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Talking (non)sense: The top 50 most likely clichés to be used by commentators at the Euros

Literally, the best football-related list in the world.

OVER THE NEXT month, football pundits/commentators/managers/players will inevitably seem more inescapable than ever.

The extensive coverage being given to Euro 2012 will have many consequences for TV viewers, not least their being subjected to an abundance of football speak.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to pre-empt our broadcast journalist friends with a not-so-subtle warning encompassing what not to say during the tournament’s course.

And keep in mind, it relates only to the Euros, so the many pearls of wisdom of Jamie Redknapp and his Sky colleagues unfortunately had to be omitted as if the Premier League never existed to begin with.

Anyhow, without further ado, here’s the list, without an ‘unbelievable Jeff’ in sight:

(John Walton/EMPICS Sport)

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. “On the field, you can’t question John Terry’s ability.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who neglected to watch the last few weeks of the Premier League season.

48. “Mario Balotelli is a fantastic talent, but questions have to be asked of his temperament.”

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

47. “Spain are a fantastic team, but questions have to be asked of their ability to cope with fatigue.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who witnessed Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final exit.

46. “The Irish lads may not have the best technical ability in the world, but they more than make up for it with great spirit.”

Likely to be said by: anyone on ITV (bar Roy Keane).

45. “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.

44. “I thought Ronaldo was a disgrace tonight.”

Likely to be said by: Eamon Dunphy.

43. “Danger here!”

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

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

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

(Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

41. “Lampard and Gerrard are fantastic individually, but the two of them together has never quite worked, has it?”

Likely to be said by: someone who runs out of original things to say about the England side.

40. “Pace, movement and desire.”

Likely to be said by: Alan Hansen.

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

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

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 an incredible journey it’s been for James McClean.”

Likely to be said by: anyone familiar with the Irish winger’s League of Ireland stint.

36. What an incredible journey it’s been for Joe Hart.

Likely to be said by: anyone familiar with the English goalkeeper’s Shrewsbury stint.

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. “Ireland will always be hard to beat under Trapattoni.”

Likely to be said by: anyone willing to forget the Russia home match in the qualifiers.

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.

(Efrem Lukatsky/AP/Press Association Images)

30. “I don’t know much about the Ukrainians Bill.”

Likely to be said by: John Giles.

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 Trap.

28. “International football is in decline Bill.”

Likely to be said by: a certain attention-seeking 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. “They’ll be drinking plenty of pints of Guinness in Dublin tonight.”

Likely to be said by: English commentators when/if Ireland achieve a positive result.

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

Likely to be said by: people unaware that Croatia are everyone’s dark horses to win it.

24. “The Irish just never know when to leave a party.”

Likely to be said by: an English commentator when/if Ireland score a dramatic late equaliser.

23. “They’ll have difficulty dealing with a big, awkward customer like Andy Carroll.”

Likely to be said by: anyone willing to forget the vast majority of the Liverpool striker’s season.

22. “We need to be more incisive.”

Likely to be said by Trap when Ireland suffer a disappointing result (see also: “We must play with more personality”).

(Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/Press Association Images)

21. “Xavi’s the one that makes that Spanish side tick.”

Likely to be said by: anyone who’s watched Spain play over the last few years.

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

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

19. “Young Whelan is a game lad.”

Likely to be said by: John Giles, in his continuing attempts to portray 28-year-old Glenn Whelan as the Peter Pan of football (see also: ‘young Andrews’).

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 team 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 weren’t a ‘force to be reckoned with’ at the last World Cup 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. “He’s a real leader on the pitch.”

Likely to be said by: commentators who are overly eager to accentuate John Terry’s positive attributes.

12. “From a footballing perspective, it’s the right decision.”

Likely to be said by: pundits again trying very hard to gloss over Terry’s alleged misdemeanours by attempting to justify his selection ahead of Rio Ferdinand.

11. “It’s a lottery now.”

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

(Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

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: inarticulate commentators, in reference to Wayne Rooney/Robin van Persie/Cristiano Ronaldo et al.

8. “I’ve never really fancied Ibrahimovic.”

Likely to be said by: pundits who don’t watch the Swedish striker’s Serie A performances on a regular basis.

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. “These modern balls are so light, they move all over the place and players can shoot from anywhere.”

Likely to be said by: pundits who are perplexed by the prominence of increasingly balloon-esque footballs (see also: goalkeepers explaining why they performed poorly during post-match interviews).

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 countries’ 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: Paul McShane [Irish football], Karim Benzema [French football] et al).

1. “These things even themselves out over the course of a tournament.”

Likely to be said by: a manager who is attempting to play down the fact that his side have benefited from a highly favourable refereeing decision.

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

5. Dunphy slams Irish performance

4. England can win Euro 2012, says Hodgson

3. England suffer disappointing quarter-final exit

2. Joey Barton slams [insert name of player] on Twitter

1. Player revolt in French camp

Read: YouTube Top 10: because Paul McShane can’t be that bad, can he?>

VIDEO: The best Gloria Gaynor-inspired Euro 2012 song we’ve heard>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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