It’s the knockout stages! Normally when it gets to this point things go bad for the home-nation teams (and Rep of Ireland). But who cares about the football, lets take a look at the pundits!

Wales vs Northern Ireland, Sat June 25th, BBC, Score: 1-0 Wales

BBC Pundits

Pundits: Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Dean Saunders, Neil Lennon,

Gary Lineker
Persona:
I was originally going to write ‘Lineker wasn’t up for this one’, but on second thoughts I think he was. I think the fundamental problem is the punditry gig isn’t the same as the Walkers advert gig, and it doesn’t pay as well…

Appearance: Grey shirt.

Analysis: Helped Dean along when they were reflecting on the result. Captain Saunders seemed to be trapped in some quasi-pit of despair/elation at the performance and the result. Lineker pulled him round and kept him positive. Very admirable.

Hair Style: Silver fox.

Rating: 6/10

Alan Shearer
Persona:
Shearer was the English lion placed between the Welsh dragon and the Irish pixy. And the lion seemed happy.

Appearance: White shirt.

Analysis: ‘Standard of football has been terrible Gary’- those words will be carved into his tombstone, classic Shearer.

Hair Style: Still bald.

Rating: 7/10

Dean Saunders
Persona:
I couldn’t tell if Saunders was happy or sad at full time. Wales won! C’mon Dean! But no, Saunders refused to act like the Skull Attack lout at the local in Llangollen. Instead he was calm, measured, subdued, courteous, the statesman of Wales.

Appearance: Lovely fuchsia coloured shirt.

Analysis: Brutal appraisal of his team at half time. Commended N.R defender McAuley for his efforts even after scoring the own goal that decided the match- #Respect. ‘Gareth Bale’s a game-breaker’ (but say that in a Welsh accent), classic Saunders.

Hair Style: Short back and extra sharp sides.

Rating: 7/10

Neil Lennon
Persona:
Serene. It’s like Lennon knows something about this calamity of a modern world that makes it all ok. Has the fiery midfielder reached Nirvana?

Appearance: Ginger ninja.

Analysis: Whilst the other pundits were scathing of the football on show Lennon chose to be positive, praising his team’s endeavor and adventurous spirit and, unlike Saunders, he held the perfect balance between elation and despair at FT. Lennon’s just happy to be there. It’s what we love about him.

Hair Style: Ginger.

Rating: 8/10

Republic of Ireland vs France, Sun June 26th, ITV, Score: 2-1 France

ITV Pundits

Pundits: Mark Pougatch, Lee Dixon, Emmanuel Petit, Richard Dunne

Mark Pougatch
Persona:
It was an intimate setup for this match. The expansive studio and exuberant coffee table were gone. Now we were sitting with the pundits on a bar-top on a balcony. This setting seemed to relax Pougatch.

Appearance: Shirt.

Analysis: I did some background research on Pougatch to try understand who or what he is, and I discovered that he’s a ‘sports writer’ (whatever that means). ITV obviously wants his views to come from a more scholarly perspective- ‘it was a great goal’… Still I find points to pick up on against my punditry nemesis

Hairstyle: Bank manager.

Rating: 6/10

Lee Dixon
Persona:
Was Dixon a little intimidated for this one? Or is he just generally intimidated? You get the sense Lee’s trying to hold something together that blew up in his face a long time ago.

Appearance: Shirt.

Analysis: It was probably good analysis (he is a genuinely good pundit), but he was sitting next to Manu, so who cares.

Hair Style: Deputy bank manager.

Rating: 6/10

Emmanuel Petit
Persona:
Sat in black, played it black. Le Chevalier Noir.

Appearance: All in black- ominous…

Analysis: At the final whistle he was asked ‘who would you rather face in the next round? Iceland or England?’ Manu lived up to the legend. He smiled, a twisted smile that held within it everything and nothing of existence all at the same time, and roared into the camera ‘England!’ For me, this was the first sign that England’s efforts in this tournament were doomed…

Hair Style: The Petit-mun/flowing locks. Exceptional.

Rating: 8/10

Richard Dunne
Persona:
Dunne was the man given the short straw to represent the opposing side against Manu and France.

Appearance: Brown shirt. Didn’t look new like the last time. Getting complacent?

Analysis: I’ll give him his due here. Could have crumbled under the pressure Manu was applying on him. But he didn’t. He stood strong (well, sat…), sat strong, and gave a fair and honest appraisal of Ireland’s towering efforts and shortcomings.

