South Africa 2010: Probably the best quotes in the world

Tongue-twisters, memorable muck-ups and a few more Colemanballs (that's Chris, not David). Phil Shaw picks his favourites

"The BBC is considering a red-button version of the World Cup without the constant annoying drone – or just stop employing Mick McCarthy."

Look Away Now, Radio 4 comedy

There was a surreal moment during the BBC coverage of Spain's semi-final triumph over Germany. Mark Lawrenson, with the air of someone suddenly finding an acquaintance looking poorly or perplexed, asked commentator Guy Mowbray: "You all right?" "Fine," came the terse reply, followed by a pregnant pause. "Thanks for asking."

Viewers have grown accustomed to the duo's peculiar chemistry. Lawrenson responded to Mowbray's remark about Joan Capdevila being the only Spain player not from Barcelona or Real Madrid by suggesting the full-back was not good enough to play for either. "You can say that," Mowbray retorted. "Just did," snapped Lawrenson.

The contrast with ITV's semi-final was stark, Holland's defeat of Uruguay proving a throwback in more ways than one. It not only produced a first World Cup final appearance in 32 years for the Oranje. It was also a return to the days when Messrs Coleman and Wolstenholme flew solo without a pundit.

Illness had confined Jim Beglin to his bed, leaving Clive Tyldesley to soldier on alone. The absence of a second opinion found Tyldesley struggling to answer his own questions and highlighted the extent to which, for the armchair audience, the tournament has developed a narrative driven largely by the "expert" ex-players.

Tonight, after a month of widespread stereotyping – South Americans are "temperamental", Africans "naive" – we await a final brimming with European discipline, resilience and tactical awareness. And the most articulate and perceptive critics, unless the BBC has flown Roy Hodgson back for the occasion, will be foreign guests such as Clarence Seedorf and Jürgen Klinsmann.

Alan Shearer has hardly progressed beyond the "he'll be disappointed with that" verdicts and knee-jerk typecasting. His apparent reluctance to do the basic research which such a journalistic brief (and handsome remuneration) requires is inexcusable. "Our knowledge of these teams is limited," Shearer declared before Slovenia versus Algeria. He was not alone in parading his ignorance.

The outstanding pundits were two lucid Scots, Craig Burley and Pat Nevin, with John Murray, Simon Brotherton, Steve Wilson and Jon Champion the pick of the commentators. They did not strain for lame humour, unlike "Lawro" and Mowbray. Two bizarre examples. Mowbray: "Stuart Pearce is up and down a lot." Lawrenson: "He's got worms." Mowbray: "It was a tap on the ankle." Lawrenson: "Shoulda bin a plumber."

Here are our top 25 memorable quotes from the past month:

'Pele said an African team would win the World Cup before 2000 – I think it's going to be longer'

Alan Shearer on Ghana's quarter-final exit

'Sven Goran Eriksson tinkers with the Ivories'

Peter Drury as Eriksson made a substitution

'The England players didn't like him (Eriksson). He started to pull their birds'

Eamon Dunphy



'You can literally see what the players are thinking'

Ally McCoist



'If England do get through it looks like they will play Germany or Siberia'

Mike Parry on TalkSport



'When Diaby opens his legs he's quite a handful'

Craig Burley

'There's a real lack of inexperience in the South African team'

Steve McManaman



'Vidic got raped by – sorry, got taken apart by – Torres in that one game at Old Trafford'

Graeme Souness



'If Gerrard plays on the left we may as well pack up and go home'

Lee Dixon after "sources" assured him (incorrectly) England's captain would play in the centre



'The Eyeties don't have it'

Paul Ince, formerly of Internazionale, assesses Italy



'Too much too late'

Gareth Southgate after late Italian pressure failed against Slovakia.



'And so we say au revoir to Italy'

David Pleat



'One-nil is never a lead'

Efan Ekoku

'He hasn't had a kick, except for two headers'

Robbie Savage



'I wish somebody would elbow someone. It'd give us something to talk about'

Mick McCarthy on Brazil v Portugal, which ended 0-0



'Cometh the man, cometh the hour, as they say'

Chris Coleman



'It was a toughicult match for Upson to come into'

Alan Shearer



'It could be a problem for Germany if Schwarzsteiner isn't fit'

Denis Irwin on Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger



'The South Koreans threw the kitchen sink at them, or whatever the Korean equivalent of the kitchen sink is'

Adrian Chiles

'He is not the flavour of a lot of people's eye'

Craig Burley on Franck Ribéry



'You cannot have Guatemalan referees at a World Cup. Name me a club in Guatemala'

Robbie Savage again



'Ghana would love a goal to put the icing on the cake they already seem to be eating'

Martin Tyler



'The altitude must have dropped or something'

Ronnie Whelan after Europe saw off the South American challenge



'This match is like reading a book. You know what's going to happen'

Edgar Davids casts a fashionably bespectacled eye over Denmark against Holland



'Today it's the big one – Holland against The Netherlands'

Paddy McKenna, RTE 2fm presenter

News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Life and Style
fashionLidl to launch a new affordable fashion range
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment