Televising live soccer is never an easy job. There’s no opportunity to do a re-take and chances of making mistake are much higher than usual. When a mistake happens, sometimes it’s humorous. But often times it can be downright embarrassing.

During 2010, there were quite a few howlers. Here are four of the worst:

  1. 1.5 million viewers miss Steven Gerrard’s opening goal for England against the United States in World Cup 2010 (ITV). It’s the opening game of England’s World Cup match and for those viewers watching the game on ITV HD, they see England go on the attack in the fourth minute. But all of a sudden the broadcast breaks to an unscheduled advertisement just as Steven Gerrard netted the first goal of the match. By the time ITV realized they made a mistake, viewers came back to see a replay of the goal. ITV presenter Adrian Chiles apologized at halftime, telling viewers “I believe there was some interruption in your coverage.” Indeed.
  2. 2009-2010 Premier League Finale (Fox Soccer Channel). It’s the biggest day of the Premier League season with the title up for grabs on the final day. Chelsea sit one point above Manchester United with a superior goal difference. The Blues control their own destiny, a win at home against Wigan would bring the title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2006. Manchester United must defeat Stoke City at Old Trafford and hope for a Chelsea slip up. The stage is all set and it looks like it’ll be one of those days where viewers will be flipping back and forth to see how one goal can make a profound difference on the other match and vice-versa. Except that Fox Soccer Channel screws up the start of the matches and is unable to sync them at the same time (Fox often delays it’s “live” Premier League matches by a few minutes to allow for commercials). The Chelsea against Wigan match is delayed by three minutes. But even worse, the Manchester United against Stoke game is delayed by ten minutes. Thankfully Chelsea took the matter into their own hands and comfortably won the title, which saved Fox Soccer Channel from having a lot of egg on its face if United had found a way to nick the title (the ending of the United game would have been spoilt by us knowing the outcome at the conclusion of the Chelsea match).
  3. Martin Tyler and Efan Ekoku criticizing Spanish players for not singing the national anthem when the Spanish national anthem has no words (ESPN). In fairness to Ekoku and Tyler, it’s not easy to know all 32 of the national anthems of the countries in the 2010 World Cup, but it’s one of those instances where if you don’t know the facts, it’s better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing.
  4. Butchering the all-important Manchester United against Liverpool match in March, 2010 ( Looking at the league schedule for the entire season, the games between Manchester United and Liverpool are often the biggest on the calendar. So when you’re Fox streaming the game live, it’s vitally important that you have everything ready to work like a charm. Except in this particular instance it was a train wreck from the minute the game kicked off. Read more about the horror story here.

Looking back at 2010, were there any other blunders that you saw that we missed? If so, share them with us and the readers in the comments section below.