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ESPN’s Euro 2020 commentators include Champion and Darke

ESPN’s presentation of this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship 2020 will feature some of the most accomplished and familiar voices in the sport, headlined by the announce teams of Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman, and Ian Darke paired with Stewart Robson. ESPN’s talented roster will also include a trio of other veteran broadcaster teams – Derek Rae and Efan Ekoku, Steve Cangialosi with Alejandro Moreno, and Mark Donaldson alongside Matteo Bonetti.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to televise all 51 matches – more than 140 hours – of EURO 2020. Delayed a year due to the COVID pandemic, the quadrennial tournament will be played June 11 – July 11 across 11 European cities.

“Many of the talented and popular voices who have made ESPN’s FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship presentations such a success the past decade will again be part of our EURO 2020 coverage this summer. We can’t wait to reunite with them and add some new voices to our team as well,” said ESPN coordinating producer Chris Alexopoulos. “The European Championship is one of global soccer’s most competitive and thrilling events, and the match commentators we have assembled will deliver a world-class presentation to fans in the U.S.”

Champion-Twellman

Champion and Twellman, who just kicked off their third Major League Soccer season together, will call their first major international tournament as partners during EURO 2020, beginning with the Italy vs. Turkey opening match to be played in Rome on Friday, June 11.

Champion previously called the 2014 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2016 for ESPN. Synonymous with English football around the world for 20 years, Champion was ESPN UK’s lead football announcer, covering the English Premier League, UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup Final from 2009-13. Two years ago, he moved to the United States to become ESPN’s lead play-by-play voice for MLS.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Euro 2020 games on US TV and streaming

Twellman, the former U.S. Men’s National Team player and Major League Soccer MVP, has been ESPN’s top soccer analyst for a decade. He has called matches and been part of studio coverage for every major event that has aired on ESPN ever since – the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the past two European Championships, including 2016 when he called the Final with Darke. In recent months, Twellman has called the FA Cup and League Cup Finals with Champion, as well as Bundesliga and German Cup matches with Rae.

Darke-Robson

Darke and Robson, who both live in the UK, will call games together – including a majority of the matches from London’s Wembley Stadium. Darke has been a leading soccer play-by-play voice for ESPN for more than a decade. He called the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, as well as EURO 2012 and 2016 – voicing the Final in three of those events. Darke has also provided the soundtrack for some of the most memorable calls in U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team history.

SEE MORE: ESPN networks and ABC to present all 51 Matches of Euro 2020

A 14-year professional who played for Arsenal, West Ham United and Coventry City in the English Premier League (1981-95), Robson has been a match analyst for major events on ESPN since 2013, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2016, where he worked with Champion.

Rae-Ekoku

EURO 2020 reunites Rae and Ekoku, who called select matches together for ESPN during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The lead voice for Bundesliga on ESPN networks, Rae is a veteran of nine FIFA World Cup tournaments (including 2010 and 2014 for ESPN), and the past three European Football Championships (2008, 2012 and 2016). Rae was also ESPN’s lead match voice for the UEFA Champions League from 2003-09. Based in the U.S. for ESPN for many years, Rae relocated to London where he was part of the on-air team for ESPN UK and then BT Sport before returning to the U.S. in 2017.

Ekoku, a former Nigerian National Team player who played professionally in England from 1989-2004, worked the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups for ESPN. The analyst on the 2010 World Cup Final – which won the Sports Emmy for Live Sports Special “Game of the Year,” Ekoku currently calls matches for Premier League Productions, in addition to his work on Champions League, Europa League, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga for BT Sport.

Cangialosi-Moreno

Cangialosi, the voice of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls on MSG Network, is working his first major tournament for ESPN. Since 2016, his ESPN assignments have included select MLS, Serie A and International Champions Cup matches.

READ MORE: European Championship beginner’s guide

Moreno, the former Venezuela National Team and Major League Soccer standout, has been a match and studio analyst for ESPN since 2013. A veteran of ESPN’s 2014 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2016 presentations, Moreno regularly calls Major League Soccer and other matches in addition to appearing on the daily soccer news, information and highlights program ESPN FC on ESPN+.

Donaldson-Bonetti

Donaldson and Bonetti have worked together as ESPN’s Serie A match team the past three seasons. Donaldson will be calling his second straight European Championship after debuting in 2016. A versatile play-by-play voice, he has called a variety of soccer events, as well as golf and tennis, since joining ESPN in 2010.

Bonetti, an ESPN soccer analyst since 2018, is covering his first major tournament for ESPN. A leading voice on Italian soccer, he is a regular studio analyst for ESPN FC on ESPN+ in addition to his match commentary.

UEFA EURO 2020

The UEFA European Football Championship is arguably the most prestigious and competitive international soccer tournament in the world. A field of 24 national teams – 22 of which are currently ranked in the top 50 FIFA World Rankings (April 7, 2021) – have advanced to the championship based on qualifying the past two years for the month-long quadrennial event. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first championship in 1960, UEFA EURO 2020 matches will be played in 11 cities across Europe – Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, St. Petersburg and Seville.

