BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 8°C Monday 30 November 2020
Advertisement

53 World Cup clichés you'll probably hear over the coming weeks

‘Messi’s never really done it for Argentina’ and more common sayings.

Soccer Euro 2012 Germany Italy Source: Vadim Ghirda

(Mario Balotelli’s ‘temperament’ is likely to be questioned)

53. You have to look at people like the Rory McIlroys, the Brian O’Driscolls, the Kilkenny hurlers…

Eamon Dunphy, when he’s unfavourably comparing a cheating footballer, usually Ronaldo, to the ‘truly great’ sportsmen and women.  

52. They’re a bit of an unknown quantity.

Likely to be said by: anyone who can’t think of anything else to say about one of the less high-profile teams.

51. “He’s never really done it for Argentina, has he?”

Likely to be said by: anyone unaware of the integral role Lionel Messi played in Argentina’s World Cup qualification.

50. “Never write off the Germans.”

Likely to be said by: anyone willing to ignore the fact that Germany haven’t won a major tournament since Euro 96.

49. “Mario Balotelli is a fantastic talent, but he’s likely to fly off the handle at any stage.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who has ever seen Balotelli play.

48. “Spain are a fantastic team, but can they do it on a different continent?”

Likely to be said by: anyone who forgets that the last World Cup, which the Spanish won, was in South Africa.

47. “They’ll be dancing in the streets of [insert capital city of triumphant team here] tonight.”

Likely to be said by: a commentator seeking to secure geographical brownie points.

46. “Ronaldo doesn’t do it in the big games.”

Likely to be said by: a troll.

45. “Danger here!”

Likely to be said by: George Hamilton, just as a team are about to concede a goal.

44. They’re a bit naive, Bill!

Likely to be said by: John Giles, when analysing African teams.

43. A fully-fit Diego Costa would have scored there.

Likely to be said by: A commentator, anytime the Spanish striker slips up.

42. “You never know, they could do a Greece.”

Likely to be said by: commentators in reference to any team with barely a hope of winning the competition (or by economists anticipating a country’s downfall).

Sweden Portugal Wcup Soccer Source: Frank Augstein

(Ronaldo — actually does it quite frequently on the big occasions)

41. England will be relying on that mixture of youth and experience.

Likely to be said by: pundits, provided Sterling, Henderson et al are given a chance.

40. “Pace, movement and desire.”

Likely to be said by: the soon-to-be-retired Alan Hansen.

39. “There are no easy games in international football.”

Likely to be said by: anyone preparing to play Honduras.

38. “I expect them to be well-organised, Bill.”

Likely to be said by: an RTE panellist with a thinly-veiled lack of knowledge regarding a particular team.

37. “What a difference a year makes.”

Likely to be said by: anyone assessing Jordan Henderson’s spectacular rise from mediocrity.

36. What an incredible journey it’s been for Adnan Januzaj.

Likely to be said by: anyone familiar with the Belgian player’s dramatic rise.

35. “I’ve been saying it for years [that goal-line technology should be introduced].”

Likely to be said by: a pundit who is somehow unaware that everyone already knows he’s been ‘saying it for years’.

34. “But why do you support English club sides?”

Likely to be said by: anyone bemused by the phenomenon of most Irish football fans never failing to vigorously back whoever England are playing.

33. “They’re not a classic Brazilian side.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who notices Paulinho, Hulk et al playing for Brazil.

32. “You never know which France are going to turn up.”

Likely to be said by: anyone aware of the French side’s inconsistency over the years.

31. “He’s not that type of player.”

Likely to be said by: an extremely naive commentator, whenever someone makes a horrendous challenge.

BRAZIL WORLD CUP SOCCER Source: AP/Press Association Images

(Hulk — not your stereotypical Brazilian player)

30. “We don’t know an awful lot about [insert team name here].”

Likely to be said by: Alan Shearer, when he hasn’t done any research.

29. “All you need to do is look at his CV.”

Likely to be said by: a pundit who has run out of interesting things to say about Louis van Gaal.

28. “International football is in decline Bill!”

Likely to be said by: a certain RTÉ pundit whenever one of the big footballing nations produces an underwhelming performance.

27. “They have to take each game on its merits.”

Likely to be said by John Giles, whenever Bill gets ahead of himself.

26. “The alarm bells are ringing at Old Trafford.”

