Here’s the performances of the pundits for the final round of home-nation group matches:
England vs Slovakia, Mon June 20th, ITV, Score: 0-0
Pundits: Mark Pougatch, Lee Dixon, Ian Wright, Slaven Bilic, Peter Crouch, Glenn Hoddle
Persona: Best performance of the tournament. Almost normal sounding voice. Style is improving every match.
Appearance: Pougatch was wearing a shirt, and some trousers.
Analysis: In my last review of Pougatch I said he needed to do something to take a punditry show by the scruff of the neck. This time he did! Openly questioned Bilic’s advice on what to say to England at half time. Bilic; ‘keep believing’, Pougatch; ‘but how do you make them do that!?’ Much improved.
Hair Style: Bank manager.
Persona: Dixon was subdued and a little nervous, and so he should be. Let’s not forget this is the premiere pundit for ITV, and they put him on the far right of the coffee table? Out the way of the real action- Bilic and Wright
Appearance: Too far out to have the table cover his trousers. Pastel blue, or were they a light shade of grey? Still can’t decide. Customary shirt to compliment.
Analysis: Detailed analysis. More lines on his diagram of Vardy’s runs during the game than on a Steven King first draft. Loved it when he called Bilic ‘Slav’.
Hair Style: Employee in a bank.
Persona: If I want Pougatch to take the punditry game by the scruff of the neck, Wrighty did. Might as well have been no one else in the studio other than him and his new best mate Bilic. It almost worries me how much they were touching each other on the shoulders.
Appearance: Was it a navy bomber jacket, or some sort of hybrid kimono? Whatever it was I’ll be trawling Kingston tomorrow to find one.
Analysis: Wright knows where his loyalty lies- England. He was in full defence of the team, the six changes to the starting 11 and the disappointing result.
Hair Style: Bald.
Persona: Bilic has been causing waves on the internet with his style of punditry. The best way I can put it into words is akin to eating a raw carrot with the skin still on. He’s in and out of his seat, he’s waving his arms around, he’s touching Ian Wright. Fascinating.
Appearance: All in black- bent as the Soviet sickle and as hard as the hammer that crosses it.
Analysis: He’s the only pundit out of the whole motley crew who’s an active manager (he manages West Ham). With this insight comes great analysis- ‘there’s very few matches, you don’t need to rotate!’ / ‘you want a substitute to have experience of coming on and making an impact’ / ‘What do you think about England’s first half Slaven?’ ‘They’re playing good…’
Hair Style: Shaved.
Persona: Completely an utterly out of his depth. It was an improvement on his previous performance (not so red in the face, seemed to be breathing properly), but almost completely ignored by the pundit-ing Gods of Wright and Bilic.
Appearance: Same shirt as Dixon.
Analysis: He’s an active player and was playing for England a mere 12 months ago. What he says counts. So why am I only focussing on Bilic and Wright? This is what Crouch needs to work out.
Hair Style: If Crouch is the worst pundit, in recompense, he has the best barnet. Outstanding slick back. What hair products does he use!?
Pitchside reporting- Glenn Hoddle
Persona: Understandably a little grouchy having been abruptly pulled off the golf course.
Appearance: Polo shirt, short sleeves (just pulled off the golf course). Black- slimming…
Analysis: Hoddle got five minutes of game time and made little impact, and whatever impact there was, I wasn’t listening.
Hair Style: Hugh Grant Four Weddings blow-dried back.
Wales vs Russia, Mon June 20th, ITV, Score: 3-0 Wales
Pundits: Frances Donovan, Mark Hughes, Craig Bellamy, Tony Pulis
Persona: If Pougatch is a mercenary presenter I don’t know what that makes Donovan. The real presenter must have come down with a case of measles right before going on-air, or ITV are struggling to hit their ‘1% women sports presenter quota’- if you don’t want to do it properly, don’t bother.
Appearance: Red blouse. Grey skirt. Brown leather boots (which for some reason conjured images in my mind of a Welsh diary farm).
Analysis: It felt like this was the first game of football Donovan had ever watched.
Hairstyle: ITV have called my bluff here. It’s easy to have some fun with men’s haircuts, but womens’? That’s an entirely different ball game (with potentially far severer consequences). Baring this in mind, I’ll say- very nice.
Persona: Ex Wales and Man Utd striker Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes was sheer quality on the pitch. Off it? Quality wasn’t there. Sat quietly and looked surprised when he was asked to speak. It is a punditry show Mark…
Appearance: Dinner jacket and white shirt.
Analysis: The general analysis of the game was extremely pro Wales, to the point of arrogance.
Hair Style: Grey.