MORE: Univision announces Euro 2020 TV schedule and plans for Spanish-language coverage

ESPN has been the U.S. home of the UEFA European Football Championship since 2008. Spain (2008 and 2012) and Portugal (2016) have been crowned champions in the past tournaments on ESPN and ABC. The EURO 2020 field also features the last four FIFA World Cup champions – Italy (2006), Spain (2010), Germany (2014) and France (2018).

 

Here’s the Euro 2020 TV schedule (all times Eastern):

Euro 2020 TV schedule

 

 

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43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Tony

    June 29, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    Finally getting used to no sound when Steve Gangialosi calls a game …….. Have to turn it off . This is Football (Soccer) not Hockey ….. Please , Please , Please do not give the next English Premier League TV rights in the US to ESPN.

  2. Felix Lustig

    June 29, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    What’s Moreno’s obsession with his grandmother? Poor woman with such grandkid.

  3. Lee Gaucher

    June 23, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t mind Moreno at all. The difference between him and Twellman is that he’s not presenting himself as a know-it-all football expert. His reactions and commentary are quite funny sometimes — especially with his Spanish accent. Having said that, I’m not willing to put up with his partner just to hear him.

  4. Eric T

    June 23, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    I’d take Moreno over Twellman any day of the week

  5. Petrus

    June 23, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Yup, Twellman and Moreno now neck and neck for the worst in show category.
    I don’t think he knows a whole lot about soccer; I DO know he is not a doctor. His comment that Danilo “should not have been allowed to continue” after the Lloris collision shows how dense he can sound. Does anyone believe Taylor knew better than the medical staff that surrounded and treated Danilo? He did a disservice to those who attended to Danilo.
    Please ESPN, remove him from commentary.

  6. Felix Lustig

    June 20, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Hey @Moreno, why don’t you just shut your unqualified cakehole?!?!

  7. Richard S

    June 20, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    All you have to do is put the US version on the big screen,, turn volume to zero and put the Alt. version on a device and sync to a bluetooth and then sync the two broadcasts if you are not watching live!

  8. Mario Lagana

    June 20, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Please don’t announce updates on other daily games as some people are recording those games to watch later. Thank you.

  9. Graeme Clark

    June 20, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Taylor Twellmen is the worst color commentator of all time. He instincts on wasting airtime talking some long winded spousal support of some esoteric tactics or explanations of what is going to happen of what going on in the game I’m watching. His liberal use on buzz phrases such as “one v one”, “going forward”, “fifty fifty ball”, etc etc. As an expat who has lived in US for 60 years I realize US audiences may require a more basic understanding about what the tactics of us the game. Unfortunately Taylor does not provide that. He is the prime example of the stereotype of really bad Americans commentator covering soccer.

  10. Leo

    June 19, 2021 at 10:55 am

    I am not sure if they mentioned but ESPN+ alternative feed now has 4 views in the screen. The normal one (FINALLY), the aerial crap view, and two more focused on players. Kudos to ESPN+.

  11. ForTheLoveOfTheGame

    June 18, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    Please! I beg of you. Take @Moreno off any programs. He is ridiculous.

  12. Jim

    June 17, 2021 at 3:29 am

    @Jasinho not only does Ian Darke’s voice bring back good memories but he still calls a great game!

  13. Eddie

    June 16, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Alejandro Moreno makes me want to punch myself over and over and over and over … the amount of utter nonsense that comes out of that mans mouth… dude, its ok to STFU sometimes and just enjoy the game… no need to talk random crap just to fill the air.. today as an example bringing up italian greats, Del Piero, Vierri, Baggio and “calling them out” because they had not scored alot of goals in EURO competition .. when you yourself play 50 damn games for Venezuela and scored 3 goals in ALL COMPETITIONS… like i said … sometimes … STFU

  14. Jon

    June 16, 2021 at 12:56 am

    David Marshall about 40 yards from his goal and is chipped by Schick (beautifully). David Prutton: “the keeper is right where he needs to be. I can’t fault him at all”. Prutton really does talk some absolute rubbish.

  15. David

    June 15, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Champion and Darke are my two favorite commentators; both are economical with words and both allow the video to breathe. Fortunately there is no place on ESPN for Arlo White who ruins every important EPL game with the opposite approach.

  16. Eric T

    June 15, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Correction: It was Mark Donaldson that made the comment about Finland-Denmark, not Cangialosi.

  17. Eric T

    June 15, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    @rajvosa Agreed. Derek Rae just keeps getting better and better with age.

  18. rajvosa

    June 15, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Let’s check for some positive things of ESPN coverage. I’m watching Hungary vs Portugal and Derek Rae and Efan Ekoku are more than decent as play by play and commentator. Ekoku has knowledge and right timing, with the simple and clear comments. Obviously, Derek Rae has talent and skills to correctly pronounce last names. We know that from his outstanding presentation of Bundesliga. Today, he has earned an extra credit not just for (again!) making deference between Spanish and Portuguese pronunciation of similar names but for making difference between Hungarian players #9 Szalai and #20 Sallai.

