In a press release sent out within the past hour, ESPN has detailed it’s plans for World Cup 2010 coverage.The most refreshing piece of news is that all coverage will be provided on air from South Africa. Bob Ley who was ESPN and ABC’s lead US National Team play by play announcer for many years returns to studio duty for this World Cup and Chris Fowler of College Gameday fame joins the team.

While on the whole a major upgrade over the coverage for World Cup 2006, the dropping of Rece Davis who has been the studio host for the last three major International Football Tournaments on ESPN or ABC in favor of Mike Tirico is a bitter pill to swallow for a true football fans. Tirico is a professional having done a credible job on ABC’s Golf Coverage when he replaced Roger Twibell years ago in addition to his work on American team sports. But Davis is also a consumate professional and has demonstrated his quality on air with his work in previous major football tournaments.

ESPN will show all 64 matches of the tournament live and in HD oneither ABC, ESPN or ESPN 2.

Here are ESPN’s Coverage Plans:

* SportsCenter at the FIFA World Cup;
* World Cup Live – the daily, 30-minute news, highlights and analysis program (30 episodes) aired each night of the tournament on ESPN or ESPN2;
* Live 30-minute pre-match, halftime (15 min.) and post-match shows on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2;
* World Cup segments on ESPNEWS, First Take on ESPN2, and Outside the Lines.
Also from the ESPN Press Release:

In the United States, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to present high definition coverage of all 64 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa June 11 – July 11, 2010. Beyond its English-language exclusive coverage in the U.S., ESPN Inc. is a World Cup rights-holder in Brazil (ESPN Brazil) and in the ESPN Star Sports (ESS) territories of India, Pakistan, The Maldives, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Middle East.