ESPN Announces World Cup TV Commentator Assignments For Round of 16 Games

ESPN have announced their commentator assignments for the Round of 16 games in the World Cup.

There are no surprises in the announcements. ESPN have stuck to their proven formula of the World Cup commentators who have shared the booth on several occasions during the Group Stages, so we see Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman commentating the USA-Belgium game, while Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno will announce the Mexico-Netherlands game.

With England getting knocked out of the tournament, ESPN have decided to put Steve McManaman in the co-commentator slot for Brazil against Chile on Saturday, which will be a good test for the English Premier League-focused announcer.

Here’s the complete schedule:

Saturday, June 28
Round of 16 — Brazil vs Chile, Noon ET, ABC and Watch ABC; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman
Round of 16 — Colombia vs Uruguay, 4pm ET, ABC and Watch ABC;  Jon Champion & Stewart Robson

Sunday, June 29
Round of 16 — Mexico vs Netherlands, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno
Round of 16 — Costa Rica vs Greece, 4pm ETESPN and WatchESPN; Daniel Mann & Kasey Keller

Monday, June 30
Round of 16 — France vs Nigeria, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Derek Rae & Efan Ekoku
Round of 16 — Germany vs Algeria, 4pm ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Jon Champion & Stewart Robson     

Tuesday, July 1
Round of 16 — Argentina vs Switzerland, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Adrian Healey & Alejandro Moreno
Round of 16 — USA vs Belgium, ESPN and WatchESPN; Ian Darke & Taylor Twellman

32 thoughts on “ESPN Announces World Cup TV Commentator Assignments For Round of 16 Games”

  1. ” Brazil vs Mexico, Noon ET,Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno”

    I’ll be watching on Univision.

    Also for Todays’ USA-Germany game, Ian Darke and Twellman were sooo annoying. On and on about “if this” “if that” not just once or twice but constantly plus other non-sense. Really terrible.

    I switched over to Univision at HT. Wish they put Derek Rae and Efan Ekoku for the USA game (or Jon Champion & Stewart Robson).

    If Ian and Twellman are that bad again for game vs Belgium, I’ll switch to Univision again.

    1. Rae & Ekoku has been one of the better pairings. At least Efan’s been pretty unbiased even though he’s got a dog in the hunt

    2. I switched to Univision immediately upon hearing Twellman’s voice. I agree he is very annoying, not to mention a poor commentator. I’ll be switching to Univision again when the USA plays Belgium. Thank god for Univision.

    3. I agree. Especially the taylor Twellman is so annoying, i kept my TV muted for sometime in frustation. He don’t know what the heck he is talking about and never had a courage to say how pathetic USA played against the Germany even once

    4. I like Lalas, Keller, Ballack, Darke as commentators. They do a nice job discussing relevant points and overall plays of the game. And they’re adult, not childlike nor do they show some bimbo in a dress size too small acting like a bubble-headed beach blonde.

  2. Hey Chris:

    You’ve have an error:

    Saturday, June 28
    Round of 16 — Brazil vs Chile, Noon ET, ABC and Watch ABC; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman

    Sunday, June 29
    Round of 16 — Brazil vs Mexico, Noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN; Fernando Palomo & Alejandro Moreno

    I don’t think Brazil will play two teams in round of 16 lol.

    Kind of unfair to them – :-)

  3. I always watch on Univision anyway but Balboa, who is usually decent, calm, clear, was unusually effusive about Germany, smothering the airwaves with compliments on their play that not only lacked insight but alluded to disappointment for USA with a tinge of disdain.

    1. To my mind, Marcelo Balboa was the worst commentator in 2006, bar none. We always switched to Univision when he was on, even though none of us understood more than a few words of Spanish. He spent most of his time bashing the England team in that tournament, and in particular David Beckham. My favorite comment of his was that the England team were going to have a tough time getting in shape for all the heat when they got to South Africa, not realizing that it would be winter there in 2010. It doesn’t surprise me that he puts time into bashing the US team now. He’s probably never forgiven Steve Sampson for mismanaging the 1998 team into last place, leaving him out of the first two group stage games, and he’s the vindictive type.