  19. Azer

    June 15, 2021 at 9:10 am

    @Christopher Harris – UEFA has selected the IBC to be in Amsterdam for EURO 2020 rather than London. Ian Darke and Stewart Robson are calling the England games from Wembley. I wonder about the rest of the games? Do have they a special studio for them at Wembley to broadcast the other games they’re assigned to? Where did they call the Poland vs Slovakia game from?

  20. Lee Gaucher

    June 14, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    How did Steve Cangialosi get that gig? He doesn’t belong in that group. I find his voice and style beyond annoying. Thankfully, I can switch to the Spanish broadcast when he’s on.

  21. Petrus

    June 14, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    yes, martin tyler!

  22. Eric T

    June 14, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    I think ESPN’s commentators have done well so far, especially Derek Rae. Only complaint is with Twellman and the comment Cangialosi made about Finland-Denmark. Other than that, it’s been pretty solid.

  23. Ra

    June 14, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Any ideas on how to get the world feed audio in the US? Both ESPN and Fox are doing a disservice with their narrators and commentary.

  24. Charles Bobis

    June 14, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    I may be showing my age, but I really wish Martin Tyler was doing commentary on this tourney.

  25. Serg

    June 14, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Don’t know what is happening with Euro 2020 commentators, one of them from the UK with a strong northern accent is a proper wokester. All he talks about is lockdowns, covid, racial injustice. I am watching Span vs Sweden Euro 2020 now and for at least a few minutes the talk was about vaccination. These people should join BBC or Sky news with such propagda skills, nothing to do with football and truly appalling.

  26. Paul Robinson

    June 13, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Until yesterday I had no real idea who Stephen A Smith was and a little bit of him goes a long way.

    So grateful for the ‘world feed’ in Canada for the premier league and tournaments like this. Good commentary without the homership that can occur with ‘local’ commentators. Here in Canada we got a late addition on our basic cable sports channel of Copa America and it sounds as though it is Fox commentators :(:(

  27. ForTheLoveOfTheGame

    June 13, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    who in the world would allow Moreno to speak in public and even pay for it? un’f’n’believable!

  28. Petrus

    June 13, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Moreno is so bad, I sometimes prefer Twellman. Both should be relegated to the studio…IF they have to be on TV at all.

  29. Trevor B

    June 12, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Twellman drives me crazy, he’s so bad. Moreno isn’t much better. I’m hoping the other teams are better so I don’t have to watch every game on mute.

  30. Jake A.

    May 22, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    No Steve McManaman?

  31. Aaron Q.

    May 20, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Cangialosi is also the play-by-play for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils on MSG as well.

  32. Azer

    May 20, 2021 at 12:20 am

    I will watch & listen to the world feed. I’ve done the same for the 2018 World Cup & the 2019 Women’s World Cup. I didn’t put up with the garbage from Fox Sports. Derek Rae, Jon Champion & Ian Darke are fine, the rest of them not so much.

  33. Chris Guardiano

    May 19, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    @greg he works for Fox so he will be a part of Fox’s Gold Cup and Copa America coverage.

  34. Nosferatu

    May 19, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    It’s kind of crazy how I can like (most of) the play-by-play commentators ESPN employs so much, and then dislike almost every one of their analysts to the same degree. I’ve already written on here about my dislike for the obnoxiously overconfident Twellman, but I also find Moreno almost unlistenable. And Robson? Well, as an Arsenal fan, the fact that Robson has been banned from the Emirates and has been so unprofessionally critical of the club over the years says it all.

  35. greg

    May 19, 2021 at 11:01 am

    Let’s hope that Alexi Lalas won’t be included in the studio line-up.

  36. Eric T

    May 18, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    I think this is a pretty solid lineup. I know people don’t like Twellman and Moreno but they can be tolerable when they stay on track.

  37. Michal

    May 18, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Hate Twellman and Moreno. Always yelling at me, and to much in the “Stephen A Smith mold.”

  38. Edward

    May 18, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    with Bob Ley and Mike Tirico gone, they’re recognizable faces from the last major tournament are gone. Bet it’s some combo of the talent they use now and maybe Steve Bower reporting from London

  39. Harry Jones

    May 18, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Ian Darke & Stewart Robson have to call the final.

  40. JP

    May 18, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Why do they keep using Moreno on commentary? Must be one person they employ who’s better. Dwyer, not sure if that’s his name, has called matches before and probably one of their best.

    The continued use of Moreno has me fearing they will feature him on La Liga, he did commentary for the Copa Del Rey final. Awful.

  41. Edward

    May 18, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    assuming most (except for Darke/Ekoku) will call off the monitor in their homes?

    • Christopher Harris

      May 18, 2021 at 4:31 pm

      All of the commentators will call the games from ESPN HQ in Bristol, CT. Ian Darke and Stewart Robson will call games live from Wembley.

  42. Jasinho

    May 18, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Ian Darke! I miss you so much.

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