We’ve written a guide to FOX’s World Cup commentators who will be gracing television sets across June and July at this summer’s World Cup.
Not all of them will be in Russia this summer. In fact, only two out of FOX’s six lead commentators have traveled to the World Cup. But their TV executive says it’s no big deal.
In addition to FOX’s World Cup commentators, we’ve also included the presenters and studio analysts that will be bringing the 2018 World Cup to you.
Guide to FOX’s World Cup commentators:
Rob Stone is the lead studio host of World Cup Today, airing from Red Square in Moscow during FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. He joined FOX Sports in 2012 as the lead studio host for FOX Sports’ soccer, and has anchored coverage of Major League Soccer, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, Copa America, Gold Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and England’s FA Cup and hosted the Women’s World Cup during 2015 in Canada.
For FOX’s coverage of the 2018 World Cup, Stone has promised that “We will over-deliver.” Let’s hope so.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Rob Stone from 2016.
Before officially joining FOX Sports in a full-time capacity, Kate Abdo worked for FOX Sports as a guest host during the network’s coverage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For many, Abdo is best known for her role with Sky Sports from 2014 to 2016 as well as hosting the Ballon D’Or award ceremony from 2014-2016. During her time with FOX Sports in the summer of 2015, she hosted the FS1 nightly wrap-up show, FIFA Women’s World Cup Tonight. She also hosted FS1’s coverage of the Algarve Cup. Throughout the Women’s World Cup year, she served as studio host for various women’s international friendlies.
Abdo began her sports broadcasting career at DW-TV, a German TV channel, before joining CNN in 2009. At CNN, Kate was based in London from where she covered the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa among other top soccer events and leagues. Abdo made her mark at Sky Deutschland as lead anchor and face of the channel’s Sky Sports News program before moving to Sky Sports in the UK in 2014. Throughout her career she has conducted notable interviews with some of international football’s all-time greats, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola and Manuel Neuer.
Nicknamed El Presidente, Fernando Fiore co-hosts and contributes to the network’s expanding portfolio of elite, world-class soccer events, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup coverage. During this summer’s World Cup, Fiore hosts nightly recap show World Cup Tonight.
Fiore, who had previously spent his distinguished career working exclusively on Spanish-language television for Univision, made his English-language debut with FOX Sports in 2016 during Copa America Centenario.
In our review of FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, here’s what we wrote about Fiore‘s work on television covering the tournament: “Fiore hasn’t added much except for forced clownish behavior and obvious analysis on the set. Fiore is an expert on the sport and a colorful character but it seems his act is at times over-the-top and he isn’t being relied on to give the type of analysis he has for years on Spanish language television and radio.”
Recruited from beIN SPORTS where he established himself as a familiar analyst, Ian Joy works as a FOX Soccer studio host and analyst. He hosts FOX Soccer’s Bundesliga coverage, and serves as a studio analyst for UEFA Champions League and Europa League coverage. In addition, he works as an analyst on the Yes Network for the New York City Football Club matches.
Joy began his TV and radio career doing color commentary for FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake after this retirement from professional soccer in 2011.
Despite career threatening injuries, Joy enjoyed a long professional career as a defender, playing more than 250 league matches for five different teams in England, Scotland, Germany, and in MLS. Joy’s 14-year pro career started with Scottish side Montrose FC during the 2000-01 season, then he went to play for England’s Kidderminster Harriers (2001-03) and Germany’s Hamburger SV (2003-05), before landing with German Bundesliga club FC St. Pauli, where he played for four seasons from 2004-08 and helped the club earn a promotion.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Ian Joy.
Commentators (based in Russia):
Named as the fourth best soccer commentator in the business by World Soccer Talk in 2016, John Strong joined the FOX Soccer Channel in August 2012, while still calling the Portland Timbers and working soccer broadcasts at NBC. In 2015, Strong went full-time with FOX Sports as a play-by-play announcer for its coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS), the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Copa America, World Cup Qualifiers and other international soccer events.
Stuart Holden, a former team member of 2010 USA World Cup squad and footballer for Bolton Wanderers, is a game and studio analyst for FOX Sports’ extensive soccer coverage.
Holden has worked on the network’s marquee soccer properties including Major League Soccer, U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifiers, and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Holden has also contributed to the network’s coverage of European soccer including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and England’s FA Cup.
Holden has grown into his role as an analyst and co-commentator for FOX Sports, and continues to improve in his role.
Named as the eighth best soccer commentator in the business by World Soccer Talk in 2016, JP Dellacamera is one of the pioneering voices of American soccer. With FOX Sports, he calls matches for Major League Soccer, the U.S. Women’s National Team and previously games from the CONCACAF Champions League and UEFA Europa League. He served as a play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Copa America in 2016, and the SheBelieves Cup in 2017.
