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ESPN announces commentators for Euro 2016


ESPN has announced its lineup of talent that will be bringing Euro 2016 to US television this summer.

The biggest surprise is that ESPN will feature Kate Markgraf as the first female co-commentator in the US to ever call a top-tier global men’s tournament. The 1999 Women’s World Cup champion made her debut during ESPN’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany and has become one of the leading analysts for women’s soccer in the United States.

Meanwhile, the network has announced that its lead play-by-play commentators will be Ian Darke (English-language) and Fernando Palomo (Spanish-language) for the month-long event in France that will feature many of the world’s best national teams, Friday, June 10 through Sunday, July 10.

Darke, who recently signed an ESPN extension, will be joined by English-language voices Jon Champion, Derek Rae and Adrian Healey, all of whom were members of ESPN’s play-by-play team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. ESPN soccer voices Max Bretos and Mark Donaldson are also key members of the commentator team.

English-language match co-commentators include Taylor Twellman, Steve McManaman, Stewart Robson, Alejandro Moreno, Tommy Smyth, Paul Mariner, and former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Markgraf.

Palomo, the leading Spanish-language voice of European soccer and host of Fuera de Juego, ESPN Deportes’ top-rated soccer studio program, leads the ESPN Deportes team. Other play-by-play commentators include versatile ESPN play-by-play voice Ricardo Ortiz; Omar Orlando Salazar, Emilio Fernando Alonso and Jorge Ramos. The ESPN Deportes team for UEFA Euro 2016 represents the best collection of seasoned soccer voices on Spanish-language television in the U.S.

Spanish-language match analysts are Tato Noriega, Argentina World Cup champion Mario Kempes, Roberto Gomez Junco, Ricardo Mayorga and Hernan Pereyra.




The commentator teams will call a significant number of matches from stadium sites in France:

· Darke, who will be paired with Steve McManaman and Taylor Twellman during the tournament, depending on the match, will call all his games from France beginning with the France vs. Romania opener on June 10 (2:30 p.m. ET). He will also call the Final outside Paris on July 10;

· The English-language team of Jon Champion and Stewart Robson will also call its assigned matches in France;

· Palomo and Noriega will be in France during the tournament and will call 16 matches, including the opening match and the final. Ricardo Ortiz and Mario Kempes will be on-site in France to call two quarterfinals and one semifinal in France.

· The other games will be called off the monitor by ESPN’s commentators (mentioned above).

ESPN’s three television networks – ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes – will combine to carry more than 200 hours of live coverage of UEFA EURO 2016 including all 51 matches live on the English-language networks and 45 on ESPN Deportes, the most comprehensive presentation to-date of the European football championship in the United States.

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  1. Eloise Bertrand

    July 11, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    I was appalled that the commentary at the end of the Portugal France game refused to give credit of the goal scoring to the young man who scored the goal.- Eber. ..the African. It was as thought the goal scorer did not score the goal
    Ronaldo did not play the match and faked an injury 20 minutes after he was attacked by the french player. He did NOT play the match. Yet the commentators refused to give Eber the credit. After the match was won, Ronaldo proceeded to posess the cup, as though he played…tsking ll the glory. Her refused to relinquish it to other players. I saw Eber struggling to touch the cup. ESPN should be ashamed! Fire the commentators. They are all biased.

  2. Joe

    July 10, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    ESPN shouldn’t get commentators who are so one sided, and have an axe to grind.

  3. Mary

    July 10, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    To the commentator who said the Portugal team is terrible. Shame on you! Portugal won.

    And now they
    are saying…..

    “Everyone is going to forget about this game”
    “Hopefully they (Portugal) will do better in the future.”
    “It was boring”

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Very disappointing ESPN.

    • Joe

      July 10, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Agree with you…

  4. David Stone

    July 8, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Taylor needs a serious soccer education. He literally just has zero clue what is going on, especially when it comes to anything to do with refereeing. Ian is enjoyable though.

    Need to fire that Taylor guy asap, or put him on a sport that doesn’t need much thought, like Golf or Tennis maybe.

    I might have to mute the games he’s assigned to. It’s brutal

  5. scrumper

    June 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    The train wreck commentators are at it again. Just turned the sound off Hungary v Iceland

  6. Dave

    June 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Just get rid of all the american announcers especially anyone who ever played for the US teams – male or female. They simply do not understand the beauty of this event. I am a huge US fan and have been since the 1980s. But the cute little comments they make about when they played the game and their experience is completely irrelevant and trivial to what is going on in this world stage (this also applies to the Copa tournament but I’m focused on the Euro). The announcers are annoying – get some more Brits or Mexican/Europeans in and just replace 100% the gringos. If you can’t do that, at least tell them to stop making stupid analogies to other American sports. WE GET SOCCER, and just because ESPN (or Fox for that matter) doesn’t still get it, does not give you liberty to throw local yokel “heroes” on the screen. Quality announcing is IMPORTANT.

  7. Jeff

    June 17, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Moreno is simply a disaster. Not only is his ( or maybe her) voice really annoying, he also sounds like a whiny baby. His attempts to joke around are completely missing the mark, Awful. The other one that’s an utter failure is the scottish dude in the booth, his accent is so thick forget the US, I bet they don’t even understand him outside the village where he came from. Whoever hired these two at espn should be on notice. ESPN do yourself and more importantly us a favor and remove these too now.

