Rio Ferdinand accused of lying by Jermaine Jenas in BBC Euro 2024 spat as pundit steps in | Football | Sport

Rio Ferdinand and Jermaine Jenas engaged in an awkward spat about defending during the BBC’s coverage of the Euro 2024 quarter-final between France and Portugal. Jenas took issue with Ferdinand’s praise of Arsenal defender William Saliba following a dull first half at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.

First-half chances were few and far between as France and Portugal played out a tense tie for a spot in the Euro 2024 semi-finals against Spain.

And as Gary Lineker, Jose Fonte, Jenas and Ferdinand attempted to discuss the talking points from the BBC’s Berlin studio, the latter insisted that defensive football should be praised.

„We spoke about Saliba before the game. The way he’s commanded that box and any individual battle or duels he’s having at the moment, he’s come out on top,“ Ferdinand oozed.

„He just looks so formidable, so commanding. For somebody so young as well, in his first tournament, to come here and show this kind of authority I think it’s something to marvel at.“

Jenas then sparked an awkward exchange by questioning whether there was any real defending to do due to a lack of pressure, to which Ferdinand responded: „What do you mean?

„I think three balls have been put into the box and he’s headed them all out of the box. That’s something you have to do. You think that’s just normal stuff? You see a lot of people not doing that.“

Jenas then went full Roy Keane by stating, „that’s his job,“ before Fonte couldn’t help but throw his hat in the ring.

The ex-Portugal defender fought Ferdinand’s corner by pointing out that the former Tottenham Hotspur man was a midfielder in his playing days.

Ferdinand then played up to it, adding: „Yeah, he’s a midfielder who was always shouting, ‚Can you get up? Can you help me?“

That prompted a reaction from an audibly irked Jenas, who bit back: „That’s a lie. That is a lie. There’s only one person who midfielders call on when they’re in trouble, and it’s a midfielder.“

He continued: „What I’m saying here is that the game has not lent itself for us to be sat here saying, ‚Wow, there’s been some incredible defending going on‘.

„It’s been a poor 45 minutes. He [Saliba] has been a different class, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not been tested.“

The pundits ultimately laughed it off before a similarly uneventful second half and extra time played out.

Joao Felix missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out, sending Cristiano Ronaldo home and France through to the semi-finals.

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