Listen to our exclusive interview with JP Dellacamera from 2015.
Tony Meola serves as a FOX Soccer analyst and will be paired with play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera calling the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches in Russia. He has been a part of FOX Sports since 2015, working on the Gold Cup 2015, MLS, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Bundesliga, U.S. Men’s National Team and numerous youth qualifying and tournament broadcasts. He is also currently a radio host with Brian Dunseth for the Counter Attack soccer show on SiriusXM FC.
Meola is a former American goalkeeper who represented the United States National Team at the 1990, 1994, and 2002 World Cups. He was captain of the 1994 squad. From 1996 to 2006, he played in Major League Soccer, where he obtained multiple honors. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Commentators (based in Los Angeles studio):
Named as the number one soccer commentator in the business by World Soccer Talk in 2016, Derek Rae will commentate World Cup games for FOX Sports alongside co-commentator Aly Wagner.
A familiar voice to soccer viewers around the world, this will be Rae’s eighth FIFA World Cup, having worked most recently for ESPN’s presentation of Brazil 2014.
While currently living in the United States, he makes frequent trips to Germany to cover the Bundesliga for the league’s international feed. In addition, he’s served as the NFL play-by-play announcer for Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football series, and hosts international rugby for NBCSN.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Derek Rae from 2016.
Aly Wagner, former U.S. Women’s National Team player, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup veteran, will be in a Los Angeles studio to commentate World Cup games alongside Derek Rae. Previously, she was a featured member of the FOX Sports 2015 Women’s FIFA World Cup broadcast team. Playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1999 to 2008, she scored 21 goals and recorded 42 assists in 131 international matches.
In 2017 before a decision had been reached about who would be the commentators for Russia 2018, World Soccer Talk offered this analysis about her commentary work in the FIFA Confederations Cup: “Wagner, in particular, has given sharp analysis and seems unafraid to be critical when warranted. If this is an audition for her to be on a commentary team next summer, she [has] passed.”
World Soccer Talk also raved about her commentary work in the article entitled FOX Sports needs to select Aly Wagner to co-commentate World Cup 2018 games.
At the start of FOX Sports World (now deunct), he was a regular, calling twice weekly Serie A games from Italy. Davis has also called CONCACAF Champions League, CONCACAF Gold Cup and various tournaments internationally.
Davis works as a FOX Soccer play-by-play announcer and serves as the lead play-by-play announcer for the Houston Dynamo’s local TV broadcasts.
Davis will be commentating World Cup games alongside co-commentator Cobi Jones.
Cobi Jones is a FOX Sports’ soccer analyst. He began working with FOX Sports in 2010 as part of the World Cup Draw coverage. Since then, he has been a regular on FOX Sports’ coverage of Major League Soccer, the U.S. Men’s National Team, FIFA Youth Tournaments, the Guinness Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, the Gold Cup, Bundesliga and other tournaments and leagues.
Jones has a long and storied professional career, playing in three FIFA World Cups for the U.S. Men’s National Team (1994, 1998, 2002), spending 12 seasons with the LA Galaxy, as well playing in the English Premier League for Coventry City and as the first American to play in Brazil with Vasco d Gama. He was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011.
Read our exclusive interview with Cobi Jones from 2011.
Jorge Pérez-Navarro brings vast experience, knowledge and versatility having covered a wide variety of sports events including four FIFA World Cups, five Copa América championships, nine Copa MX tournaments and several CONCACAF qualifiers. He has also covered 10 MLS seasons, and friendlies and international qualifiers for Team USA’s, men and women’s division, which earned him the title of “The Spanish Voice of Soccer of the United States.”
Mariano Trujillo is a FOX Sports soccer analyst working the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He is a former Mexican footballer who works as a soccer analyst for FOX Deportes, as well as on FOX Sports’ coverage of numerous international soccer tournaments.
Trujillo began his broadcasting career with FOX Sports, serving as a studio analyst on FS1 for the 2013 Gold Cup. He then expanded his duties as a soccer analyst on FOX Deportes, and continues to work with FOX Sports for select tournaments.
Out of all of the announcers that FOX Sports has hired for this summer’s World Cup, Mark Followill is the least-experienced soccer commentator. He has called games for FOX Sports’ coverage of the Copa America Centenario, CONCACAF Gold Cup, UEFA Europa League, Bundesliga, MLS, FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
He’ll be paired with co-commentator Warren Barton.
Warren Barton will be the co-commentator alongside commentator Mark Followill during Russia 2018.
Normally, Barton serves as a soccer studio analyst for FOX Sports including UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League programming. The London native first made an impressive name for himself on the pitch as he quickly rose through the English professional ranks, and now brings his knowledge and passion for the sport to FOX Sports’ soccer commentator desk. In May 2012, he called the first-ever all German UEFA Champions League Final, live from Wembley Stadium.
