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World Cup 2010: BBC edges ITV early doors

On day one of the football World Cup, both the BBC and ITV set out their stall for a long four-week campaign. Although the draw will keep them apart until the final, when they will go head-to-head in the Ratings World Cup, yesterday gave us an early indication that the BBC remain favourites to lift the trophy on July 11th.

Both channels have clearly raised their game for this World Cup, looking sharp in their new high definition kits – although ITV1 HD, buried away in the upper reaches of the Sky channel listings, is about as easy to find in the crowd as a teammate wearing grey on a gloomy afternoon in Southampton (one for Man U fans, there). I did find it curious, however, to discover that both channels appeared to be broadcasting their matches from inside the world’s biggest beehives – the incessant buzzing being somewhat off-putting.

ITV’s starting line-up has been significantly strengthened by their recent big money signing Adrian Chiles, who performed well up front, although there is a feeling that he is propping up an experienced but otherwise workmanlike side. If ITV are to upset BBC in the Ratings World Cup, you feel they needed to sign additional big names who could slot in alongside Chiles quickly: Christine Bleakley, say.

Over on the Beeb, they put out one of their most experienced sides, with a surprise debut for Emmanuel Adebayor. Alan Hansen set up the bulk of the play, cutting in incisively from the left hand side, while on the other flank Alan Shearer showed his usual industry in an unflashy but solid display. Nonetheless, the Togolese striker looked nervous in the middle, despite his known predilection for being the centre of attention. As my friend Big Dave commented after the game:

It was a poor debut for the lad. He stumbled around and looked a bit off the pace, but he will learn from this experience and hopefully improve in the latter stages of the tournament, should the team progress.

Coming off the bench for the Match of the Day highlights programme, Colin Murray gave a lively 30-minute cameo up front, justifying his recent promotion to the BBC TV squad. Meanwhile the old pro Lee Dixon once again showed the value of his sharp footballing brain. Why the Raymond Domeneches in the BBC management choose not to use him in the starting line-up more often is mystifying.

So, in the manner of all World Cup opening matches, it was a conservative start by both sides. An honourable draw, I’d say, with the BBC shading it early doors. Of course, it’s a game of two halves, and it could all turn in an instant. After all, it only takes a minute to score a goal.

Oh, and there was some football played as well. Those games were draws too.

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

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