[Warning to TiVo people: France-Portugal spoiler alert]
ESPN's coverage of the World Cup is simply pitiful. The announcers on SportsCenter don't even know what to do when it comes time to talk about it. At one point, the only thing they had to say was, “Italy and Germany will play in the semifinals tomorrow….attempting to move into the finals.” It was like watching a couple of robots–nay, CONFUSED robots–reading the teleprompter, wondering if they're being duped by the network into reading a bunch of offensive gibberish. Like if you go to get a tattoo in Chinese symbols that says “One life to live,” and the whole time you can't stop wondering if the Asian guy is tattooing “Somebody kill me NOW” onto your penis. Then he finishes, kicks your balls, and says, “GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLL!!!”
The announcers calling the actual game aren't so bad (John Harkes, JP Dellacamera, Marcelo Balboa, etc); it's all the stuff surrounding the game that's like an ugly collage of repetitive game analysis, anticlimactic production, mistimed commercials, sloppy attempts at sponsorship integration, and general dumbing down of one of the most beautiful sports ever played. I would tell ESPN to grow a pair and start taking this stuff seriously, but I think they're actually just waiting for their balls to drop.
Oh, and my god, how much do you have to pay to get a fucking highlight?! I'm sitting there after the England-Portugal game watching blurry transcontinental video of sulking fans in Manchester and cheering crowds in Lisbon when all I really want to see is Wayne Rooney stepping on Carvalho's nutsack and getting ejected. (Is it possible to end every paragraph with a cock or balls joke? Stay tuned to this post and find out!)
But the absolute WORST part of the ESPN World Cup broadcast has been Eric Wynalda. This dude is the most childish, self-centered, arrogant commentator with literally NOTHING to say. He is hyper-aware of the TV camera in the studio at all times, he becomes defensive when anyone slightly differs with his viewpoint, he takes up a defensive posture every time he sits next to Julie Foudy (which definitely either makes him gay or afraid of droopy eyes…have you SEEN her face??), and I swear I've even seen him roll his eyes at other commentators. I hate his halftime report (you can't even call it that, it's more like “halftime view of someone sitting”) so much, that I've started to switch to Univision's halftime analysis. If I manage to pick up five words in Spanish, I feel I've come out aHEAD (ahhh, thought I wouldn't make that one, huh?!).
Here's my favorite Eric Wynalda halftime analysis, during France-Brazil (I'm paraphrasing, but it's really, really close):
“You know, it's just so…unexpected. You don't expect this. … It's just unexpected, what can you say.”
OBVIOUSLY NOTHING, asshole. Eric Wynalda, you single-handedly make every American soccer fan look like a raging dick.
Also, if these commentators kiss Zidane's ass any more, I'm going to go ahead and assume they want to marry it. All I hear all game long is, “And so-and-so switches field to THE GREAT ZIDANE!” and “Zidane already knows where it's going BEFORE IT'S KICKED!” and “Can Zidane pull this one out for the French?!” referring to his assistance in pulling out Henry's dong in midfield.
Here's my favorite post-game conclusion by some arrogant douchebag in the back corner of an ESPN booth just now after France-Portugal:
“So Sunday will be the first French invasion of Berlin since the early 1800's with Napolean!”
So thanks ESPN, you really have dropped the ball on World Cup coverage harder than a sexually-frustrated referee after injury stoppage. See you Sunday at 1pm for the finals, when your staff can once again LICK MY SIZE 5 BALLS, because at least I got to see USA-Ghana with my own eyes, and hear it without Eric Wynalda in my ears.
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