By Paul Kennedy and Ridge Mahoney
Ian Darkeand Stewart Robson will lead ESPN's coverage of the 2013 Confederations Cup that kicks off Saturday in Brazil with the host country playing Japan.
Among the games Darke and Robson will do are the opening and title matches. Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno will call Mexican national team matches, while Adrian Healey and Kasey Keller will work other games.
Bob Leywill anchor all Confederations Cup studio programs – pre-game, halftime, post-game and in-between match shows. He'll be joined by a rotating group of analysts that includes Alexi Lalas, Steve McManaman, Roberto Martinez, Jose Antonio Noriega, Rubens Pozziand Keller.
ESPN’s coverage of the Confederations Cup will include 30-minute pre-game shows leading into the first match each day (except on June 17 and 20) and 45-minute programs in-between doubleheader matches.
Confederations Cup, Group Stage:
Saturday, June 15
Brazil vs. Japan, 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Sunday, June 16
Mexico vs. Italy 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Spain vs. Uruguay 6 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Monday, June 17
Tahiti vs. Nigeria 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Wednesday, June 19
Brazil vs. Mexico 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Italy vs. Japan 6 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Thursday, June 20
Spain vs. Tahiti 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Nigeria vs. Uruguay 6 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Saturday, June 22
Japan vs. Mexico 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Italy vs. Brazil 3 p.m. ET ESPNEWS
Sunday, June 23
Nigeria vs. Spain 3 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN
Uruguay vs. Tahiti 3 p.m. ET ESPN2/WatchESPN
CLASSIC CONFEDERATIONS CUP.ESPN Classic will air on Friday all U.S. national team games for the 2009 Confederations Cup, where it finished second.
Coverage will include USA-Egypt (noon ET), USA-Spain (2 pm ET) and the USA-Brazil final (4 pm ET).
After losing its first two group games against Italy and Brazil, the USA went into its last game against Egypt needing a big win and lots of help to have any chance of advancing. A 3-0 victory over Egypt and Brazil’s defeat of Italy by the same score edged the Americans into the semifinals on goal difference.
Spain was riding a 35-match unbeaten streak heading into the match, yet the Americans parlayed goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey plus some stout defending to prevail, 2-0. In the final goals by Dempsey and Landon Donovanstaked the Americans to a 2-0 lead but Brazil rallied to win, 3-2.
Dempsey finished tied for second in scoring with three goals, and keeper Tim Howard won the adidas Golden Glove award. The second-place finish is the highest ever attained by a U.S. men’s team in a major FIFA tournament.
BUD MAN OF THE MATCH IS BACK.Long-time FIFA sponsor Budweiser is re-launching “FIFA Man of Match, presented by Budweiser” for the Confederations Cup that kicks off Saturday.
While some companies are waiting until next year’s World Cup to activate their sponsorships, Budweiser is getting going early with its new Man of the Match programming, which will also be featured during the World Cup.
Budweiser has expanded the voting platforms so fans will now be able to cast their vote through iOS and Android mobile apps, on the Budweiser Facebook pages and by tweeting the winner (hashtag #FIFA[three-letter country code][player jersey number] at @FIFAcom. Voting begins at the start of the second half and closes at the end of each match.
Camilo Durana, global director of Budweiser Sports and Entertainment, says the goal "to make participation more accessible than ever before. By introducing new voting platforms, we hope that more football fans across the globe will have a chance to get closer to the game they love.”
BEIN SPORT MATCHES MAKE TWITTER TOP 10.BeIN SPORT posted three programs in the top 10 -- including the Argentina-Colombia World Cup qualifier in the No. 1 spot -- in SocialGuide’s Twitter TV rankings of television programming for June 7.
The Jamaica-USA qualifier ranked fifth and Bolivia-Venezuela match ninth.
SocialGuide captures and analyzes conversations for all U.S. TV programs across 238 channels.
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