There were stats – so many stats. “This is the third game since 1946 in which a country beginning with A played against a country ending in N,” and so forth. “I know you love stats, Alan,” Gary Lineker said during the warm-up, as if he were warning the viewers.

“Absolutely!” chirped Alan Hansen, his eyes positively glistening. The nation will miss that guy.

There were jokes. “Ooh that was a bit like dancing round your handbag,” Mark Lawrenson claimed about a missed chance, presumably stopping just short of describing the kick as “a bit girly”.

And there were suits – dark suits. “It’s the World Cup final,” intoned Lineker, in case anyone thought that he, Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Hansen were clothed in funereal dark colours out of respect for the sacrificial pyre on which Hansen was due to be burned at the end of the game, as is the tradition with a retiring pundit. The World Cup final demands formality, even if that formality comes in the form of a horrible double-breasted suit like the one Rio Ferdinand determinedly wore, possibly nicked off a steward from his flight over to Brazil.

But it was not the same over on ITV, larky, naughty ITV, which conducted its suit-less punditry from Copacabana Beach, a wheeze they have palpably delighted in during this tournament. But as a concession to note that this was an important night, Adrian Chiles sat in the middle of his pundits as opposed to on the end, thereby sparing the nation, after five looooong weeks, the sight of his crotch.

He also swapped those misguided shorts for trousers, so one knew it was a big night, and he sat on the beach like the king in his sandy court. Chiles’s court consisted of Glenn Hoddle, his hair tendrils blowing madly about his ears as if he had turned up the wind machine for the power ballad; Lee Dixon, wearing the tinted aviator shades of a man driving down a B road in 1994 while listening to Drive Time’s Greatest Hits 4; an excitable Ian Wright (is there any other kind of Ian Wright?); and Martin O’Neill, as noble and solemn as a mole.

Strangely, both networks ditched many of their best pundits: Clarence Seedorf and Fabio Cannavaro were both banished to the stadium and Thierry Henry made a mere guest appearance in some crummy little video about seizing the moment or something (it may just have been an advert for aftershave).

The hour-long pre-match shows on both the BBC and ITV could be summed up as: “Howzabout that Germany-Brazil game five days ago, eh? And Messi – really great or just great?” (really great). But the differences in style were as per. Where the BBC was all slick and moneyed, ITV looked as if it was scrabbling about, rather charmingly, on a shoestring. Where the BBC had a typically hard-hitting and scintillating interview with David Beckham (“Is this the most exciting World Cup you’ve ever seen, David?” Surprisingly, Beckham did not reply, “Naw, mate, it’s utter cack”), ITV had only a plaintive little glimpse of the man in the stadium.

On one point the networks remained firmly united: only men are allowed to talk about men’s football. Sure, the leaders of both countries competing, as well as the host country, are women, but only men can cope with the responsibility of talking about football. The BBC has said it wants people who have had experience in the sport to speak about it and, as this is men’s football, that means male pundits and commentators and one could really see their point with this game. I mean, it takes a man with real experience on the pitch to make the brilliant insight that the sun “looks like a football”, as Lawrenson wisely noted.

Both networks concluded proceedings the way they started: by discussing whether Messi is great or really great (now downgraded to “great”).

Like Germany the BBC predictably won the night, with its smooth professionalism. But ITV did not bring shame on themselves: in fact, there is something rather more charming about its ramshackle racketiness. So was the TV coverage great or really great? It was fine. And that, unlike for Messi, was good enough.