Hot and Cold: World Cup Pundits
Which World Cup pundits are having a shocker and who has been a surprise sensation?
Here’s who currently hot and cold in Russia…
Consistently entertaining on ITV’s coverage – and always keeping the viewer on edge as to what he might do next. Plus the Croatian is refreshingly honest in his attitude – shown most notably in his indifference to VAR.
A punditry maverick who is wasted in the managerial dugout.
If looks could kill…Slaven Bilic is not at all happy as ITV show his reaction to Croatia’s dramatic win 😡 pic.twitter.com/Gg357V6wCu
— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) July 1, 2018
A genuine find at this World Cup for the BBC. His stay in Russia was cut short as he returned to pre-season training, but Fabregas was a revelation during his week at the tournament, surprising many with his articulate, cliché-free takes on the game.
Let’s hope he’s back for more soon.
You can cut the tension with a knife in the ITV studio when Keano is in the line-up, but he always has something to offer, whether it’s calling players out or revealing his long list of enemies.
Plus it would be too terrifying to contemplate what might happen if we drop him into the other category…
“My biggest regret is I never ripped his head off…’
— Paul Hughes (@smallshoes62) June 20, 2018
Almost inevitably Aluko’s inclusion on the ITV panel for 2018 provoked plenty of social media debate (as did Alex Scott for the BBC), but she has certainly put the hours in when it comes to in-depth research and analysis of teams – something that can’t be said for some of her more freewheeling male colleagues at this tournament.
Zabaleta has added calm and forensic insight to the BBC team during his debut in the punditry chair. The Man City legend and current West Ham player also looked genuinely crestfallen after Argentina’s 0-3 humiliation against Croatia. Somebody give that man a hug.
A man who always sounds like he’s having way too much fun – and that’s probably because he is. For a certain generation he’ll always brings back fond memories of carefree days playing FIFA.
It’s good to have him back in the co-commentary chair.
Giggsy’s credentials as a player can’t be called into question, but the new Wales manager looks very uneasy in front of a camera. So far he has provided some of the most awkward silences of the tournament with several anecdotes falling flat.
Let’s hope his managerial skills are more tactical than man-management based…
At no point during this does Ryan Giggs appear to wonder whether this really qualifies as an anecdote… pic.twitter.com/fT9V7kiNDj
— Ed Wilson (@mr_ed_wilson) June 15, 2018
The Frenchman provided perhaps the most cringe-inducing moment of the tournament in clapping Eni Aluko’s tactical analysis during the group stages, showing up his own lack of preparation in the process.
Evra brought his nonchalant approach to playing to the punditry chair – except his West Ham, rather than Utd, form.
Patrice Evra is legit shocked by Eniola Aluko’s knowledge. pic.twitter.com/PAKdXcTC4T
— Aaron Wan-Bisscammer (@Nigerianscamsss) June 17, 2018
Sometimes the art of co-commentary is knowing when to be silent. Hoddle has fantastic insight as a player and manager but can too often resemble the local pub bore or that distant relative you get stuck talking to at a wedding as you try and get to the bar.
Keep it brief, Glenn.
The younger Neville sadly looks destined to always live in the shadow of his more talented brother.
No doubt Phil is likeable and – as the old adage goes – always gives 110% – but he has an unfortunate Partridgesque habit of dropping a clanger, ably demonstrated by his thoughts on Uruguay….
Phil Neville on Uruguay
‘All they’re bothered about is progressing further than they ever have done before’
They’ve won it twice Phil. #WorldCup
— Gary Wilkinson (@GazWilko86) June 20, 2018
The BBC’s big summer shining has failed to shine. Pundits can improve – just look at Alan Shearer when he first started – but the former Chelsea ace has so far added little to the party.
Who is infuriating you this summer?