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ABC to show Iceland-England and Portugal-Croatia doubleheader

UEFA international matches are coming to the ABC network on US television.

Remember earlier this year when ESPN announced they would broadcast a record 10 MLS games on ABC? The original plan was to cross-promote Euro 2020 games during network MLS broadcasts as well as scheduling doubleheaders including Minnesota-LAFC that would immediately follow the UEFA Euro 2020 Final.

With the global pandemic, that original game plan to celebrate MLS’s landmark 25th season was thrown out. Euro 2020 was rescheduled for the summer 2021, and MLS embarked on an innovative partnership with ESPN to broadcast the 2020 MLS Is Back tournament. With the vast majority of MLS Is Back games being scheduled in primetime on the flagship ESPN channel, none of the games appeared on ABC.

Now, World Soccer Talk has learned that the UEFA Nations League will be a major benefactor of ABC’s coverage. With the UEFA competition returning in early September, two of the high profile UEFA Nations League games will be televised live on the ABC network as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, September 5.

ABC’s doubleheader will feature Iceland against England kicking off at Noon ET followed by Portugal versus Croatia at 2:45PM ET.

The two matches will not only be important ties in League A of the competition, but they’ll also be the ideal showcase for ESPN to promote its coverage of the upcoming Bundesliga season (beginning September 18) and Serie A (beginning September 19).

Plus the two ABC matches will give ESPN talent an opportunity to start looking ahead to Euro 2020 that will be played next summer.

During the first international break of the 2020/21 season, ESPN has several key matches scheduled for television including:

All times Eastern. TV schedules are subject to change.

Thursday, September 3

Germany vs. Spain (UEFA Nations League), 2:45pm, ESPN2, Sling Orange, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)


Friday, September 4

Italy vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (UEFA Nations League), 2:45pm, ESPNEWS, Sling Orange + Sports Extra, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)


Saturday, September 5

Iceland vs. England (UEFA Nations League), Noon, ABC, fuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live and Vidgo (free trial)

Portugal vs. Croatia (UEFA Nations League), 2:45pm, ABC, fuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live and Vidgo (free trial)


Sunday, September 6

Switzerland vs. Germany (UEFA Nations League), 2:45pm, ESPNEWS, Sling Orange + Sports Extra, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)


Monday, September 7

Czech Republic vs. Scotland (UEFA Nations League), 2:45pm, ESPNEWS, Sling Orange + Sports Extra, Vidgo and fuboTV (free trial)


Tuesday, September 8

Denmark vs. England (UEFA Nations League), 2:45pm, ESPN2, fuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live and Vidgo (free trial)


Additional UEFA Nations League games are expected to be streamed via ESPN3 and ESPN+.

So far during 2020, UEFA has been feeling the love from US broadcasters. While CBS Sports acquired the rights to the UEFA club competitions and have been elevating the level of studio coverage as well as hiring two of the best commentators in the business, the baton has been passed to ESPN who have the English-language rights to the UEFA national team broadcasts such as Euro 2020, Euro qualifiers and UEFA Nations League.

With CBS giving ESPN some real competition in the race to see who is the best English-language soccer broadcaster in the United States, we’ll have to wait until September 5 to see if ESPN is able to rise to the challenge.

As reported earlier this year by World Soccer Talk, three of the names rumored to be in discussions with ESPN about joining the studio team for its coverage of Euro 2020 included Gary Neville, Gary Lineker and Sir Alex Ferguson. With the global pandemic disrupting plans for Euro 2020, it’s unclear who the talent will be for the 2021 tournament. But suffice to say, ESPN has major plans in store beginning with the September 5 double-header.


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  1. Ivan Katic

    September 5, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Who was second commentator for Portugal Croatia game?
    Guy sure dies not know much about Euro soccer and hates Croatia.

    • Christopher Harris

      September 5, 2020 at 5:56 pm

      Alejandro Moreno.

      • Azer

        September 5, 2020 at 8:24 pm

        Ross Dyer & Matt Lawrence did a good job this morning commentating on Macedonia vs Armenia on ESPNEWS. ESPN should have assigned Paul Mariner alongside Jon Champion, two Englishmen for Iceland vs England instead of TT. Derek Rae or Mark Donaldson paired with Kesey Keller should have done Portugal vs Croatia. I was watching a friendly this morning Hamburg vs Hertha Berlin on ESPN3 with the great Phil Bonney. I’m not looking forward to Adrian Healy calling the top games in the Bundesliga this upcoming season. Just some of my thoughts.

