Sport on TV: Underachieving, underwhelming and undereducated

From one underachieving England side to another... Or is that unfair on Andrew Strauss's brave boys? During the World Cup I'd forgotten that cricket existed. But then I'd forgotten that almost everything else existed as well. And in the conceptual slippage that became inevitable when the football refused to die thanks to Zizou, I found myself watching the cricket, as Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook did their best Owen Hargreaves v Portugal impersonations, while imagining Geoff Boycott summarising in Berlin last Sunday rather than St John's Wood.

"No, no, you don't do it like that! That's no good! Not in the chest! You need blood. You want to go for the bridge of the nose. I tell the all the young lads I coach that you have to hear the sound of nasal cartilage splintering."

The World Cup did continue - at least, the Football & Poker Legends World Cup (Five, Wednesday), in which each team is composed of two poker pros and one wrinkled old footballer. It was the semi-finals, Germany against the Netherlands. The Dutch old lag was Glenn Helder, the former Arsenal man, who confessed a few years ago that he'd tried to kill himself because of his compulsive gambling.

The German old boy also rang a bell. Uli Stein, a man with big, sad, troubled eyes, was sent home in disgrace from the 1986 World Cup, where he was Toni Schumacher's deputy. A Google translation of his German Wikipedia entry tells you all you need to know: "Thus it was sent with the WM in Mexico von Teamchef Franz basin farmer, after it had called these 'Suppenkasper' and the crew as 'a cucumber troop', what the end of its career in the national soccer team ment." Later that year he was sent off in the German Cup. "He said goodbye to Augsburger the fans with the stinking finger."

Not a man to be trifled with, then. Unless you're a poker nut, all that's more interesting than the game itself - in which both footballers played well in an eventual German victory.

Helder and Stein might have exceeded expectations, but it was still a week for the underachiever. Take the Charlton Athletic fan for whom Mastermind (BBC2, Wednesday) was a game of two halves. Brilliant with his own questions and second after the first round, he was rubbish on general knowledge, slipping to last through scoring only two points, with more passes than England managed in five games in Germany.

Another underachiever, Juan Pablo Montoya, is decamping from Formula One to Nascar, which has its origins in stock-car racing. All I know is that at Kirby Stadium in the Seventies stock cars fought to the death. Which would suit Formula One's very own Mr Pile-Up, whose most recent jape was taking out eight cars at the US Grand Prix. In fact, on further investigation - late-night Five on Thursday - it's not like that at all. It's that awful oval thing, and I dipped in on lap 146 of a 267-lap race. Ridiculous. Even worse than basketball. The only sport that should be permitted to go into three figures is cricket. The next time I looked up they'd cut to lap 238. But I don't know who won. I'm sorry, there were still 20 minutes left. Crash Boy's welcome to it.

I wrote during the World Cup that I was fed up of hearing about 1966. But even I felt for Sir Geoff Hurst on Love Island (ITV1, Thursday). No, Hat-trick Man hasn't sunk quite so far. He was one of the questions in a picture quiz for the programme's thonged and bikinied imbeciles. Sir Geoff came up for Lady Victoria Hervey, who didn't have a clue who he was, even when his name was revealed. This is the gods' punishment for the modern Prometheus, the man who dared score three goals in a World Cup final: condemned to go for ever unrecognised by a D-list celebrity on Love Island.

And finally, there was naturally talk of Juventus et al on Sky Sports News yesterday, with my subtitling facility accidentally turned on: "...and tear and Tina could also go down..."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee