the broadcasts

I began watching the English-language broadcasts on Fox, because they had the 4K. Their 4K picture wasn't much as a 4K, and the regular HD on Telemundo wasn't too bad, so I ended up spending almost the entire Cup watching in Spanish.

For the most part, I didn't catch enough of the Fox teams to make an evaluation. From what I did see, the team of Derek Rae and Aly Wagner was quite good. Probably the best thing about Fox was that no one sucked ... we've come a long way. I mostly skip in-studio pre-and-post-game shows, so I have no opinion there.

The lead team on Telemundo was the legend, Andrés Cantor, with Manuel Sol as analyst. They've worked together for a long time and have an easy feel. The other play-by-play announcers are Copán Álvarez, Jorge Calvo and Sammy Sadovnik. I'm a long-time fan of Sadovnik ("aroma de gol!"), Alvarez is solid, and Calvo didn't make enough of an impression on me to say much. Telemundo have had a variety of analysts ... they seemed to have three people in the booth for every match, and they tended to bring in at least one person who was from a country in the particular match. Cantor was ebullient whenever things went well for Argentina, but all of the commentators with a personal stake did little to hide their loyalties, and it was kinda fun, to be honest. The quality of the analysts was OK across the board, without anyone standing out too much. But I'd mention Natalia Astrain from Spain, the USWNT U-17 coach who has been interesting. Also, my daughter and her husband enjoyed Brazilian Mauro Silva ... they found his accent when speaking Spanish delightful.

No real surprises in any of this. Well, I wish the Fox 4K picture had been better, but then I wouldn't have spent most of my time enjoying Cantor and company.



Andres Cantor and Manuel Sol. They have been joined by others on occasion, but Sol is the regular partner of Cantor. Cantor has been at the top of his game ... nothing new there, you already know what you're getting. Sol has been OK at color commentary, but as I say every Cup, I can't really be trusted to evaluate the color folks, because my Spanish isn't quite good enough to trust. Cantor's best call so far was probably Marcos Rojo's game-winner against Nigeria (Cantor was born in Argentina):

 Sammy Sadovnik and Eduardo Biscayart. I'm a big fan of Sammy's, and he has had a fine tournament. There really isn't any drop in quality when Sadovnik takes over from Cantor.

Copán Álvarez and Viviana Vila/Claudio Borghi. I've seen them do a few matches, but they haven't made an impression one way or the other. Vila has been good ... both women commentators have been a pleasure.

There's also Horacio Elizondo, an ex-referee who comments on rules stuff and the like.


I only watched a few matches in English, and only saw the #3 team of Derek Rae and Aly Wagner. Rae has been doing soccer in the U.S. seemingly forever, and is a solid choice. Wagner has done quite well as color commentator.

The breakout star of the announcers has been someone I've only seen/heard on YouTube highlights. Jorge Perez-Navarro is familiar to Spanish-speaking listeners in the States for his work on MLS and Mexican League matches, but this is the first time I've heard him do English-language. What he's done in this Cup is bring the style of the Spanish announcing to English broadcasts. Not as easy as it sounds; even the great Cantor loses something in English. Perez-Navarro has been a delight.

soccer on u.s. tv

For an example of what soccer you can watch in the USA these days, check out this weekend listing from SBI Soccer: soccer on u.s. tv

Here's just the Saturday section:


7:30 a.m. — beIN Sports USA/beIN Sports en Español — Queens Park Rangers vs. Nottingham Forest

7:45 a.m. — NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra — Everton vs. Chelsea

9:30 a.m. — Fox Sports 2/Fox Soccer 2Go — Bayer Leverkusen vs. Darmstadt 98

9:30 a.m. — Fox Sports 1/Fox Soccer 2Go — Bayern Munich vs. Augsburg

9:30 a.m. — Fox Soccer 2Go — Hannover 96 vs. Borussia Dortumund

9:30 a.m. — Fox Soccer 2Go — Hertha Berlin vs. Stuttgart

9:30 a.m. — Fox Soccer 2Go — Ingolstadt vs. Wolfsburg

10 a.m. — USA Network/NBC Sports Live Extra — Arsenal vs. Stoke City

10 a.m. — NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra — Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City

10 a.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra — Watford vs. Swansea City

10 a.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra — West Brom vs. Southampton

10 a.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra — Norwich City vs. Bournemouth

10 a.m. — beIN Sports USA/beIN Sports en Español — Espanyol vs. Real Madrid

11 a.m. — beIN Sports Connect — Lyon vs. Lille

Noon — beIN Sports Connect — Fiorentina vs. Genoa

Noon — beIN Sports USA — Frosinone vs. Roma

12:15 p.m. — beIN Sports en Español — Sporting Gijón vs. Valencia

12:30 p.m. — NBC/NBC Sports Live Extra/Telemundo — Manchester United vs. Liverpool

12:30 p.m. — Fox Soccer 2Go — Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Cologne

2 p.m. — beIN Sports Connect — Lorient vs. Angers

2 p.m. — beIN Sports Connect — Montpellier vs. Saint-Étienne

2 p.m. — beIN Sports Connect — Toulouse vs. Stade de Reims

2:30 p.m. — beIN Sports USA/beIN Sports en Español — Atlético Madrid vs. Barcelona

