Edge of the box: England crash out as BBC boys arrive at tournament

Well that was worth the trip! The BBC boys arrive at the Euros… and England bow out



23:56 GMT, 24 June 2012

Well, the plan was to come into the tournament not doing it, but by the time Sunday evening came around, we just couldn’t help ourselves could we…England expected.

Equally, the BBC expected an absolutely massive TV audience so Lee Dixon went around and turned off all the lights, Alan Hansen switched off the gas, and Gary Lineker locked up behind them all in Salford as the Match Of the Day team headed off to Kiev for the quarter final game against Italy.

And again: England crashed out on penalties once again

And again: England crashed out on penalties once again

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Which in its own way proved a little disappointing.

Just as so often happens on those more elaborate stag weekends, the ITV boys had gone out to the party early and were having a right time of it on their Warsaw balcony.

It would have been nice if when the BBC lads showed up, they’d taken the room below them so we might have had the prospect of Adrian Chiles and Roy Keane climbing down from above and mooning their BBC counterparts.

Then again, perhaps not.

Instead, the BBC took their place inside the Olympic Stadium, in a booth that provided not only a splendid view, but also plenty of atmosphere. And when I say atmosphere, I mean noise.

Sound seemed to be prove to be a nightmare for their technical team all night long.

Class act: Andrea Pirlo of Italy was on top form

Class act: Andrea Pirlo of Italy was on top form

Admittedly they had to deal with a PA announcer for whom all the way through the build up, silence was never golden, but even then Lineker and his team of pundits often sounded tinny and thin.

Perhaps they can get that room double glazed if they’re planning to stay there for the duration

Acoustics issues aside, there was also the editorial question of quite how big to go with the build up for this game To which the answer pretty quickly was, without sparing the horses.

‘Dare we start to believe’ asked Lineker at the very start of the coverage – a question which proved to be just about immediately rhetorical as we were soon rallying around the flag to a spirited piece of hip hop called ‘3 little Words’ and a rousing speech delivered by the imposing tones of Terence Stamp.

Pals: Joe Hart congratulates Mario Balotelli

Pals: Joe Hart congratulates Mario Balotelli

It felt that if we were indeed to go further in the tournament, the BBC would have had to find a way to cause all our TVs to explode with excitement if they were going to top that.

Mind you, if you were worried that the tone was going to be too over the top throughout, you needn’t have worried for long, because come the kick off, Mark Lawrenson was on hand for co-commentary duties alongside Guy Mowbray.

Now I don’t expect Alan Hansen’s regular straight man to be some kind of tub thumper or cheer leader, but his, shall we say, low key way of doing his business can somewhat suck the life out of a situation.

That was something that became particularly pointed when from the second half onwards, England themselves were doing little or nothing to alleviate the problem. Which is also when his, ahem, wisecracks certainly weren’t helping either!

While the boys in white were barely hanging on in there, Lawrenson was working the room.

Opposite number: Hart's counterpart Gianluigi Buffon made a crucial save in the shoot-out

Opposite number: Hart's counterpart Gianluigi Buffon made a crucial save in the shoot-out

We got a joke about Federico Balzeretti’s ballerina wife wanting a ‘tutu draw’ and a zinger to Mowbray’s question ‘what has Prandelli got up his sleeve’ – ‘his shirt’ – that will no doubt have them rolling in the aisles when he starts his summer season in Great Yarmouth. That, or trying to set light to their seats.

In the end, though, it was an older story than that joke that we were left with, and images of the two Ashleys probably the only thing that will be seen ad nauseam, and that anyone is ultimately really going to remember.

That is unless they decide it would be hilarious to make a commercial for a pizza restaurant, of course.

While Lethal Bizzle may want to consider altering a lyric in that ‘3 Little Words’ tune of his…to ‘not good enough’.


Wednesday afternoon on Sky Sports News and the Spanish squad’s press conference took no chances in promoting their sponsors with tiny TV screens in front of their microphones rotating logo, and with giant bottles of Cruz Campo beer on the table…

Winner: Black Caviar (right) at Royal Ascot

Winner: Black Caviar (right) at Royal Ascot

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