Euro 2020 pundit wars: Who comes out on top ahead of the tournament?

Euro 2020 pundit wars: ITV have a stacked trophy cabinet and plenty of big guns in their team but the BBC have bundles of experience and lots of on-screen chemistry… so who comes out on top ahead of the tournament?

  • Euro 2020 will be broadcast in the UK by ITV and BBC, with both showing final
  • Both teams are stacked with pundits, but who comes out on top ahead of Euros?
  • Sportsmail rates both of the broadcasters on experience, trophies and more
  • ITV have an incredible 198 trophies among their experienced punditry line-up 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.

Heading into every major tournament, much is said about the battle for ratings between ITV and the BBC.  

While each network shows their own matches throughout the group stages and early knockout rounds, when it comes to the final they go head-to-head, with both showing the match simultaneously.

Therefore, the early weeks of the tournament are almost an audition ahead of the final… who can impress and bring the viewers their way come the big day?

Mark Pougatch (centre left) and Seema Jaswal (centre right) will front ITV’s Euro coverage, with commentary and punditry coming from (left-right) Sam Matterface, Gary Neville, Robert Earnshaw, Graeme Souness, Eni Aluko, Ian Wright, Roy Keane, Emma Hayes and Ashley Cole

The BBC have confirmed their broadcast line-up too, with Gary Lineker (centre) leading the coverage, with (left-right) Eilidh Barbour, Rio Ferdinand, Jermaine Jenas, Ashley Williams, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Alex Scott, Gabby Logan, Micah Richards and Shelley Kerr signed up

Both channels have now revealed their highly-anticipated line-ups, with Gary Lineker going up against Mark Pougatch in the main presenter stakes, while ITV’s Sam Matterface battles Guy Mowbray in the commentary box.

Of course, much of the focus is on the punditry teams, with both networks bringing out the big guns, with BT and Sky regulars popping across to the terrestrial channels.

The likes of Gary Neville and Roy Keane will be on ITV, while Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Jurgen Klinsmann bring some European flair to the Beeb.

ITV have also plumped for some youth in their squad, with punditry newbie Andros Townsend swapping talkSPORT towers for a Euro 2020 podcast show. Seema Jaswal also front the coverage, swapping her domestic duties with Premier League Productions for the international stage. 

At the BBC there is a nice mix too, with Lineker and the ever-reliable Mark Chapman joined by Gabby Logan and Eilidh Barbour throughout the festival of football.

There’s also a nice blend of youth there too, with up-and-coming superstars Micah Richards and Alex Scott vital to their coverage, with the pair bound to bring in the younger viewers. 

But who comes out on top? Here, Sportsmail goes through various categories to see which of the major broadcasters is leading the way this summer.

From experience and humour to trophies won and on-screen chemistry, it’s time to find out whether it’s ITV or the BBC who rule the airwaves… 

Gary Lineker will once again be the BBC’s main man when it comes to the Euros this summer

Experience

Let’s be clear, experience is not something that is lacking in either roster heading into this summer’s tournament. Starting with the big guns, Gary Lineker has been presenting Match of the Day – and at every major tournament – since 1999, while on ITV Mark Pougatch has been on our screens since the late 90s too.

In terms of punditry, Alan Shearer knows his way around a TV studio having been a MOTD regular since his retirement in 2006, accompanying Lineker to all the big England games too.

Over on ITV, the likes of Graeme Souness, Gary Neville and Roy Keane have all cut their cloth on a weekly basis with Sky Sports and will need no assistance when it comes to airing their thoughts on a huge summer of football.

Overall though, in terms of experience, the BBC just nick it with their solid backbone of Lineker and Co. While Pougatch has been in the game a long time, he’s only been ITV’s lead football presenter since 2015, and there are a number of younger pundits joining him for the tournament.

BBC – 9/10

ITV – 8/10 

Ian Wright (C) is with ITV but Lineker (left) and Alan Shearer’s (right) experience helps the BBC

Humour

As much as we all love football, when it comes to the end of the first week of the tournament and we’re trying to get excited for the BBC’s 2pm coverage of Finland vs Russia, there’s a lot to be said for a bit on on-screen ‘banter’.

