World Cup 2014: From Hansen to Hoddle, which TV pundit will come up top trumps?


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The Independent Football

Where will you be on Saturday 14 June at 11pm? In bed, half-asleep?

Of course not, because the World Cup is on this summer, and that’s the date and time of England’s first group game, against Italy.

But if we are to stay up into the early hours watching telly, they had best field some good pundits to keep us hooked, right?

The BBC and ITV will be sharing duties – but who will set the tournament alight?

And who could let the whole team down?

Patrick Vieira (ITV)

Surprisingly softly spoken for such an intense competitor. Will provide cultured tactical judgements, assuming he’s allowed to get  a word in

Thierry Henry (BBC)

Speed of legs doesn’t quite translate to speed of thought, but he’s lost none of the va-va-voom. Is it the accent? Peut-être. Takes things to a philosophical level

Gary Lineker (BBC)

Flashes of early promise have developed into an impressive body of work; sports the cheery disposition of a player who thoroughly enjoys his football and puns

Alan Shearer (BBC)

The consummate centre-forward: will hold up play with unilluminating, uncontroversial droning, bringing others into the attack as they try to keep things interesting

Adrian Chiles (ITV)

Safe, if uninspiring pair of hands; can save most situations, from technological breakdowns to unfortunate gaffes (we’re looking at you, Hoddle)


Phil Neville (BBC)

A wild card with little experience; can be overexcitable (on Five Live) and would do well to demonstrate half the potential of his big brother, Gary

Alan Hansen (BBC)

Reliable for gaffes such as “the Argentine defender warrants shooting for... that” (the day after Colombian Andrés Escobar was shot dead at the 1994 World Cup)

Rio Ferdinand (BBC)

Lost his pace on the pitch, but can still run his mouth. The TV rookie brings the street to the corporation – expect much monotone slang but little insight

Lee Dixon (ITV)

Consistently impressive, mixing the strategic nous he learnt holding his hand in the air at Arsenal (offside, ref!) with a knack for telling the truth about a performance

Glenn Hoddle (ITV)

Often missed by England managers because he didn’t fit the team. Often overlooked for on-air duties because dodgy gags and racial smears don’t fit civilised society

Roy Keane (ITV)

Midfield destroyer won’t let anything get past him without dragging it down. A smirk is as close as he’ll get to a smile, and any fancy flourishes will be killed dead