Likely to be said by: anyone commenting on the fact that Holland have conceded a goal/produced an underwhelming performance.

25. “Uruguay are my dark horses to win it.”

Likely to be said by: people unaware of the fact that Uruguay barely made it through the qualifiers.

24. “The host nation always does well.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who’s forgotten about South Africa’s performance at the last World Cup.

23. “They remind me a bit of Ireland.”

Likely to be said by: anyone commenting on a team who are essentially rubbish, but have an impressively vocal set of fans.

22. “England were robbed!”

Likely to be said by: Ian ‘impartial whenever England aren’t playing’ Wright.

Soccer - International Friendly - Spain v Bolivia - Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Source: AITANA

(Xavi — still actually quite good)

21. “Xavi’s well past his best.”

Likely to be said by: anyone with a penchant for prematurely writing off players.

20. “You really can’t look past your Spains, your Germanys, your Brazils of this world.”

Likely to be said by: a pundit who is asked to predict the eventual winner of the tournament.

19. “That’s unlike you Lee!”

Likely to be said by: Adrian Chiles, sarcastically, whenever Lee Dixon gives the defender the benefit of the doubt.

18. “They’re a team of individuals.”

Likely to be said by: a pundit who can’t think of a more technical reason as to why a side with a number of big-name players have flopped.

17. “You can write off [insert name of eventual winners here]. They have absolutely no chance!”

Likely to be said by: Eamon Dunphy.

16. “I’m going to stick my neck out and say Spain.”

Likely to be said by: pundits trying (and failing) to be funny, when asked who they think will win the tournament.

15. “The Italians are no longer a force to be reckoned with.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who conveniently forgets that they supposedly weren’t a ‘force to be reckoned with’ at the last Euros either.

14. “Write them off at your peril.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who thinks the Italians still could, in fact, be a force to be reckoned with.

13. “Uruguay need more bite in their attack.”

Likely to be said by: commentators/wannabe stand-up comedians if Luis Suarez is only fit enough to make the bench.

12. “John Terry wouldn’t have let that happen.”

Likely to be said by: pundits, anytime England concede a goal.

11. “It’s a lottery now.”

Likely to be said by: an overly excited commentator, who seemingly lacks a detailed knowledge of how a lottery actually works, whenever a match goes to penalties.

Britain Soccer Terry Racism Source: AP/Press Association Images

(John Terry — likely to be missed when things inevitably go awry for England)

10. “On paper, England are the better team.”

Likely to be said by: Alan Hansen, just prior to a game that England inevitably end up losing.

9. “He gives them that something extra.”

Likely to be said by: unoriginal commentators, in reference to Wayne Rooney/Robin van Persie/Cristiano Ronaldo et al.

8. “I’ve never really fancied David Luiz.”

Likely to be said by: pundits still raging over that imminent PSG deal.

7. “They’re trying to pass the ball into the net.”

Likely to be said if/when Spain’s much-praised passing game is failing to earn them a victory.

6. “They lack a plan B.”

Likely to be said if/when Spain’s much-praised passing game fails to earn them a victory.

5. “We’re getting ready for a real festival of football.”

Likely to be said by: commentators who can’t think of anything interesting to say during the opening ceremony.

4. “There’s been a real buzz about the place.”

Likely to be said in reference to the build-up of one of the host country’s games.

3. “Now’s your chance to put the kettle on.”

Likely to be said by: Gary Lineker, during the brief breaks between matches.

2. Antonio Cassano was very much the forgotten man of Italian football.

Likely to be said by: commentators eager to reference the striker’s brief exile from international football (see also: France’s Karim Benzema).

1. “Brazil are really playing to the samba beat now.”

Likely to be said by: commentators anytime Brazil string more than two passes together.

And finally, the five most likely newspaper headlines to be written during the tournament:

1. Brave England suffer penalty-kick woe

2. United back Van Gaal despite World Cup failure

3. Messi on Argentina’s World Cup exit: ‘I’m still the best player ever’

4. Hipsters: ‘Belgium let us down’

5. Uruguay take gamble on Suarez

A variation on this article was previously published on 30 May 2012

Which clichés have we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.

O Canarinho – Brazil’s iconic jersey that epitomises football and the World Cup>

Analysis: Nine years on, we ask how Liverpool won THAT Champions League final>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

Read next:

COMMENTS (16)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel