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20th Dec 2022

Significant changes in our final pundit rankings of the 2022 World Cup

Patrick McCarry

The knock-out stages sorted the cream from the milk.

The 2022 World Cup is in the history books and Argentina have taken the big prize back to Buenos Aires.

As much as many of us disdained the notion of hosting the tournament – a blatant cash-grab – in a country with an appalling human rights record, the sheer drama and thrill of the matches will leave many fondly looking back at Qatar 2022. One can only hope that the increased media glare, and work done by some tireless advocates on the ground, can lead to significant change there, in the coming years.

The final itself was looking placid for 70-odd minutes until Kylian Mbappé awoke from his stupor and frightened the life out of Argentina. It took extra time and a tense penalty shoot-out to shake Mbappé and France off.

Throughout the entire tournament, we had the company of some of the best (worst and chewy centre) pundits to keep us company. Their were hot-takes, freezing takes, bizarre bickering, soap-boxing and eulogising, and all in the first few days.

As we do after every major tournament, we have consulted the wider SportsJOE team and compiled our final rankings of the best pundits. When it was all said and done, the top pundit retained the crown but it was closer than ever.

best pundits

Damien Duff makes best pundits charge

Before we reveal our Top 10 for best pundits at the 2022 World Cup, we thought we would show you some of our recent rankings.

Four years ago, after the World Cup in Russia, this was our Top 5:

  1. Roy Keane (ITV)
  2. Didi Hamann (RTÉ)
  3. Damien Duff (RTÉ)
  4. Gary Neville (ITV)
  5. Richie Sadlier (RTÉ)

Then, earlier in this tournament, we gave our rankings for the best pundits of the 2022 World Cup.

This was our Top 5 after the group stages and Last 16 matches:

  1. Roy Keane (ITV)
  2. Graeme Souness (ITV)
  3. Didi Hamann (RTÉ)
  4. Damien Duff (RTÉ)
  5. Gary Neville (ITV)

No seismic changes there, aside from Souness. He spoke well, early in the tournament, about human rights and equality issues, and also had a great spat with Roy Keane.

The Scot was not seen on our screens much, once we got to the final stages of the tournament, so he dropped off as three other men started to get into their groove, over on RTÉ.

Without further ado, here is our Top 10 best pundits for the 2022 World Cup, starting with numbers 10-6:

10, Joseph N’Do (RTÉ)
9: Richie Sadlier (RTÉ)
8: Karen Carney (ITV)
7: Graeme Souness (ITV)
6: Gary Neville (ITV)

2022 World Cup – Top 10 pundits

best pundits

  1. Roy Keane (ITV) – non mover

  2. Damien Duff (RTÉ) – Up 2

  3. Didi Hamann (RTÉ) – non mover

  4. Kevin Doyle (RTÉ) – Up 2

  5. Shay Given (RTÉ) – new entry

Roy Keane remains the best pundit on the box – across the main broadcasters of RTE, BBC and ITV – but Damien Duff was so, so close to finishing in top spot.

The Shelbourne manager arrived a few games into the RTÉ coverage and was straight into the mixer with strong opinions. Pairing him with Shay Given showed a more relaxed, joking side of Duff, too, and offers hope for the future.

Given and Doyle have come on a lot, too, and offered up more decent analysis and opinions than the likes of Gary Neville or Ian Wright could do in their 30-second snippets on ad-heavy ITV.

As for the BBC, Gary Lineker is a fine host but not much they covered really stuck. That panel needs some serious punch, and less Jürgen Klinsmann.

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