Hernan Crespo, the legendary Argentine striker, serves as a FOX Sports studio analyst for World Cup Today and World Cup Tonight.
Crespo’s illustrious professional and international career spans nearly two decades, and he remains third on the list of all-time goal scorers for Argentina, for whom he played in three FIFA World Cups. Crespo in 2004 was named among the FIFA 10, Pelé’s list of the world’s greatest living players. His club career includes championships in both England and Italy, where in 2000 he was the world’s most expensive player when he moved from Parma to Lazio.
Guus Hiddink, a Dutch football manager and former player, serves as a FOX Sports soccer analyst. Hiddink has one of the most impressive coaching pedigrees in the soccer world, taking three nations to a FIFA World Cup, including South Korea’s legendary run to the semifinals in 2002.
In addition to managing elite club teams including Real Madrid and Chelsea, Hiddink is a former manager of the national team of 2018 FIFA World Cups hosts Russia, where he remains a sporting celebrity to this day. He returns to FOX Sports, where he was part of coverage of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Alexi Lalas, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and one of the sport’s most recognizable personalities, joined FOX Sports in January 2015 to serve its family of channels as a studio and game analyst.
Prior to joining FOX Sports, he was an analyst for ESPN for World Cup 2014, World Cup 2010 and World Cup 2006.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Alexi Lalas.
DR. JOE MACHNIK:
Longtime FIFA and CONCACAF Match Commissioner and National Hall of Famer, Dr. Joe Machnik lends insight and expertise, interpreting rules and dissecting officiating decisions for FOX Sports’ soccer coverage. He contributes to the brand’s elite portfolio of soccer properties such as the U.S. Men’s National Team and No. 1 FIFA-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team, Major League Soccer, UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues, CONCACAF Gold Cups, Copa America, FIFA Confederation Cups, and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
A Ballon d’Or recipient, Lothar Matthäus captained Germany’s World Cup winning team in 1990, holds the record for most appearances with the German national team, and is the only outfield player to have played in five World Cups.
Matthäus is also remembered for this tirade against Al Jazeera that was caught on videotape (NSFW).
Moises Munoz, a Mexican national team goalkeeper, serves as a FOX Sports soccer analyst. An active player in his 20th professional season, he is the starting keeper for Puebla of Liga MX. He has 19 international caps for Mexico, was a member of multiple FIFA World Cup qualifying cycles, and served as the starting goalkeeper for Mexico’s 3-2 win over the United States in the 2015 CONCACAF Cup playoff match that sent El Tri to the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Kelly Smith, a retired English star forward, serves as a FOX Sports soccer analyst. She recorded over 100 caps for the England women’s national football team and is England’s record goal scorer with 46 goals. In college in the United States, Smith broke records with Seton Hall University, then played professionally in various women’s pro leagues in both the United States and England, where she starred for Arsenal. She worked for FOX Sport’s 2015 Women’s FIFA World Cup studio coverage and is a television analyst in her native United Kingdom.
Well known by soccer fans as one of the legends of Arsenal Football Club, Ian Wright’s role as a studio analyst has been very mixed. He had an embarrassing day in his co-commentary in a Manchester United-Chelsea FA Cup game in 2013, and he wasn’t helped by being teamed up with former soccer commentator Gus Johnson.
Still, when he’s focused on his job and shares his honest opinions, he can be exciting to watch.
In addition to working for FOX Sports, he’ll also be providing analysis in Russia for British broadcaster ITV.
Russian journalist Maria Komandnaya serves as a FOX Sports reporter for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Komandnaya previously worked for FOX Sports during the network’s coverage of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
She co-hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw live from State Kremlin Palace in Moscow in December 2017 and is esteemed for her work with Moscow FM and Match TV.
Geoff Shreeves will be one of two embedded reporters with the England national team in Russia, where he’ll be providing daily contributions to FOX Sports.
Jenny Taft has been focusing on increasing her reps in soccer by being a sideline reporter during MLS and the Women’s World Cup games.
Reporter Sergey Gordeev will provide a daily contribution from National Geographic in his features from across Russia.
Bonnetta joined FOX Sports in 2016 and showcases her creativity in digital media roles across a range of major FOX Sports events and properties. During FOX’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia coverage, Bonnetta will host a 30-minute live show on Twitter from Moscow’s Red Square, providing match action previews, recaps, Twitter reaction and original segments.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Rachel Bonnetta when she worked for MLS.
FOX Sports Executive Producer David Neal describes Rodolfo Landeros as “the Jay Glazer of Mexican football.” He’ll be embedded with the Mexico national team, and will appear on studio shows during the tournament.
Have any questions about our guide to FOX’s World Cup commentators, let us know in the comments section below.
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