Hair Style: Shaved.

Rating: 6/10

England vs Iceland, Tues June 27th, ITV, Score: 2-1 ICELAND!?
Pundits: Mark Pougatch, Ian Wright, Peter Crouch, Lee Dixon

Mark Pougatch
Persona:
In some sick and twisted way, Pougatch seemed to enjoy this. ‘The sports writer’. Any job title with the word ‘writer’ in it means a person who feeds off pain and misery.

Appearance: Navy shirt.

Analysis: Pougatch doing his bit of diplomacy in the new Independent British Republic of West Atlantica- ‘England have been humiliated by Iceland.’ Very respectful of the opponents.

Hairstyle: Bank manager.

Rating: 6/10

Ian Wright
Persona:
Anger personified on a scale with Shearer. The veins popping out Wrighty’s neck at full time were almost as wide as the Amazon delta!

Appearance: First short-sleeved shirt of the tournament for Wrighty, and he pulls it off with aplomb. Funky zig-zag pattern, and notice the guns! Standard Harry Potter glasses to compliment.

Analysis: ‘You have to feel for them.’ That’s pity right there.

Hair Style: Bald.

Rating: 8/10

Peter Crouch
Persona:
Below I’ve written ‘pathetic’ in reference to Crouch’s performance, and in a previous review I wrote he’s the worst pundit in the tournament, but let’s put this in perspective. Crouch is still active. He’s a colleague of all these players. He sees them at work on Monday. He can’t throw the kitchen sink at them, he’s conflicted. But still, worst pundit of the tournament.

Appearance: Shirt.

Analysis: ‘I think Iceland were more organised than England, um…’ Pathetic. From England and Crouchy.

Hair Style: Golden locks. Best hair of the pundits of the tournament

Rating: 5/10

Lee Dixon
Persona:
Whilst Wrighty was passionate with his anger, venting it like an old Jewish taxi driver in New York City in the 80s, Dixon was more like the school headmaster with the England national team marched to his office.

Appearance: Same navy shirt as his manager.

Analysis: ‘Abject performance’. His list of England’s failings was almost as long as me mam’s shopping list to Sainsbury’s on a Sunday. (fyi ((for your information)) ‘abject’- potential for word of the tournament).

Hair Style: Deputy bank manager.

Rating: 7/10

***This result was so bad the BBC were given their shot at slating the team. Let’s see how they did.

England vs Iceland, Tues June 27th, Score: 2-1 ICELAND!?
Pundits: Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Jermaine Jenas

Gary Lineker
Persona:
‘Where do we start with England and this debacle’. From there, it was only going to be a dark dark night of pure televisual drama.

Appearance: Violet shirt of mourning.

Analysis: ‘Tactically inept.’ I love that word- ‘inept’, could be another challenger for potential word of the tournament, once I found out what it means.

Hair Style: The very disappointed silver fox

Rating: 7/10

Alan Shearer
Persona:
Sheer and utter fury- anger, disgust, shame, remorse, regret, disillusionment, loathing, hatred! Shearer was not a happy bunny rabbit during this show.

Appearance: A shirt of fiery rage.

Analysis: ‘We were out fought’. We were out fought. Disgraceful.

Hair Style: Still bald.

Rating: 8/10

Rio Ferdinand
Persona:
Rio was also angry, but he was cooler about it, because he had the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune going round and round in his head- ‘in West Philadelphia born and raised on a playground was where I spent most of my days…’

Appearance: Navy polo shirt buttoned to the top (merc).

Analysis: On a playground was where I spent most of my days/ Chillin out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool/ And shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school

Hair Style: Carpet heed with fuzz balls.

Rating: 7/10

Jermaine Jenas
Persona:
The one kid you don’t want to be there at these times. Emphasis on the word ‘kid’. Shearer was about to punch him through the head, and if he had done, it would have had nothing to do with the result…

Appearance: White shirt.

Analysis: ‘Roy didn’t know what he was doing.’ Roy didn’t know what he was doing? Roy didn’t know what he was doing!? Do you know what you’re doing JERMAINE! But no. This is precisely the behaviour we don’t want at times like these- in house fighting. We need to stick together in these dismal days.

Hair Style: Carpet heed.

Rating: 6/10

By Harry Jamshidian

Daydreaming scriptwriter and part-time reviewer living in Kingston.