The Confederations Cup is the warm-up event to the World Cup. Featuring the continental champions from around the globe, the event is played in the host country for the World Cup and played a year prior to the biggest sporting event in the world. This year, the Confed Cup takes place in Brazil and in continuing their excellent commitment to world soccer, ESPN will cover all the games. Here's some highlights from ESPN's coverage plans...
2013 Confederations Cup
Participants: Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Nigeria, Uruguay, Japan, Tahiti
Dates: June 15-30
-Ian Darke and EPL commentator Stewart Robson will be ESPN's top broadcast team for the event, calling the opening match between Brazil and Japan on June 15th and the final. Taylor Twellman will not be on ESPN's Confederations Cup coverage and instead will be focusing on USMNT and National Team duty. Darke will call games Saturday and Sunday for the Confederations Cup (presumably from a studio in Bristol), then travel to Salt Lake City for the US World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday June 18th, then be back on Confed Cup duty Thursday June 20th.
-Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno are the second announce team and will focus on Mexico's matches throughout the tournament and others. The third announce team consists of Adrian Healey and Kasey Keller.
-Bob Ley once again leads the ESPN studio coverage with his WCQ partners Alexi Lalas and Kasey Keller as well as EPL on ESPN analyst Steve McManaman. Brazilian soccer journalist Rubens Pozzi and former Mexican national team star Jose Antonio Noriega are also part of the studio. Finally, new Everton manager Roberto Martinez returns to work for ESPN where he shined brightly during the 2010 World Cup. Aside from Darke, Martinez was perhaps my favorite new addition during the tournament and it's great to see him back working with ESPN again. ESPN will provide half hour pregame shows throughout the tournament.
While not quite the effort we'll see a year from nwo, this depth of coverage from ESPN for the 2013 Confederations Cup is a very encouraging sign we'll see the best of the network once again when it comes time for the big show next year.