  4. All the commentators have been solid (yeah, even the American ones everyone seems to hate.)
    I’m predicting Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman for the Final. The seasoned English veteran and the young American up-and-comer. Perfect for ESPN.

      1. Macca will in the studio. Ok, I’m gonna predict the WC Final studio panel too…Macca, Ballack, Lalas and Martinez. Mr. Jeff, et tu?

    1. Darke is blatantly biased in favor of Belgium. At the half we “Lived to fight another day”. It’s TIED, Ian. The incompetent Americans held your beloved Belgians SCORELESS, Mr. Europhone.

  5. Two great games on Saturday. Really looking forward to the Columbia-Uraguay game. If you want to watch Brazilian flair, watch Columbia not Brazil. They have been very impressive so far. I expect them to take care of Uruguay and then Brazil. Very happy that Jon Champion is the lead. He has outshone Darke as far as I’m concerned and I like Darke.

    Team USA is in the easy half of the draw. They have a opportunity to turn a great World Cup into a game changing tournament for US soccer. Belgium are good but it’s not out of the question. Will definitely bunk off work to watch that one. Had to listen to JP and the old onion bag on the radio today. It was awful.

    1. Have to agree. Colombia has been wonderful to watch. I don’t think Brazil can go through against Chile. Chileans are another dark horses. Particularly with Alturo Vidal in the center, he will have a hell of day against Brazil.

  6. Really pleased with the in-game commentary by ESPN. I have purposefully gone out of my way to watch the games with Darke-Macca and Champion-Robson at home, rather than a noisy place like a bar, so I can soak in their great commentary. It’s amazing how much entertainment quality commentators add to a football match. Derek Rae is excellent and extremely knowledgeable too, but he doesn’t quite add the same level of excitement as the others.

  7. Say what you will…and I’m not just hating on fox, but the quality of ESPN’s broadcasters is welcome relief from gus and his (wow) sidekick. One wonders if they are taking notes?

  8. Great job by ESPN. Coverage has been excellent with the nightly recap, ESPN FC Encore simlar to Match of the Day. World Cup Tonight is good too but there are less highlights. Announcers and hosts on ESPN are doing well. Efan Ekoku is very a good analyst but shows no emotion.

    1. Ekoku is terrible IMHO, in the past I have turned off when he’s commenting. He’s a little more tolerable now but his comments are often totally inaccurate and misleading to the less knowledgeable fan.

  9. I’ve always liked Darke/Macca but both have felt off point for me in this tournament. Darke rambling and Macca being too “English”. I thought they had relegated Macca to the studio but he’s back for at least one game.

  10. Dear Christopher,

    Maybe you could do a post about the poor coverage by ESPN/ABC announcers in the U.S.? The World Cup attracts tons of people who don’t regularly watch football (soccer) and we don’t know all kinds of things about the game but the announcers explain nothing. What exactly does a handball mean? How many yellow cards means what? etc. What’s the format for the round of 16? Sudden death after regular time? It’s frustrating and annoying and is not going to help attract new fans. Thanks.

    1. Commentators don’t have time to detail the basics of the game. Besides, it’s not hard to figure out the rules except for off-side…and not everything is about ‘attracting new fans’. There are tens of millions already watching who know the sport!

  11. Yikes – am searching for decent commentary for the Netherlands/Mexico game. The 2 ESPN guys are the worst !!

    1. Tell me about it! I’ve muted the TV, I’d rather hear nothing than have to cringe every second listening to those two!

  12. Is it me or is Alejandro Moreno broadcasting this game in mono…..not like the high octane pro-mexican stereo on Sunday??!!!

  13. Can we get some American announcers for the USA games at least. I betcha they don’t broadcast annoying British douchebag announcers in Germany.

  14. Darke and Steve McManaman are out of control ridiculous. I’m Brazilian and live in the US. If I didn’t want to hear the crowd cheering, I would’ve pressed the mute button. WOW simply amazing these guys are allowed to speak at all. Shut up. And the biased comments…… Ugh

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