ESPN has been building for the 2014 World Cup, saying that this will be the biggest and best event they have ever put on. They earned plaudits for their work four years ago, presenting a tremendous tournament, but they maintain that this year's effort will blow away what they did in South Africa.
But while the studio shows, documentaries and everything else that they are doing to accompany the tournament may very well be great, the key to presenting a great World Cup is making sure that they matches are presented well. ESPN is confident they will do that, bringing in some very well regarded voices to accompany those that they use year-round, and giving them a chance to put on that incredible broadcast event they are aiming for.
ESPN is sticking with Ian Darke as their lead play-by-play man, and he will call all of the United States matches with Taylor Twellman. He will also call all of the England matches with Steve McManaman and will call the final.
The other announcers are Fernando Palomo, Jon Champion, Adrian Healey, Derek Rae and Daniel Mann, while Efan Ekoku, Kasey Keller, Roberto Martinez, Alejandro Moreno and Stewart Robson join Twellman and McManaman as analysts.
As for U.S.-specific coverage, Jeremy Schaap will be with the team throughout the tournament and providing reports from training and anything else that goes on.
ESPN has not announced who will call matches for the entire tournament, besides the pairings for U.S. and England matches, as well as Darke on the final, but they have released their pairings for the first week. They are as follows (all times ET):
Australia vs. Netherlands, 11:30 am - Champion, Robson
Spain vs. Chile, 2:30 pm - Darke, McManaman
Cameroon vs. Croatia, 5:30 pm - Rae, Keller
Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, 11:30 am - Healey, Moreno
Uruguay vs. England, 2:30 pm - Darke, McManaman
Japan vs. Greece, 5:30 pm - Mann, Ekoku