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It's just a tiny bit ironic that the television market, and ITV in particular, appears to be pinning its hopes for recovery on football Give or take the odd stuffed monkey, what has ITV ever done for football? Answers on a postcard.
But having brought its own brand of magic to the English lower leagues, the network now has its sights set on more exotic targets. Today Valley Parade, Bradford, tomorrow the Saitama Stadium, Urawa. Well, not tomorrow actually - England's first match (and the first England match to be covered by ITV) is the match against Sweden on Sunday morning. And knowing ITV's luck, which is as robust as one of Michael Owen's tweaky hamstrings, it might well be its last. The last ITV-covered World Cup 2002 match featuring England, that is.
The English are in a tough group and their star players, finely tuned and delicately poised athletes that they are, are already falling like extremely aerodynamically challenged flies. And there are all sorts of other imponderables - possible …