ESPN has an impressive armada of commentators to choose from when it comes to their selections for knockout round announcing assignments. Coming into the tournament, we knew Ian Darke was going to announce the World Cup Final and USA/England games… and that was pretty much it. Throughout the World Cup, the depth of great announcers that ESPN has assembled has been one of the hallmarks of their coverage. And I know the debate rages on about the need for “American voices” to call soccer games, but isn’t all we should want the best? Whether they sound British, American, Latin, or anything in between? The best is exactly what ESPN has produced for the 2014 World Cup, and it’s what should be emulated when Fox takes the baton for the women’s tournament next year.
Below are the announcing assignments for the quarterfinal games on Friday and Saturday. It’s interesting to note that Jon Champion and Stewart Robson are one of the few broadcast teams that have consistently been paired together throughout the tournament. My guess would be they’ve earned the right to call one of the semifinal games alongside Darke and whoever his partner will be. For the Final, it’ll likely be Darke and either USMNT partner Taylor Twellman or former EPL partner Steve McManaman. For what it’s worth, McManaman gets the call for the QF round while Twellman will likely be in the studio.
Champion, Darke, and Twellman have probably been the three match commentators that have stood out the most for me during this tournament, but really, you can’t go wrong with anyone from this lineup calling the final stages of the tournament.
Friday, July 4th
France vs Germany (11:30 AM ET, ESPN2) – Jon Champion, Stewart Robson
Brazil vs Colombia (3:30 PM ET, ESPN) – Ian Darke, Steve McManaman
Saturday, July 5th
Argentina vs Belgium (11:30 AM ET, ABC) – Derek Rae, Kasey Keller
Netherlands vs Costa Rica (3:30 PM ET, ESPN) – Adrian Healey, Alejandro Moreno