Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


The supposed lesser games at the World Cup are often better - Pat Nevin

Pat Nevin explains that this World Cup, like all before it, offers great value for those who tune into the supposedly lesser teams.

Pat Nevin joined Joe Molloy on The Football Show to discuss his experiences at the World Cup in Qatar.

Cameroon and Serbia played out the best game of the World Cup on Monday morning.

Cameroon took a 1-0 lead early in the first half before Serbia came back and stretched out to a 3-1 lead. Substitute Vincent Aboubakar thought he was offside when he lobbed the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. The linesman did too. But VAR ruled him onside and two minutes later Eric Maxim Choupo-Mouting got the equalizer.

Both teams went back and forth in search of a winner but it never came.

BBC journalist and former professional footballer Pat Nevin was at that game. Nevin admits himself he doesn't get the big games from his employers, but he loves the fact that he doesn't. He explains that the true value of a World Cup is in games such as Cameroon-Serbia where you see new players and discover new stars.

Nevin talked it through with Joe Molloy.

"The games I get sent to are the others if you know what I mean," Nevin said.

"I'm certainly doing the other ones and I've always kind of done that. And I love it because I think a lot of people want to see the big teams and be at the big games, they're not always the best games. I've seen different cultures and different styles coming together.

"That's sometimes when it can be the most amazing."

Nevin is a football almanac. He is obsessed with the sport and works as much as anyone covering it. But he doesn't cover the whole globe. And that's another reason why he loves covering the lesser-known teams at the World Cup.

He finds new players to follow.

"One of my favourite things at any World Cup. It's always the case and it's been the case this time...I'm still finding players in every game I don't know. And I love them. I really love them. I should know more and my apologies for my ignorance, but I'd never seen the striker for Iran, [Sardar] Azmoun.

"What a player he is by the way. He's played most of his career in Russia. I'd come and watch that guy every week.

"And yeah we all know that Gavi and Pedri are among the most interesting...but I'm really, really intrigued to see all the other players you otherwise wouldn't necessarily have seen. The quality really is good in many other countries and getting much, much closer."

Jack Byrne is better than he realizes - Joseph NDo.


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