3 p.m. — ESPN3/WatchESPN — Ottawa Fury vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

4 p.m. — beIN Sports en Español — Real Betis vs. Real Sociedad

6 p.m. — Univision/Univision Deportes — América vs. Tigres UANL

7 p.m. — MLS Live — Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew

7 p.m. — ESPN3/WatchESPN — New York Cosmos vs. Jacksonville Armada

7 p.m. — ESPN3 — Clemson vs. Notre Dame

8 p.m. — ESPN3/WatchESPN — Minnesota United vs. Carolina RailHawks

8 p.m. — Univision Deportes — Monterrey vs. Cruz Azul

8:30 p.m. — MLS Live — Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake

8:30 p.m. — Fox Sports Go/YES Network — FC Dallas vs. New York City FC

8:30 p.m. — ESPN3/WatchESPN — San Antonio Scorpions vs. Indy Eleven

9 p.m. — MLS Live — Colorado Rapids vs. D.C. United

10:30 p.m. — MLS Live — LA Galaxy vs. Montreal Impact

10:30 p.m. — MLS Live — San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders


Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing:


The #1 team for Fox has been J.P. Dellacamera on play-by-play, with Tony DiCicco and Cat Whitehill on color commentary. They make a solid team. J.P. has always been one of the best U.S. soccer play-by-play guys, and as the article notes, he's been around forever. DiCicco can get on my nerves, but his insights are often good, as are Whitehill's, and I like it when Cat says something and, instead of arguing for the sake of arguing, Tony will just say, "I agree with Cat".

The #2 team is Jenn Hildreth and Kyndra de St. Aubin. The most obvious thing about this team is that they are both women ... this is still unusual. They are both solid and seem to have good rapport.

I haven't listened to enough of the Spanish-language guys, but Andres Cantor and Sammy Sadovnik are always good, and Carlos Hermosillo gave me a few laughs when I heard him doing color.

And I don't usually watch pre-and-post-game shows.

I guess the most remarkable thing about the offerings is that there is nothing remarkable. We've reached a point in the U.S. when a major soccer tournament gets the kind of professional treatment it deserves, and we barely notice, because we're getting used to it.

checking in

Those of you who are reading, thanks! I'm getting 1-3 views per day :-).

Yesterday was my birthday, and we had dinner at Juan's Place, as is our custom. When I saw Eddie, who often works our table, I said, "Fútbol, fútbol, y más fútbol." He replied by saying there is too much. WWC, Copa América, U-21, U-20, MLS ... we used to complain there wasn't enough to watch, now there's more than we could possibly see.

I spent a lot of time with family for my birthday, and so, despite there being so much to watch, all I saw was a bit of Germany-Sweden and a bit more of the Earthquakes win over Seattle.

And it won't slow down tomorrow. I feel like I've done this more than once, but here is a sampling of what's on my TV tomorrow:

  • 2 MLS matches
  • 1 NWSL match
  • 3 WWC matches
  • 2 Copa América matches
  • 2 UEFA Euro U-21 matches
  • 1 Brazil Serie A league match

The matches that most interest me are the two Brazil matches (vs. Australia in the WWC, and vs. Venezuela in Copa América) and Canada-Switzerland in the WWC. I think Brazil and Canada will prevail for the women, but I don't know what a Neymar-less Brazil will accomplish in Copa América.

bye bye groups

Two-and-a-half weeks into the resurrection of this blog, and I'm still unsure what to do with it. In theory, it's me giving the Women's World Cup its due. I don't have the same obsessive attachment to this event that I do for the men, and the blog suffers. On the other hand, writing helps me think, so I'm spending more time on the WWC than I usually do. I even got a comment one day, from someone hoping I'd continue into the Gold Cup.

Of course, there's no need to wait that long ... Copa América is just one of many current tournaments grabbing my attention (Colombia's 1-0 over Brazil today was a feisty, entertaining affair, although James vs. Neymar didn't turn out to be quite the deal we had hoped ... Neymar got the worst of it, first with a yellow card that meant he'd miss the next match, and then an apparent red card after the match ... I'm writing this just minutes after the conclusion, and I'm not sure what happened yet.)

This blog demands a personal touch, because there are so many other places to get basic information and astute analysis. But I'm still thinking about Neymar.

The group stage ended today, and eight teams were eliminated: Ecuador, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Thailand. The knockout stage begins on Saturday with Germany-Sweden and China-Cameroon. The USA plays Colombia on Monday.

Meanwhile, tomorrow offers the following viewing possibilities:

  • 9:00 Italy-Sweden (Euro U-21)
  • 11:45 England-Portugal (Euro U-21)
  • 4:30 Peru-Venezuela (Copa América)

busy times

Obviously a lot going on, yesterday and today, and just as obviously, I'm behind. The Copa América isn't helping, nor is the U-20 World Cup or the Euro U-21s. There is a lot of soccer going on right now.

Here's the best example. If you enjoy watching Brazilian soccer, today gives you several opportunities. The women's team take on Costa Rica in the World Cup. The men's team go against Colombia in the Copa América. And the Brazil U-20s battle Uruguay in the U-20 World Cup.

That's three matches featuring versions of the Brazilian national team ... in one day.

But the main reason I'm behind over here is that that Warriors took over most of my sports energy the last week or so. I wrote about this on my main blog:

For Bernard King