AN ABSOLUTE shambles unfolded down in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday night for anyone who loves the beautiful game.

And not just Martin Keown’s BBC commentary: “Brazil are reliant on one player – Neymar at one end and Thiago Silva at the other.”

He wasn’t the only one having the mother of all stinkers, of course.

That the most extraordinary match ever played, Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation by Germany, happened on the biggest stage in their own backyard is the icing on what has been the greatest World Cup.

And while ITV’s shirts-and-shorts brigade successfully bottled the carnival better than the Beeb, it was Gary Lineker at the final whistle who said it better than anyone: “This is Brazil, for crying out loud.”

In so doing he won the battle of the anchors, despite a tendency to break into Alan Partridge: “I met Mario Kempes the other day. Great player. Lovely bloke.”


Sadly, even Lineker couldn’t dodge that most deadly of BBC grenades, an ill-advised, World Cup themed EastEnders trailer which it lobbed in during the Brazilian post-mortem analysis.

A shameful chapter that shows the Beeb is almost as detached from what viewers want as the soap is from reality.

And I’d just about recovered from Steve Wilson’s second-half intro too, with the score at 5-0: “Eins, zwei, drei, vier, thumped.”

It was almost inevitable, then, that ITV’s semi-final 24 hours later would be dire, goalless and make Adrian Chiles wish he’d gone for scissors instead of rock to Lineker’s paper when they were allotting matches.

In my imagination, anyway.

Holland v Argentina wasn’t only disappointing on the field.

Clive Tyldesley delivered his answer to Kenneth Wolstenholme’s “They think it’s all over”...

“I used to be poker-faced when I was watching my son playing. Barton Rovers, under 8s.”

Immortality beckons, Clive.

In the studio, Lee Dixon found himself admitting: “I talked to Nigel de Jong in the hotel the other day about his groin.”

Which explains the 500-yard restraining order.

With the exception of the excellent Guy Mowbray, drudgery has littered the commentary box.

Captain Tactics Truck, Andy Townsend, predictably described Germany as “efficient”.

Mark Lawrenson has stolen Geoff Boycott’s “corridor of uncertainty” line.

Steve Wilson actually said out loud: “Perspiration hasn’t done the referee’s haircut any favours.”

And I was shouting: “Just talk about the match!” at the telly long before Robbie Savage said mid-game: “I once had a tattoo. It was absolutely horrendous. I had it removed.”

None of this, however, can detract from the overwhelming beauty of Brazil 2014.

So it’s only right that the final word goes to one of their own, 2002 World Cup winner and BBC pundit Juninho, with the most gracious and humbling comment imaginable immediately after the 7-1 thumping by Germany.

“I’m happy because football won.”

This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Wimbledon’s five-set thriller men’s final.

The One Show’s Alex Jones asking Pamela Stephenson, wearing a huge Mardi Gras headdress, for her thoughts “with your psychologist’s hat on”.

BBC4’s Storyville: The Lance Armstrong Story – Stop At Nothing, with his Nike advert voiceover: “What am I on? I’m on my bike.” (And all the drugs.)

The Chase answer of the week: “According to the House at Pooh Corner, Tiggers don’t like what foodstuff?” “Twiglets.”

C4 admirably not inserting JLS’s Oritse Williams’s name in the title of Britain’s Youngest Carers.

And life-affirming OAPs Behaving Badly’s “shot-loving granny Cheryl”: “My motto is if you can’t remember it, it didn’t happen.” So let’s all try really hard to forget Stand By Your Man. It didn’t happen.

This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

BBC News’s Fiona Bruce turning into the Juan Sheet guy with her ridiculous pronunciation of football legend Alfredo di Stefano.

John Bishop’s Australia going over the same ground as Billy Connolly and Ross Noble.

Monday’s EastEnders ripping off Friends’ The One Where Everybody Finds Out episode (“They don’t know we know they know”) a week after ripping off Breaking Bad.

Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome failing to stay upright in the Tour de France.

BBC2 feeling the need for a University Challenge spin-off.

And a payday loans advert voiceover racing through the small-print at mach eight: “Introducing Sunny, a new way to borrow up to £1,000 when you need it. AtRepresentative1971%APRVariable.”