What I did in Brazil, by Thierry Henry*

Felipe Oliveira

*not really by Thierry Henry

Titi went to Brazil this summer to watch a little World Cup 2014 and talk about it in front of millions upon millions of English people via the magic of television. We've been covering Tim Cahill's rather more energetic activities at the World Cup quite intensely. Roy Miller's teammates, if not Roy himself, have been the surprise team of the tournament so far. But what of the captain, Thierry Henry?

Well, he's made quite the good impression with his punditry for the BBC. He wrapped up his stint as a media man after the Belgium-Russia match on Sunday - which means he lasted a couple of days longer in the tournament than the guys representing the country covering his expenses for the trip: England.

This is good news for the New York Red Bulls. Actually, it's expected news: it seemed unlikely Henry would spend anything more than an entirely acceptable amount of time away from RBNY during this break from MLS action.

As it turns out, he'll probably be back with the team before Tim Cahill (who plays his last match of the tournament on Monday, June 23rd), and he'll definitely be back before Roy Miller (who may even get some minutes against England, and who will be keeping his national teammates company at least until June 28 or 29, when they play their second round match).


So Titi is coming home to RBNY. But what did he actually do while he was away? Turns out Henry is a pretty good pundit. Don't take my word for it: the English press, admittedly lacking in good news stories about their team, have been throwing all the compliments they couldn't use for their soccer team at Henry's punditry. The Daily Mail called him "telly's World Cup star man". The Mirror said he'd "captured the hearts of the nation". The Guardian dubbed him the "breakout star of the tournament".

From the clips milling around on YouTube, it would seem Titi's an engaging analyst. He's not afraid to criticize the presumptive stars of the tournament: he was on the side of those who thought Neymar should have been sent off against Croatia in the opening game.


And he has little problem admitting his own biases: he refused to let anyone talk his heart into agreement with his head on the subject of whether Paul Pogba's petulance against Honduras was worth a red card.


But mostly what the English have fallen in love with is Henry's cardigan, on show toward the end of this clip where he talks about the virtues of Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard:


Henry's cardigan is the Petke's sweater of Brazil 2014 for an English media hunting desperately for something other than why-Roy-Hodgson-can't-pick-a-team-right to talk about. It has been called "revolutionary""rational and harmonising" [sic: English paper = English spelling], and cited as evidence of Henry's status as one "no mortal man can compete with".

And when he turned up in "double denim", England - or at least its newspapers - surrendered entirely to the irrepressible force of Henry's style. The denim combo shows up in this discussion of Guillermo Ochoa's work against Brazil:


There have been other highlights. He cast an early vote for Tim Cahill's strike against the Netherlands as goal of the tournament:


And he stood up for Roy Miller's Costa Rica (fast forward to the 2:20 mark):


When he wasn't promoting his teammates, he defended himself pretty adeptly also:


But mostly, England was interested in his clothes. All of which suggests that Henry is well set to provide Britain with a better-dressed future for its soccer punditry when he retires.

Here's hoping he brings RBNY a better stocked trophy cabinet first.

Welcome back, Titi. Stick around for a while: Petke will be happy to lend you another sweater.

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