Schedule of ESPN TV Commentators For FIFA World Cup 2014: June 12-19

ESPN has announced its schedule of commentators for the live World Cup matches that will be shown on US television from June 12-19. Commentator assignments will be made at a later date for the other matches.

Lead play-by-play commentator Ian Darke and analyst Steve McManaman will call the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup – Brazil vs. Croatia – from Sao Paulo on Thursday, June 11, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Darke and Macca will call the England games, while Darke and Taylor Twellman will be the announcers for the USMNT matches. ESPN have teamed up Jon Champion and Stewart Robson for many of the games featuring European teams, while Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno team up for games involving Mexico.

Out of all of the games thus far, the biggest surprise is that Roberto Martinez will co-commentate the Argentina against Bosnia game. Martinez was earmarked as a studio analyst, but it’ll be a great pleasure to hear him co-commentate a game.

ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament will include all 64 matches televised live on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3 and WatchESPN (and ESPN Radio), as well as 54 matches on ESPN Deportes and another 10 on ESPN Deportes+.

Here’s the TV schedule:

World Cup 2014 Broadcast TV Schedule

Thursday, June 12
Brazil vs Croatia, 4pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman

Friday, June 13
Mexico vs Cameroon, Noon ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN; Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno
Spain vs Holland, 3pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Jon Champion & Stewart Robson
Chile vs Australia, 6pm ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN; Daniel Mann & Kasey Keller

Saturday, June 14
Colombia vs Greece, Noon ET, ABC and Watch ABC; Adrian Healey & Taylor Twellman
Uruguay vs Costa Rica, 3pm ET, ABC and Watch ABC; Jon Champion & Stewart Robson
England vs Italy, 6pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman
Ivory Coast vs Japan, 9pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN[ Derek Rae & Efan Ekoku

Sunday, June 15
Switzerland vs Ecuador, Noon ET, ABC and Watch ABC; Adrian Healey & Alejandro Moreno
France vs Honduras, 3pm ET, ABC and Watch ABC; Daniel Mann & Kasey Keller
Argentina vs Bosnia, 6pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Derek Rae & Roberto Martinez

Monday, June 16
Germany vs Portugal, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Jon Champion & Stewart Robson
Iran vs Nigeria, 3pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Derek Rae & Efan Ekoku
Ghana vs USA, 6pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Ian Darke & Taylor Twellman

Tuesday, June 17
Belgium vs Algeria, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Adrian Healey & Efan Ekoku
Brazil vs Mexico, 3pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno
Russia vs South Korea, 6pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Daniel Mann & Kasey Keller

Wednesday, June 18
Australia vs Holland, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Jon Champion & Stewart Robson
Spain vs Chile, 3pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman
Cameroon vs Croatia, 6pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Derek Rae & Kasey Keller

Thursday, June 19
Colombia vs Ivory Coast, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Adrian Healey & Alejandro Moreno
Uruguay vs England, 3pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman
Japan vs Greece, 6pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Daniel Mann & Efan Ekoku

Let us know your feedback on the commentators that ESPN have selected for the games announce thus far in the comments section below.

71 thoughts on “Schedule of ESPN TV Commentators For FIFA World Cup 2014: June 12-19”

  1. Let’s hope Twellman doesn’t do any of the matches during the knockout stages. He is really bad. Otherwise, I don’t see a problem with the other commentators.

    1. Why do you English nasty English commentators like Ian Darke and Mcmanaman — give a break these TWO SOB’S are from a country that never wins any tournament. So, get some more mature commentators from other countries.

  2. Fair warning to the intellectually challenged creatures at Fox Sports:

    Do NOT, even for a second, think of putting that mistake of nature Gus Johnson anywhere near the commentators booth in 4 years time. I will boycott your broadcast (alongside many others, I presume), and will find alternative ways to watch the World Cup.

    Gus Johnson commentating at the World Cup will be a disaster of epic proportions.
    Like Dave O’Brian, times 7,000

    Champion, Healey, Rae, Darke are all quality play-by-play commentators.

  3. This is some strong talent and a nice mix brought in by ESPN. Definitely looking forward to hearing Roberto Martinez again. I would say that the strongest duos are Darke-Macca and Champion-Robson.

    Rae and Healey are great ESPN staples, while Daniel Mann is a pleasure to listen to with the Premier League.

    Twellman is probably the weakest link of the bunch, but in saying that he is still reasonable. The thing that irritates me about him is that when commentating US games he rarely offers insight or analysis on the opposing team. I understand that he is biased–we all are–but I wish he would give more of an effort to discuss both teams.

    FOX: take notes.

    1. I don’t like his tendency to interrupt and talk over Darke. Plus, he just kind of sounds like a d***head.

    2. Sorry but I have to disagree about Twellman. I don’t find him reasonable. He talks too much and often uses basketball and other American sport terms that are out of place in soccer. He talks more than Darke which is unusual for the second voice in a commentary team.

      1. Interesting Brian; I have always thought that Twellman doesn’t talk enough in the sense that he leaves Darke with a greater task of making judgements and analyses after something notable has happened.

