Football Montages: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly… and The Rest

Where there’s a major tournament, you can bet there’ll also be a flashy (or on occasion, not-so-flashy) montage put together by the broadcaster showing its face at some point. David takes us through a few choice picks.

1. The Good

Always start off on a good foot and this needs very little introduction other than that I dare you to watch it and not smile. Italia ’90 was a dour tournament overall, but just days after English hearts were broken the BBC decided to make us smile. They could have gone for something somber, one of those piano cover-versions middle-aged divorcees and John Lewis love, but instead they took the 1990 World Cup and added a dash of Axel Foley:

2. The Bad

The 1998 World Cup was memorable for so many footballing reasons that there were rich pickings for a montage. As it was, ITV decided to show the highlights in and amongst loads of shots of the most attractive women in the crowd their cameramen had ‘worked hard’ to pick out, particularly those wearing as little as possible, all set to one of the worst soundtracks a montage has ever been wasted on:

3. The Ugly

I went to a lot of awful nightclubs in the nineties. I went to places you wouldn’t walk a dog in all in the name of having a good time. I’ve stood on a floor so sticky it nearly ruined my Kickers. I’ve told a stranger that I loved this tune having never heard it before or since and to be fair, I didn’t actually like it anyway. I drank lager so watery it could have come in an Evian bottle. Bearing that in mind, after the 1990 World Cup Eurosport decided to take us all back to every crap nightspot you’ve ever been in, wacky lasers to boot:

4. The Moving

After the ugly it’s only fair to give you something really, really good. The 2005 Champions League final, the Beatles, a miraculous comeback and all with added Sean Connery. Whether you’re a fan of Liverpool or not, it’s been emotional:

Sky would turn to the soundtrack again and in no less moving a way:

5. The Moving, Part II

This is another where a mix of soundtrack (Peter Gabriel’s really, really good cover of “Heroes”) fused with occasion (the 2010 Champions League final), the right choice of slow motion close ups (Mark van Bommel’s frustration particularly satisfying) and some moving images (Zanetti and Jose’s tears of joy at the final whistle) to give you something that stirs the soul and lives long in the memory. Consider this a template to tug at a heart string.

6. The Misjudged

Hey listen, we’ve all at one point or another enjoyed a U2 song. The embarrassing thing is not admitting it; it’s realising you’re still holding on to the anger. You can learn to love yourself if you’re willing to set yourself free so yeah I’ll say it, “One” isn’t bad. However, take “One” and play it over a montage of the best moments of G-Nev’s career back when he was still the Neviller and not Gary Neville: Pundit Extraordinaire and it just doesn’t go. For one thing, he retired, not died; for two, there’s no up point in the song, no punch the air moment of triumph, so what you get is “luuuvvvvvvvvvv iza temple”, cut to a tap in, “luuuuuuvvvvv’s a higher law”, cut to him shouting at Craig Bellamy, “luvvvvvvvvvv”, cut to a sliding tackle etc and repeat for 2 and a half minutes. Just doesn’t work.

7. The Misjudged, Part II

The BBC do the best montages – seriously, their back catalogue is exceptional. But while the footage they picked to end Euro 2012 is great, pairing it with a below par cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller” kills it stone dead. The flattest end to a tournament for some time, and hopefully lessons were learned in an editing room somewhere:

Funny thing is, they had just absolutely nailed the Premier League season closing montage with this, one of many to embrace the Dark Knight soundtrack in the right way:

8. The Weird. Really weird.

To close out Euro 2008 the BBC turned to a tried and tested formula – footage of the games beginning with a fly’s perspective while a poem is read about the fly’s short life travelling around the tournament, with a few shots of the fly thrown in for good measure, all sound-tracked by opera.

Wait… what?

9. The Exceptional

Mexico ’86 was brilliant, just watch the top 20 goals from the tournament – not sure there’s ever been a higher standard or range of goals from a single World Cup before or since. Take that raw material, throw in a bit of Barry Davies and Diego Maradona both at their peaks, add in a quintessentially eighties soundtrack (in a good way, with a key-change halfway through) with a Mexican flair and you have the following 4 minutes 45 seconds of pure unadulterated gold. This is a benchmark to look to this summer:

10. The Poetic

It’s 1998 and Des Lynam is still the man. The moustache is stylish, the blazer’s a lovely cut and the voice like honey in the ear. England may have bombed out dramatically but here, by using Des reading Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, the BBC made everything all right. Remember all the bras on the ITV one? Fair to say there’s never been two more contrasting montages to come from the same tournament:

11. The Old-School

This is what a montage used to be about in the early nineties, goal after goal after goal after goal after goal set to the C+C Music Factory. Also in the days before split coverage and other such nonsense, the FA Cup would be covered start to finish by the BBC meaning that in such a collection you can see Gazza being brilliant one second, then a long-forgotten non-league striker scoring a worldie the next. Glorious stuff for those of us of a certain vintage:

12. The Moving, Part III

And after all that – the great, the good, the weird and the wonderful – there are some montages that you’ll never forget for other reasons:

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