Sport on TV: Show gets cancelled for Portugal's prancing pony

"No time now for his smarty-pants tricks!"

In his long and illustrious career, Clive Tyldesley has never been more on the ball (ITV1, Thursday). The Scolari boys were 2-0 down and needed the best player in the world – allegedly – to prove to us all that the allegations are true. "Portugal need the real Ronaldo!" Tyldesley cried.

Some might say the real Cristiano Ronaldo is precisely what they got. The show pony went missing, his allergy to the big occasion flaring up yet again – remember the second half in Moscow last month? As a fan of his present employers I found myself thinking, "Off you go. That'll be 60m quid, please." From the real Ronaldo to the Real Ronaldo.

The Germans, meanwhile, were busy confounding all our prejudices with their sense of adventure. At1-0, Tyldesley read out Joachim Löw's words when he took over as Germany coach: "We must not go back to the days of over-reliance on traditional German values. These days even San Marino can run around and fight, too." Tyldesley pondered: "and how true is that – not only of Germany but of England?"

David Pleat, his colleague in the commentary box, concurred wholeheartedly. "Absolutely right," he said. "It's imagination, it's improvisation, it's creativity, it's rotational, it's being comfortable – we lack it in England. If Germany are true to the principles you've just suggested they won't sit back, they'll go for the second goal."

And so they did. "Germany are in the semi-finals," roared Tyldesley at the end. "Never, ever, ever write them off!"

"You can't write them off," confirmed Gary Neville in the studio. "You can't write them off," said anchorman Matt Smith five seconds later.

Top show pony on BBC's Royal Ascot coverage this week has been the foot-in-mouth fashion critic James Sherwood. His acid tongue provoked a deluge of complaints on Wednesday when he spotted two women walking past dressed in black, and remarked, "They look like war widows" – on the day four British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. I can't say I made the connection myself. He apologised for that, but then blundered all over again when he was chatting to Carol Kirkwood, the BBC1 breakfast show weather presenter on Ascot duty.

Women racegoers, he said, are "heffers". Kirkwood was scandalised, apparently. "You can't say that!" Later in the day he stood by in distinct discomfort while Clare Balding apologised profusely on his behalf.

I'm not sure she should have bothered. He's a welcome antidote to all that Royal gush. Ascot needs the real James Sherwood!

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