Chris Maume: Sport on TV

Beeb has literally played a blinder
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The Independent Online

Team of the Tournament: as ever, if the BBC are Argentina, then ITV are Serbia & Montenegro. If there was a telly Jules Rimet trophy, the Beeb would have won it outright decades ago. From Ol' Jug Ears to the music researchers, they've all played a blinder. Well, nearly all of them.

Best straight-talking guy (from a shortlist that also featured Martin O'Neill, Gordon Strachan, Alan Ball and Mark Lawrenson): Mick McCarthy.

He was often appalled by what he saw, and never shy about telling us about it. One nice line, from many, during the match from hell, Switzerland v Ukraine. There was a long silence from the commentator, Guy Mowbray. "I was looking hard at my stopwatch," he apologised.

"I thought you'd gone to have your teeth pulled," McCarthy told him.

Wittiest touch: The BBC like their music sequences just before the credits, and they deserve a big gong for the end of the Switzerland v Ukraine highlights: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now".

Best match summariser: Lawrenson beat off David Pleat. His usual entertaining, "we're all doomed" mordant wit was tempered by the kindness and consideration he showed the declining John Motson, correcting his mistakes with only the slightest hint of exasperation. It was like dealing with an ageing parent - "Yes, dad, of course they play football in Togo..."

Person I unexpectedly warmed to: Ian Wright is usually a pain, but away from England games he showed himself to be a thoughtful observer.

Best piece of 1966-related trivia: Celina Hinchcliffe's revelation that Metin Tolan, professor of experimental physics at Dortmund University, has demonstrated, using time-lapse technology, that the ball was over the line for 0.02sec while it was in the air, so that goal was legitimate. Not so much trivia as historical fact, then, and vital to the history of our great and proud nation.

Best misuse of the word "literally": "And David Odonkor literally handed the ball to him on a plate!" (Andy Townsend, during Germany v Italy - which, incidentally, with its relentlessly positive play and absence of cheating, felt like a throwback to an age that probably didn't even exist.)

Worst apologist for diving: the otherwise excellent O'Neill, who let himself down on several occasions.

Banquo's Ghost award: If the government had any sense (ha!) they'd have enacted a law forbidding Barry Davies from retiring. Mowbray's not bad; Steve Wilson's very good. But I sorely missed the king of cultured commentary.

Man of the Tournament: This is embarrassing - look up the top left to see why - but there's a shortlist of one, and that one is Adrian Chiles. He's you and me, the common people, the man on the West Brom omnibus, thrilled to be part of the biggest show on earth.

And finally, the "One of My Favourite Words" award. The word is "egregious". The winner... Garth Crooks!

Now there's a surprise.

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