Don’t trust UEFA

4 07 2012

 A lot of us watching the semi final between Germany and Italy will have felt for the poor German fan who was moved to tears after Balotelli struck his second goal in the 36th minute of the game.

No sooner had the mental one scored his screamer, ripped off his jersey and struck that pose when the footage cut away to a female fan with the German flag painted on her cheek and a single tear rolling away from an emotional eye.

Except it was a little bit of a lie on the part of European football’s governing body…

A lot of commentators mentioned how it was “Too early for tears”. And it was, there was an awful lot of football left to play at that point. The commentators knew it, the players knew it and the seemingly overwrought fan in the stands knew it too.

The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung talked to the tearful woman: Her name was Andrea, she came from Dusseldorf, and she was surprised when she started getting texts from friends asking why she’d started crying with nearly an hour of play remaining.

Simple answer: she hadn’t.

Instead, Andrea said, she had been overcome with emotion during the playing of the national anthems, before the match kicked off. A camera recorded her then, and the footage was inserted into live TV later on, at the moment it would have the most impact. The emotional power of sport, on cue.

Naughty, naughty, naughty. How dare the television networks con us, the pay viewers, in such a cynical way.

Well they didn’t.

Don’t blame the BBC or ESPN. They didn’t know, nor did ARD, the German network airing the match, nor did ZDF or SVT, or any of the other hundreds of channels that had won the regional broadcasting rights around the world. They had no control or input into what was being recorded. They merely aired the streaming live signal from UEFA—which on multiple occasions goosed the live footage by adding prerecorded shots, with zero acknowledgement.

 We all remember the light hearted moment during the Germany Vs Holland match in the Group stages when German manager Joachim Loew playfully snuck up behind an unaware ball boy and smacked the football out from under his arm.

It showed a real human side to a man who often comes across as rather unemotional and was quite the counterpoint to what was possibly the most intense match of the group.

Well surprise, surprise it didn’t quite happen like that.
In reality the incident took place during the pre-match warm ups and was spliced into the live feed at a point when some UEFA goon in a suit decided it would provide the most amusement.

Two networks, claiming they were caught off guard by UEFA’s sneaky, underhand  practices, have spoken out against it:

“Of course any form of censorship or manipulation is not acceptable for us.” said ARD’s Euro 2012 chief editor Joerg Schoenenborn.” That’s why we clearly told UEFA that the German public expects coverage to be live when it says it’s live. Live is live and has to stay live.”

“We have complained to UEFA that the impression was aroused that these were live pictures,” ZDF editor-in-chief Peter Frey said. “That does not correspond to our journalistic standards.”

 Which of course is very admirable and indeed is the right thing to say in the circumstance. Doesn’t mean we should automatically trust everything that TV shows us though. After all haven’t we lived through years upon tedious years of “Scripted Reality” shows such as “TOWIE” or “Geordie Shore”?

Not to mention such absolute utter bollocks as the live, unedited antics of housemates on Big Brother?

Your favorite news and sports shows always make sure to tape footage of their reporter nodding thoughtfully, and insert it under an interview subject’s voice. This makes it look like correspondent are intently listening and paying attention, when actually  they might be doodling, picking their noses or surfing hardcore porn on their desktop monitors.

It’s subtle, it’s unnoticeable and it is utterly cynical, sadly the Hollywood manipulation of seemingly unbroken scenes is surprisingly common.

Euro 2012 – Top players so far

15 06 2012

Ok, now before anyone points out the obvious yes we are only partway through the group phase but this is my blog and I make the rules!

With the second round of matches more or less out of the way now I have decided to have a quick look at some of the standout individual performances in the tournament so far.

 Mario Gomez

In my view Bayern striker Mario Gomez went  into the tournament with a little bit of a point to prove after a disappointing night in the Champions League final against Chelsea.

Well, with 3 goals so far he has more than delivered. Whilst he was the scorer of the only goal against Portugal was important it is two strikes against Holland which really impressed.
In particular his first where he timed his run to perfection and scored a goal that Dennis Bergkamp would have been proud of.

I would be surprised if an in form Gomez couldn’t fire German on to at least a Semi Final place.

Adrei Arshavin

  If I had to pick three words to sum up Arshavin’s time at Arsenal they would be frustrating, lazy and mercurial.

After the initial promise Arshavin has pretty much failed to deliver. Yes people can point to his assist rate but it is more his work rate or lack of that bugged me. He just doesn’t seem to care.

Well if for Arsenal Arshavin has been found wanting it has been a completely different story for the Russian national side.
This is the Arshavin that Arsenal fans have been crying out to see, making runs, picking out passes and just generally pulling the strings in the way we know he can.

Russia have been one of the standout teams for me and I credit Arshavin with being a big part of that success.

Mario Mandzukic

If it hadn’t been for injury to first choice striker Ivica Olic then Wolfsburg striker Mandzukic would likely have found himself consigned to the bench.

Well couldn’t that have proved to be a mistake? With 2 well taken goals against Ireland and the all important equaliser against Italy last night. Mandzukic is proving to be a more than capable replacement.

Here is hoping Croatia can manage to make it out of the group stage so we can see more of this promising forward.

Alan Dzagoev

With 3 goals to his name so far 21 year old Dzagoev is really starting to live up to Russia’s expectation.

The CSKA Moscow striker has been a revelation so far and if not quite the dark horse that some people are making him out to be he has certainly raised more than a few eyebrows as Russia have looked more than good value for a tilt at the title.

Niklas Bendtner

 If you have ever had the pleasure of listening Niklas Bendtner then you will be well aware that he is a supremely confident young man,some might even say arrogant.

Well Sunderland’s top scorer last year, a mighty 8 goals, has started to live up to a little bit of his own hype after netting two well taken goals against Portugal.

Of course the controversial 24 had to go his own way by flaunting tournament rules against and flashing his Paddy Power sponsored boxer shorts.


Andriy Shevchenko

At 35 there are some people who thought that this might prove to be a tournament too far for Shevchenko.

Well two goals against Sweden from the talismanic striker will have gone someway to proving them wrong.

Shevchenko has always been a player for the biggest of stages and an excellent start to the tournament so far coupled with his resurgence for Dynamo Kyiv is just going to show why he is still top dog for the Ukraine.

Yohan Cabaye

Cabaye was the best midfielder on show in the France v England match by some distance, especially when compared with Scott Parker….

The Newcastle player dictated the tempo of the entire game and showed levels of class that may yet earn him a move away from St. James Park.

He controlled and patrolled the middle of the park with ease and it was on this foundation that France dominated the entire game.






 Bastian Schweinsteiger

Gomez might be getting the plaudits for scoring 3 very good goals but if he is pulling the trigger than it is Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger who is providing the ammo.

In fact I would go so far as to say that Germany’s chance of winning the tournament revolves heavily around Schweinsteiger’s ability to set the tempo of the game more or less single handed.

Approaching his prime at 27, Schweinsteiger’s influence was evident again on Wednesday when he set up both goals as Germany beat the Dutch 2-1 with a lesson in fast, powerful and clinically effective football.

“Schweinsteiger is getting better and better, he’s developing more of a presence and when it gets tough he can keep the ball,” coach Joachim Loew said after Germany moved to the brink of the quarter-finals. “He’s physically strong and wins the one-on-ones.”

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