The Rio Report

Facts: 7 truths – ITV’s beach choice, the real reason for drinks breaks?

The Rio Report

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Can you decide which beach is Rio and which one is Benidorm?

ITV and BBC could have staged their coverage from the Costa del Sol

Every night we seem to be greeted with images of the redoubtable ITV World Cup host Adrian Chiles sitting with a pair of bermuda shorts and polo shirt alongside various pundits - including Martin O'Neill, Fabio Cannavaro, Glenn Hoddle, Gordon Strachan and Lee Dixon - kicking back with shorts and shades apparently taking in the atmosphere of beach life in Rio de Janeiro before the big match begins.

The atmosphere looks great but we are convinced the broadcasters could have saved a good few bob by just staging their coverage from Benidorm's main beach in Spain. Not only would it be cost-effective, but the viewers would never know they weren't in Rio. Plus they could nip around to Lineker's Bar later on for a Sambuca Chaser and some football. If there is one there.

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Is this the real reason for the random drinks breaks?

We thought the drinks breaks were brought in as a sensible measure to help the players, but it just seems as though they are an excuse for TV directors to 'give a flavour of Brazil' with some unnecessary shots of women in the crowd. Is that wrong? If a TV cameraman gets bored, they quickly turn to some attractive women. Whenever a water break arrives, it seems some eager television cameramen can't wait to cut to the chase by showing us images of whatever attractive female is smiling. It may be all about giving FIFA a chance to show the world that everyone is having a great time in Brazil, or it could be just a touch cynical. It is certainly getting a mixed reception, it seems. There have been other reasons cited for the controversial new feature, including the opportunity for managers to make tactical changes and key strategic points while players are not re-hydrating.

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Foreign sports reporters are notably better looking than the British representatives

Again, we are not complaining. We are just pointing out the obvious. Mexico suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands, but at least this poor, suffering Mexican chap could take comfort in who was about to greet him at full-time. Call this a complimentary photo. Or call it us indulging ourselves. We thought that it was too good to leave out.

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Give me some of what Clark Carlisle is on

Speaking of pundits, Clark Carlisle was making a fine fist of things yesterday during Mexico's narrow 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands. Big Clark has turned to punditry after an exalted career that peaked with a couple of seasons in the Premier League with Watford and Burnley. After Mexico moved 1-0 ahead, Clark said "now we'll see what Holland are made of". Then when goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a save at point-blank range, Clarky was praising his positioning. No disrespect, but the ball hit straight off his frame and head in the centre of the goal. We're not sure where he should have been positioned. Keep up the good work, Clark.

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What a time to stick a Dolly Parton concert on at

Talk about bad timing. As Mexico and the Netherlands duelled it out for a spot in the quarters, the Beeb aired Parton. It is just a shame that viewers were deprived of Dolly doing Jolene, Nine to Five and Islands In The Stream with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora helping out when the football was on ITV. If you were a Dutch fan, you'd probably have been better sticking with Dolly. Apart from the final eight minutes, when Mexico fans would have been seeking out Dolly's best country western songs covering heartbreak.

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Costa Rica are the fairytale story of this tournament

Not only are they into the last eight after a win over Greece 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, Costa Rica have overcome the odds to get there. They were supposed to be plankton of Group D, but managed to come out on top of that section with wins over Uruguay, Italy and a draw with England. They have fabulous spirit demonstrated by their survival being down to 10 men against the Greeks when Oscar Duarte was sent off midway through the second half after a second booking. They shipped a goal late on when they were leading 1-0 courtesy of Bryan Ruiz, but they managed to cling on for penalties. They converted all five penalties to seal their victory. Can they upset the Dutch in the quarter-finals? Stranger things have happened in football.

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Nobody is better at self-harming in World Cups than Mexico

Mexico were two minutes from the 90 minutes holding a 1-0 lead. They looked destined to claim a 1-0 over the Netherlands, but somehow managed to self-combust on the cusp of the quarter-finals. Nobody does losing in the last 16 better than the Mexicans. This debilitating defeat means they have suffered a sixth straight World Cup exit in the last 16. It was a hugely disappointing way for them to depart the scene having led for so long.

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