  2. Jasinho

    August 22, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    I think the ideal scenario would be for CBS to obtain Fox’s current allotment of the MLS tv rights the next tv deal and get the CONCACAF Champions League.

    Other than that, I would love to see Sir Alex, Lineker, and Neville for the ESPN Euro studio team.

    Although Ive found the concept disagreeable at first, Ive really warmed up to the Nations League because of the ability to watch more evenly matched National sides. So great to see it on regular tv.

    • Eddie

      August 23, 2020 at 10:00 am

      I don’t know who going to win the MLS and CONCACAF tv deal after 2021 or 2022?
      I think CBS could get that package of adding more soccer rights on the portfolio and tv.

    • Chris Guardiano

      August 30, 2020 at 4:32 am

      CBS would have to commit to showing the majority of matches on TV either on network TV or CBS Sports Network because MLS wants games on TV to grow its fan base although they don’t mind the fact that ESPN+ shows all matches that are available in local markets which could allow CBS All Access to also show local market matches as well. Two major issues that I see that could get in the way of CBS getting the MLS TV rights is that CBS Sports Network is not a basic cable/satellite channel like ESPN or FS1 is which could limit access for people that don’t have the right cable or satellite package and their team is playing on CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access isn’t showing it due to it being a nationally televised match. The other major issue has to do with the placement of games on network TV. CBS has long term deals with the SEC (College Football), multiple conferences for college basketball and NCAA March Madness, and the two big ones the NFL and the PGA Tour. All of these deals have a negative effect on CBS’s ability to broadcast MLS matches on network TV. For example broadcasting a weekend match in September on network TV could be problematic because College Football and the NFL take up those time slots. CBS would have to be creative with this and use the weekends they aren’t covering the PGA Tour in the spring or summer for MLS matches. This can also be done by giving more PGA Tour events to another network.
      As for the CCL CBS could show the majority of it on All Access and the final on CBS Sports Network like it did last week with the Europa and Champions Leagues.

      • Donald Duck

        August 30, 2020 at 9:31 am

        You can watch your local CBS thru CBS All access so that shouldnt be a problem if you do not have an antenna.
        CBS’s play could be for a year or 2 in the future when ATSC3.0 is fully available. Once 3.0 is ready then they would have alot of sub channels and they could have say NFL on main CBS say 7.1 and Soccer on the Sub channels be it say 7.2/7.3/7.4 however only the main would be 4k where the 1st 3 subs can be 1080/720 and the rest are SD.

      • Eddie

        August 31, 2020 at 9:18 am

        CBS Sports lose sec football after 2023 or they might opt out the for next few years.
        They might get other sports tv rights?

  3. Jeff

    August 22, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    “With CBS giving ESPN some real competition in the race to see who is the best English-language soccer broadcaster in the United States…” – That debate can’t credibly nor seriously be had without including NBC in that discussion.

    • Not My Gaffer

      August 23, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Yep, this site is good for basically being a soccer TV guide, when they start analyzing and thinking they are the authority on broadcasting it becomes comical. I have heard Kartik call a match before when he worked for the glorified rec league, one of the worst things I have ever heard in my life. There love for ESPN is also bizarre, as much as they complained about Fox not advertising the bundesliga and not putting it on broadcast TV over much more lucrative properties but now they are giving credit to ESPN for puttting 8 instead of 4 on their networks and hiding the rest on ESPN +! Whoa! ground breaking stuff they are doing. Do you think ESPN will be advertising the Bundesliga on Monday Night Football or during the NBA finals? Nope yet you won’t hear that here. Chris basically just wants a copy of anything on UK TV yet he is here in the U.S.

      • David

        August 26, 2020 at 6:49 pm

        What a horrid, snide response. If you don’t like the tremendous work done by Chris, don’t look at the site, and certainly don’t waste our time reading your drivel .

      • Rich

        August 26, 2020 at 10:00 pm

        I guess we won’t be seeing you post here any more. Have a nice life!

  4. Ivan

    August 22, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Soccer on regular tv? That’s revolutionary and/or illegal, where is the outrage!

    How are these games not behind a super special online pay platform? Have they not heard that the future of soccer braodcasting is behind online paywall? What is this, 2005?

    Sarcasm…good to see football on “regular” tv…out of sight, out of mind…

  5. Mark S

    August 22, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    I’m not going to lie, part of me is sad that this is happening…because it means that the college football games that should be being broadcast won’t be being played. Oh well, I’ll take it.

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