not as throwaway a point as it sounds. It’s all about superior technical skill. German footballers learn early how to do the nuts and bolts things that players from, say, England are still having to use all 68 of their IQ points to concentrate hard on when they’re international footballers.

Ian July 4, 20145:17 pm

Anyway, free-kick from the left-hand side, the rather dishy Hummels outjumps everybody and nods the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and over the line. Germany 1-0 France.

Ted July 4, 20145:17 pm


Ian July 4, 20145:16 pm


Ted July 4, 20145:15 pm


Ian July 4, 20145:15 pm


Ian July 4, 20145:13 pm

Hey, I didn’t just get to hear both national anthems, I got to sing them out loud too.

Ted July 4, 20145:12 pm

Karim Benzema has something of the look of Nigel Clough about him. I think it’s due to the perennially terrified eyes.

Ian July 4, 20145:10 pm

I was disrupted by looking at a really cute picture of a slow loris, there. Seven minutes played, all quiet on the western front – sorry about that: too soon? – apart from a daisy-cutter from Karim Benzama which just dribbled tamely wide of Neuer’s right hand post.

Ted July 4, 20145:10 pm

Sepp Rushmore.

The Great Sepp of Giza.

Ted July 4, 20145:09 pm

I’m surprised, but heartened, to see that FIFA have so far held off from getting the ladders and the chisels out to create a statue of Sepp The Redeemer.

Ian July 4, 20145:05 pm


Ted July 4, 20145:05 pm


Ted July 4, 20145:03 pm

I’ve decided that, from now on, I’m only going to eat food that comes in bowls. Or buckets.

Ian July 4, 20145:03 pm

Where can I see the new Brighton shirt?

(And the new Southampton one, for that matter)

Ian July 4, 20145:02 pm

So, do these message work? I’m trying to imagine someone sitting in front of the television saying, “Well, shit, yeah. I’d never looked at it like that before. I should probably be less racist in the future. Thanks, Sepp. You’ve changed my life.”

If they were serious about it, they could, you know, rigorously enforce it.

Ted July 4, 20145:00 pm


Ted July 4, 20145:00 pm

On the subject of kits, Brighton & Hove Albion’s new kit is delightful. Southampton must also be congratulated on the return of sanity and stripes.

Ted July 4, 20144:58 pm

It’s such a pity that the best World Cup in living memory has been spoilt by the players having to wear kits knitted by Sepp Blatter’s mum. The vain old fool.

Ian July 4, 20144:58 pm

(See that right there? That’s a literary joke. Well a cinematic joke)

Ian July 4, 20144:58 pm

Trop bleu pour toi.

Ted July 4, 20144:57 pm


Ian July 4, 20144:56 pm

I might have to change old Lloris’s nickname to “Martin Luther,” there.

Ian July 4, 20144:54 pm

And, for the first time in this tournament, I’m going to get to to the French belt out “La Marseillaise” live.

Ian July 4, 20144:53 pm


Good afternoon, grapple fans. France vs Germany. A lot of history, here. ALso, Hugo “Slow” Lloris vs Manuel “Crazylegs” Neuer.

Football me.

Ted July 4, 20144:48 pm

Open wider than ever for some soccer, sports fans. This is your actual real-life PROPER World Cup match. But who will win? I’m very dismissive of well-paid pundits who are unwilling to stick their neck out and make predictions, so it falls to us very poorly paid pundits to do the job for them.

Germany. 4-3. Klose hat-trick. Plus he’ll score TWO own goals.