      2. I agree with you, with Twellman, i feel like i am watching NFL or NBA game, cause his vocabulory gears towards those games,instead of soccer terms. He is the weaklink in ESPN commentators group.

      1. For me, hes not. Harkes had annoying cliches but he actually said something informative once in a blue moon. Bad as he was, i find Twellman worse.

  4. “Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno” – oh geeze! Those guys are horrible. One of the worst.

    Guess I’ll be watching those games on Univision.

    To bad Derek Rae isn’t getting higher profile games. He is excellent.

    1. Palomo and Moreno are in fact excellent. Palomo is better spoken in English than most of the native-English-speaking announcers. In the first game, Ian Darke said, “It’s dangerous to underestimate Croatia.” Since it’s dangerous to underestimate any opponent, Darke said in effect, “It’s dangerous to do something dangerous.” Know what a tautology is?

      1. Palomo and Moreno are actually great. When a team scores a goal, you want to hear the word GOAL, not some other euphemism such as “turns it in”, “takes the lead” “off and running”. If you listen to the highlights of a soccer game narrated by a native English speaker announcer without looking at the footage you will never be able to tell if it was indeed a goal.

  5. It’s tough to understand why Gus Johnson ever thought he could commentate on a sport about which his knowledge is negligible. The British commentators are good, the Americans not so much. I have a soft spot for Martin Tyler. Not to mention magisterial Ray Hudson.

  6. One thing I will look forward to seeing is Michael Ballack giving Lalas the look of “You Idiot”.

    Can’t stand Lalas.

  7. Sucks there is a lack of American representation .. Sadly some of ya want boring ; British sounding broadcast on a American network …. soccer isn’t gonna progress in America like this…..

    1. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      Soccer is not going to progress in America if the uninformed like you keep making this about accents. It has nothing to do with accents. It’s about commentators who understand the game and they are mostly British at this point. Who do you suggest? The clueless screaming idiot? Why do think NBCs ratings for the EPL are off the charts? Because they hired a quality team. End of.

      1. Soccer has been growing on me over the years BECAUSE of DARKE and others like him. The accents are awesome and the phraseology is second to none! I’ve heard the term “Brilliant” more in the last week than in the last year and I love it! -31 year old Florida native

        By the way, soccer ratings broke the NHL AND NBA PLAYOFF RATINGS! Looks like its progressing already!

    2. I agree. Listening to the Brits’ terminology is like hearing fingernails scraped on a blackboard. Painful. Just emphasizes that Americans shouldn’t pay any attention to soccer.

  8. I’m not saying I agree about the accents, but the amount of Eurosnobs in this comment section is really incredible.

        1. Are all Texans stupid or do you have some crazed idea in your head that English people would be here talking about commentators for an American channel? Stop being such a xenophobe.

  9. It will be swell to hear Ian and Macca again! ESPN does it well and has a good lineup of commentators–except for Moreno who often makes my eyes roll. Still, it can be amusing to listen for just what goofy comment he’ll make next.

    Accents? Who doesn’t love a Scots way with the English language? Besides, we need knowledgable commentators no matter what country they come from. I give no credence to the statement that Americans won’t take to soccer without American commentators.

  10. Excellent choice of commentators. Darke and Macca are first class – and Martinez has definitely proved his knowledge beyond doubt this past year so he will be worth listening closely to.

    Not personally sure who Gus Johnson is but I can imagine. Whoever the American commentators at the FA Cup final on Fox were – were just beyond awful. Actually turned down the sound. Did not know that Fox had the next World Cup. Definite cause for concern re who they might pick.

  11. A super match today and possibly the result should have been a draw … but the commentating …. ??? Ian Darke couldn’t make any comment on a Brazilian player without denigrating him one way or another. Steve Mcmanaman, yes I know his playing history, couldn’t lay off criticising the Croatian goalie. There is not one player in history who has been perfect. So, change your tack, guys, and treat these games with the reverence they deserve. It was a privilege to watch today’s players skillfully put body and soul into their team effort and the Brazilian side was even able to sing their National Anthem with gusto. And perhaps Mr. Modric could be persuaded to let his hair grow back?
    But what fine way to start this World Cup!

  12. Mcmanaman was brilliant on cro v Brazil. Called out neymar, Dani alves, Marcelo appropriately and pointed out how Fred and hulk rarely saw the ball. The goalkeepers deserved criticism because they both played like dogshit. High praise for Oscar because he was the best on the field, Modric also played well. Announcers really pointed out how evenly matched the game was. I mean really 2 of Brazil’s goals are because of croatias keeper and one was the ref. Ugh wish Croatia played a little better

  13. Ian Darke & Steve McManaman are the most incompetent boring saying the obvious commentators who do not explain the sport nor the tactics. Switching to Univision whenever they are commentating. Just can’t take it.
    Help the masses understand, who cares what happened months/years/decades ago. Explain the NOW !!!
    Explain the game not what I see myself.

  14. Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno:
    FANTASTIC, they know the Game, they can explain the Game. Thank you !!!

    Jon Champion & Stewart Robson: Also enjoyed your explanations.