The tournament is, of course, a huge spectacle and viewers want to be entertained and much as informed by the stellar punditry line-ups.

That’s where the likes of Micah Richards, Ally McCoist and – whisper it – Roy Keane come in handy.

Richards’ infectious laugh and regular jokes with his colleagues have made him incredibly popular on Sky this season, and the BBC will be hoping he can bring that again this summer – even without Keane, who is on the opposite team.

McCoist, meanwhile, has been signed up for commentary duties with ITV and is hugely popular after his heroics at the World Cup in 2018 alongside Jon Champion.

The stony-faced Keane may come across as a hardman on and off the pitch, but his dry sense of humour has also been clear to see throughout the season with Sky Sports.

It’s the BBC who nick it in this category though, due to both Richards’ personality… and the fact that the notoriously serious Graeme Souness is with ITV.

BBC – 8/10

ITV – 7/10 

Micah Richards’ infectious personality is a huge boost to the BBC’s punditry line-up

The notoriously dour Graeme Souness is one of the biggest names on ITV’s panel this summer

Trophies won 

Have I been through every pundit’s Wikipedia page to laboriously add up every major honour they’ve ever won? Yes, yes I have.

Therefore, this section is a little easier to draw a conclusion from… and the winner is: ITV. Helped massively by the likes of Manchester United heroes Keane and Neville, across the punditry team they have won an incredible 198 trophies, compared to the BBC’s measly 121.

ITV’s Souness is the big winner with 28 all by himself, having won five league titles and three European Cups as a player with Liverpool, before going north of the border to win seven titles as Rangers manager a few years later.

Admittedly, the BBC weren’t helped much by the ‘Honours’ section of Robbie Savage’s Wikipedia, which solely lists his honorary degree from Wrexham Glyndwr University.

A shout-out to Alex Scott, though, who with 21 trophies is easily the most-decorated of the Beeb’s pundits, beating the likes of Ferdinand’s 14 and Fabregas’ 15.

BBC – 7/10

ITV – 9/10 

Alex Scott is the BBC’s most decorated pundit having won 21 trophies in her playing career 

Controversy

In truth, the BBC’s line-up is squeaky clean and there are unlikely to be any major disagreements between any of the pundits. Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Savage have been known to speak out in the past, but it’s over on ITV where the sparks are more likely to fly.

With Keane, Souness and Neville sharing the same airwaves, there will be plenty of arguments between the pundits, while Ian Wright and Lee Dixon are not against a fair bit of criticism when it comes to the Three Lions.

Perhaps most intriguing is the reunion of Vieira and Keane, 16 years on from *that* Highbury bust-up. You know the one… ‘I’ll see you out there’.

Ally McCoist and Scott Brown sharing a screen could also be interesting given their Rangers and Celtic rivalry… and in truth, there’s not really anything on the BBC that is screaming ‘aggro’.

BBC – 5/10

ITV – 8/10 

Keane (right) argued with Patrick Vieira in a legendary bust-up in the Highbury tunnel in 2005

Vieira (second left) could now share an ITV studio with his great midfield rival Keane

Chemistry 

Much of the on-screen chemistry is, of course, based on friendships and who’s worked together previously. At the BBC, Lineker and Shearer go together like sausage and mash, having presented together for over 15 years.

The likes of Robbie Savage and Jermaine Jenas also know each other well, while Henry and Fabregas shared a dressing room at Arsenal for five years and therefore will likely be in tune if they appear together.

Over at ITV, the Sky Sports boys are all regularly in the studio… with Keane, Neville, Souness and Cole all mainstays for their Premier League coverage. Therefore, that should help them out when it comes to on-screen chemistry.

The likes of Gary Neville (pictured), Keane, Souness and Cole are all on Sky Sports together

ITV are also boosted by their regular England coverage, with Wright and Dixon always alongside Pougatch when it comes to Three Lions games.

Overall, it’s fairly even in terms of chemistry… but perhaps the BBC just shade it given Lineker and Shearer’s Match of the Day connection.

BBC – 8.5/10

ITV – 8/10  

Final scores: BBC 37.5/50, ITV 40/50

WINNERS: ITV 




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