Persona: Bellamy stepped up to the plate with Hughes not wanting to answer any questions. Calm, assured, came across as quite pleasant (surprising considering this is Craig Bellamy). However, I wonder if he actually hears what he says.
Appearance: V-neck jumper and white shirt.
Analysis: The arrogance of the analysis stemmed largely from this man- ‘How far do you think Wales will go Craig?’ ‘Semis.’ Semis! Semis!? Craig, I, Harry, writer for VultureHound put in writing, here, now, that I will place 50p against that prediction, confident of being able to purchase half a Mars bar from a vending machine with your money well before the semis!
Hair Style: Shaved at the sides gelled back on top, think One Direction.
Persona: Pulis looked almost as angry as Shearer. Punditry is clearly just a job to him, not a passion.
Appearance: Black blazer, blue shirt.
Analysis: Said very little apart from a couple of obvious lines- ‘Wales need to get the ball to Bale and Ramsey’, really? Looked like he didn’t want to be there, showing disrespect toward the millions of punditry fans across the globe.
Hair Style: Bald.
Northern Ireland vs Germany, Tues June 21st, BBC, Score: 1-0 Germany
Pundits: Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Neil Lennon, Jens Lehmann
Persona: Lineker was up for this one, and he had to be with Lehmann in one of the chairs. Kept things moving along even with all the awkward pauses from the German.
Appearance: Navy shirt.
Analysis: His discussion with Lehmann at half time was hysterical, bordering on excruciating. Me? I’m a glass half empty kind of guy, so I’m going to stir the pot here and say the two men were at war, Jens refusing to answer Gary’s initial question then Gary pushing him for an answer. Frightening viewing.
Hair Style: The ol’ silver fox
Persona: Northern Ireland obviously has a special place in Shearer’s heart. He furrowed his brow, glared at Lineker and spoke with a wistful gaiety about him.
Appearance: Sky blue shirt.
Analysis: The gaiety had all but evaporated at half time with the score 1-0 to das Germans, but still Shearer remained positive about Northern Ireland, willing them on and saying how well they were doing. Why doesn’t he do this with England?
Hair Style: Still bald.
Persona: The Irish have been so calm in front of the camera this tournament, and Lennon kept this tradition going.
Appearance: All in black- the ginger ninja.
Analysis: Genuinely seems a nice guy. Respectful towards everything he talks about, even Ibrahimović.
Hair Style: Shaved.
Persona: An interesting addition to the punditing ranks. The former Arsenal goalkeeper’s a little bit nutty, which keeps things entertaining. Was never on the same page as his fellow pundits.
Appearance: Slate coloured suit and navy shirt.
Analysis: Brutal about his team (Germany). But not in a ‘Shearer hypothetically batter them with a club’ style, more a ‘stick needles in their eyes and see how long they can stand the suffering’ style. Either way he was very harsh.
Hair Style: Short with curls.
Republic of Ireland vs Italy, Wed June 22nd, ITV, Score: 1-0 Ireland
Pundits: Mark Pougatch, Lothar Matthaus, Richard Dunne, Glenn Hoddle
Persona: Pougatch needed to pull a rabbit from the hat with this line-up put out to analyse the match. To be fair, he almost did. Hardly any shouting, although his attempts at footy banter came across like a maniac escaped from the looney bin.
Appearance: Another awful coloured shirt- bright purple.
Analysis: Highlight of the night was his goading of Dunne in reference to Ireland’s last match against Italy in a major tournament, USA 94- ‘did you get a day off school to watch it?’
Hair Style: Bank manager.
Persona: Respect has to be given to the former German defensive-midfielder for earning an incredible 150 caps for his country. However, in my notes on his punditry skills I wrote intense in style, weak in analysis. Intense in style, weak in analysis.
Appearance: White shirt.
Hair Style: Short, black, a little gel? Germans have awesome hair…
Persona: Not only does he look like he’s on the verge of spontaneously crying he also seems to need an arm round the shoulder. Cheer up luv.
Appearance: Blue shirt.
Analysis: He had cheered up by full time! Well…he hadn’t really. Still seemed a little down, hope Shearer and his gang aren’t bullying him. Liked his refusal of the blanket opinion on Italian football. ‘It’s just their style.’ No it’s not, it’s cheating.
Hair Style: Shaved.
Persona: Glenn seemed very pleased to find himself sitting on a chair in a nice comfortable air conditioned studio, instead of stood pitchside in hot and sticky Paris for an hour and half
Appearance: Pink short sleeve shirt, black trousers (needs to hire a stylist).
Analysis: Wants the referees to cut shit out.
Hair Style: Hugh Grant Four Weddings.