    Also Kudos to the commentators in the studio. That’s the kind of comments I would expect from the commentators during the game. Again, nothing like that from Ian Darke & Steve McManaman. Too bad.

  15. Please don’t ever go back to using American announcers .They are a disaster for the world cup with their bias and saying the soccer is boring.I love listening the the English announcers.Evan Ekoku is the best.Espn coverage is the best.Thanks espn.

  16. Taylor Twellman is super unprofessional. He spoke for about 10 minutes during the Greece game about how he wasn’t going to sleep for the next few days and it was so terrible. Like having the announcer job was somehow a burden. I would give anything to be in Brazil paid to watch the games and talk about what I see. You could feel the awkwardness from Adrien Healey as he tried to coax the conversation in a more upbeat direction. Twellman’s analysis is often il-informed and I hate that he cuts off Ian Darke all the time to inject poor commentary. It’s a situation where, if you find yourself agreeing with Twellman, you’re probably on the wrong side of the argument.

  17. As usual, ESPN’s world cup coverage is dire. The obvious and blatant bias among both match commentators and studio crew is appalling. Even Gus Johnson screaming is better than the snide and nasty comments about most teams, while anyone who has ever had anything to do with England or the English league is praised to the skies.

    Disgusting coverage and very very disappointing.

    Time to get out my Spanish dictionary and tune into Univision.

    1. Totally agree about England bias. Jon Champion could barely say anything positive or even *anything* about the Dutch team today–it was all about the Aussies, with their clear English ties. Was getting sick and tired of his commentary. He should be presenting the game evenly for BOTH sides. That’s what he’s paid to do!

  18. Fernando Palomo has to go! The worse Commentator! so annoying, all he does is yelling out the name of the payler who is controling the ball. he is deadly annoying! ESPN has to hire someone better. hope he is gone forever after the game of Brazil vs Mexico.

    love Ian Darke, Taylor Twellman & Derek Rae

    1. This is ESPN’s weak link… They may be good in Spanish but in English they are terrible… The Portuguese commentary on Deportes is actually quite good.

      ESPN should have just went with any of their other teams, which have been fantastic, even better than England’s commentary teams… Which is something I thought I would never say!

      Kudos ESPN


    1. The ESPN commentators for the Mexico vs Croatia game were terrible. They were very biased towards Mexico throughout the game and even said “We” several times as if they were part of the Mexican team. I really felt bad for anyone watching that was a Croatia fan. Additionally they just sounded bad, loud and obnoxious. ESPN needs to do a better job with World Cup commentators and not use Mexican nationals. I would like ESPN World Cup commentators to be fair and objective towards each team.

  19. Ian Darke is terrible. He doesn’t know the game well and comes up with stupid comments. I don’t care where he’s from he just sucks! Twellman is better but the English speaking Latin crew is way better. I miss Tommy Smith who is now only doing the radio broadcasts. Please fire Ian Darke!

    1. I’m surprised anyone thinks Ian Darke is actually any good. That Arlo guy from NBC is miles better than Darke. Ross Dyer puts him to shame, too. JP Della camera is a solid American announcer. Sadly, both of those guys are relegated to the radio.

  20. Fernando Palomo and Jaime Moreno are the best play by play team ESPN has! WAY BETTER than the English Crew! Palomo and Moreno add so much more excitement to the games as oppose to the Brits!

    When Ian Darke, Macca, Champion and Twellman are on, thank GOD for Univision!!!!

  21. I haven’t been terribly impressed with Twellman either; I give him a C+. He’s got the basic skills, but needs to work on his timing (too many interruptions) and his balance (too much talk), and needs to be more careful not to make his comments too contentious and/or one-sided. At times he begins to sound like a fan who is upset over a call or poor play.

    He’s a huge improvement over Marcelo Balboa from 2006, though. (Balboa was so bad that we tuned into the Mexican channel, even though we didn’t know Spanish.) For example, he doesn’t talk about “kicking the ball into the mixing bowl” every third or fourth corner, or spend 5 minutes per game talking about how poorly the English (Beckham, in Balboa’s case) he played.

  22. I think it is very odd to have two british announcers for the world cup. If you want to grow the American audience, then there should be at least one American commentator. I feel like I am watching another country’s broadcast of the matches.

  23. And DO NOT let Americans be the only announcers for games, I don’t wanna hear clueless morons comment on a sport they don’t care about….for those of you complaining about Englishmen commenting, get a clue!!! They speak your language and have an INFINITELY more extensive knowledge of the game
    Kasey Kellerman sounds like a teenage troglodyte btw…clip him!

  24. Espn announcer blaming the ref for the dirty playing of colombia’s Zuniga what stupid comment. All know it was intentional dirty playing to take out a good player using the strongest point of the body to hurt someone using knee or elbow. He was out to hurt n take him what is this war zone stupid mentality. If soccer is to be the world universal game they have to elevate the mentality from savagery FIFA should punish Zuniga the vampire suarez is nothing compared to this knee jerk he should be in MMA. Lift soccer to a respectable place it deserves take out these dirty players from countries that accept this and play the real game of soccer with class and finesse.

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