SportsJOE's World Cup pundit table
The World Cup is over and France are world champions.
But who was the best World Cup pundit? Here's our pundit table from the last month. No doubt you'll agree with every choice we have made.
Before we get to the top-eight pundits, here's a run-through of the best of the rest.
Group stage exit
On the BBC, Phil Neville proved to be the Panama of World Cup pundits. Matt Upson, Martin Keown and Danny Murphy weren't exactly must-see TV.
Ryan Giggs started badly and gradually got worse on ITV. Patrice Evra didn't impress.
Evra had a tricky start to life as a pundit https://t.co/G5oylzfJSM
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 18, 2018
RTE had a wide supporting cast of pundits who made only a few appearances, from Michael O'Neill to Stephanie Roche, Shay Given to Hope Solo and Kevin Doyle. Their limited screen-time meant that they couldn't make much of an impact, although, generally, the standard was better than on rival stations.
On the BBC, Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas, Cesc Fabregas, Jurgen Klinsmann and Rio Ferdinand had their moments. Rio has developed into a good pundit and is worth listening to. However, he misses out on a place in the final eight for predicting that England would beat Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals. He became the conductor of the England hype train that soon derailed. Shearer made a solid contribution and has definitely improved as a pundit over the past few years.
On ITV, Ian Wright provided some memorable moments and some laughs - which was what he was in the studio for. Lee Dixon was knowledgeable if a little forgettable.
The cycle continues https://t.co/O24Bdw1pJX
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 14, 2018
Former Ireland internationals Richard Dunne and Keith Andrews proved valuable additions on RTE and could be used more over the coming years. Overall, RTE had the best coverage of the tournament. The BBC were bland and safe. ITV had their moments.
8. Dunphy and Brady
The veteran pundits, Liam Brady and Eamon Dunphy, had mixed tournaments. Dunphy will be missed when he's no longer on our screens, but he perhaps had one flip-flop too far with his England analysis.
— Robert Redmond (@RobRedmond10) July 3, 2018
But Brady stuck to his guns and said he wasn't particularly impressed with England even when they were winning.
7. Slaven Bilic
Bilic, like Keane, was good value in Russia. Entertaining and honest, he brought an interesting tension to the studio and was liable to get under the skin of his fellow pundits. His exchange with Martin O'Neill was great TV.
Still the best moment of the tournament though 😂 https://t.co/nFjRxeciUP
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 15, 2018
6. Frank Lampard
Lampard was a very good pundit on the Premier League and Champions League last season and was the best of the BBC during the World Cup, even if he had to leave the tournament early to start pre-season training with Derby County.
5. Richie Sadlier
Sadlier was articulate and intelligent on RTE's coverage, providing a sensible, analytic contribution.
4. Gary Neville
Neville is the best pundit working on English football. He finished top of our rankings of Premier League pundits last season and was a big coup for ITV's World Cup coverage.
However, the set-up on the station didn't entirely suit Neville's best quality as a pundit - an in-depth analysis of a match.
ITV had four pundits in the studio for the big games and had to cut to ad-breaks. This left Neville incapable of providing the rigorous critique we've come to expect from him from his time on Sky Sports. However, he was still worth listening to.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 15, 2018
3. Damien Duff
Duff's excelled on RTE's coverage. The former Ireland winger evidently does a lot of research and proved a valuable counter-balance to the veteran pundits. Duff didn't suffer fools and impressed throughout the tournament.
"He's selfish. He plays for himself. Call me a cynic but he will be fit for Costa Rica. He's grand..." - Damien Duff on Neymar's injury pic.twitter.com/NT68tcToIs
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 19, 2018
2 Didi Hamann
Honest, articulate and knowledgeable, Hamann was one of the best pundits covering the World Cup. He is a clear and rational thinker. Hamann wasn't prone to any jingoism or sentimentalism and tipped Germany to struggle at the tournament. He has helped fill the void on RTE left by John Giles' departure.
1. Roy Keane
He's not the most insightful pundit, he won't tell you how a game was won or lost, but Keane's contributions made for great television over the last month.
Like the World Cup itself, he was entertaining and impactful over a limited amount of time. The fast-paced nature of the tournament meant that there wasn't always time for in-depth analysis from pundits with so much happening. This suited Keane and brought the best out of him.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 17, 2018