  8. scrumper

    June 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    This woman on the Croatia Czech game is horrible!! All she does is repeat the previous move in this slow death rattle of a voice. And it’s hilarious:
    “Cech is breathing a little there” (I assume this is something most goalkeepers need to do)
    “Croatia are getting on the Czech backsides” (I’m broad minded but shouldn’t they wait until they get home?)
    “Modric is the player defender…er midfield attacker….er controller of the ball every team wants” (make your mind up dear).
    I turned the sound off.

    • Sarah

      June 17, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Completely agree. Boring voice and stating the obvious. I also muted the sound. ESPN, please make it stop.

  9. Cezar Mart

    June 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I can’t stand the female commentator. It’s a big turn-off for me. I don’t mind her commentating womens games, but please stay out of guys games.

  10. Jess

    June 17, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    That female commentator is terrible. What on earth is she talking about? I’ve currently got the game muted because my ears can’t bare to hear it. I’m a woman and love having women do commentary – but they have to be good.
    In general the north american commentators for soccer like to comment as if they;re talking about football or hockey. Absolutely atrocious.

  11. Michael

    June 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I live in Vancouver and I’ve heard the same announcer for several years on major soccer tournaments like the Euro and World Cups. The announcer is just absolutely dreadful. He’s very monotonous and puts you to sleep, talks about irrelevant stuff that happened years ago that nobody remembers, and doesn’t talk about whats happening on the field. No intensity whatsoever. Is he just reading stuff off of cards? Just talk about the damn game and show some passion !

    In the current Euro 2016 matches so far, its the same guy. Who is he? Get rid of him NOW. When watching the Copa tournament or MLS soccer, those guys have passion and higher pitched voices.

    How did this guy ever get hired to commentate at this level? He needs to go.
    If I could submit a complaint to someone, I totally would, so somebody please give me an email or a link or something. Seriously, I dozed off even during the best matches a few times

  12. james

    June 15, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    The ESPN commentator on the Swiss Romania game is absolute rubbish. All mouth, lots of stats and no play by play. He also has a really annoying habit of giving every name with a few vowels a spanish accent twist. Reminds me of all ‘Allo ‘Allo.

  13. scrumper

    June 15, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Sorry ESPN but leave the equality to other sports. Women are terrible commentators and just as bad in the studio. They sound like a bunch of soccer moms watching their kids on a Saturday morning. It’s awful and hilarious at the same time. They do not belong at the Euros. And this Abby Wambach looks like she has a dead rat on her head.

    • Charlie

      June 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Sorry, I think Rebecca Lowe is excellent. I know she’s on NBC but she is, in my opinion, one of the best. She and the two “Robbies” are great.

  14. Nigel Evans

    June 14, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    The female commentator has NO place in the booth. She is terrible and with 4 mins left in regulation, of course Austria with 10 men are going to find it hard coming back from 2-0 down . . . ‘duh’

  15. Peter Flaherty

    June 14, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Who is that commentator with Derek Rae on the Hungary Austria march.He’s terrible but she is woeful.You think she’s commentating on a funeral.Keep her to a woman’s football game.

  16. Terri martins

    June 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    The women commentator doing play by play on euro 2016 aut vs hun needs more pep in her step the play by play is terrible put some life into it

    • Raymond goulland

      June 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      I was watching that on comcast and I decided to stream it online illegally from British tv because it’s just awful .. honestly awful .. I can’t stand that and I have every respect to every woman in the universe but that is just brutal 40 years watching soccer in every country all over the world from Europe to Japan to here in USA.. that really made me reconsider my life and my hitch hiker guide to the Galaxy .. I am sorry but wtf Espn..

  17. Brn442

    June 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Joe, the more you speak, the greater you reveal your small minded ignorance. Please stop.

  18. Joe

    June 12, 2016 at 10:13 am

    dESPN has become a business practicing social experimentation…..Derek Rae deserved a much more men’s Euro knowledgeable commentator. Thank goodness NBC won EPL games and we get the best English announcers/commentators who KNOW the players and sides.

  19. Jerry

    June 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Abby Wambach has been an absolute disaster in the studio. I guess ESPN felt the need to shove political correctness down our throats. A woman and a lesbian. Two for the price of one!

    • Joe

      June 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Agreed…just brutal….and what the heck was she/he wearing in the studio the other day? She looked like a futuristic cowboy…

  20. Charlie

    June 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Who is the awful female continuity announcer? Her voice and inflection are annoying.

  21. Rob

    June 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Listening to Derek Rae right now calling the France-Scotland game. He has to be the most annoying commentator since JP Dellacamera. He does little or no play-by-play and conducts a running conversation with the color guy. Does ESPN require no play-by-play or are they too lazy to learn the players names? If this experience is any to judge by, I won’t be watching the Euros on ESPN, but go to BBC or ITV by VPN.

    • Desmond O'Neill

      June 10, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      I could not agree more. Darke and Palomo (?) made no effort to commentate on the Spain-Sweden game today. They simply chatted to each other. When Palomo (?) started talking (at some length!) about the colors of ladies’ dresses at Sergio Ramos’ upcoming wedding, I was screaming at my telly. It is truly pitiful.

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