While the refereeing has been nothing short of awful, and the play from some of the soccer power nations has been mediocre (England) poor (Italy) and absolutely disgraceful (the pathetic French), one thing I'm happy about is that we have English announcers to listen to. It was a listless experience in 2006 listening to U.S. announcers who knew little about the game, and I give kudos to ESPN for not trying the usual suspects and instead hiring the English pros. While I thought Martin Tyler was too subdued during U.S. v. England, I thought Ian Darke was terrific in our game vs. Algeria, and watching the other games has been a pleasure for me. I don't know if it's the accent, the vocabulary, the fact that I am a regular Premier League watcher, the knowledge of the game, or likely all of the above, but for me, listening to the English announcing these games just seems right.
OT: I World Cup thing I like: English announcers
ESPN got it right, not only with the announcers, but perfect timing with giving shots of the crowd's emotions. I am not an avid soccer fan, but I have enjoyed this WC thus far. US being competitive has helped, but I've been watching other games as well.
Probably run by well-versed producers who have been doing Football in the Premier League for years.
is a legend.
That is all.
but I've actually liked Darke more. If i had to equate him with an American announcer it would be Sean McDonough. He obviously knows the game and isn't afraid to share his opinion. He toes the line between getting excited and the right time and being too excitable almost flawlessly. Also, and this obviously doesnt apply only to him, the different way they use the language (talking about a "plot" between Donovan and I think Bradley on a free kick) is interesting to me.
I really like Derek Rae as well. The vocabulary is key, they use words like "magical," "wondrous" and similar words that we don't really use much. I think the wider vocabulary and better phrasing adds to the atmosphere.
They get that it is a big deal without trying to explain why to an American audience.
Just a shame they couldn't get Jimmy Hill a day-pass to leave his leather bar/retirement home for the broadcast so we could all sing him a pretty little song.
Some other words I've heard during WC games: nefarious, industrious, speculative, optimistic. Compare that to the generic meathead FOOTBAW announcers that we are stuck with week in and week out in the fall.
That was a great line during the US/Slovenia game, almost comical, "A plot has been hatched!" I felt like it was the right humor for the moment because Donovan and Torres were clearly up to something.
Darke has been fantastic. I was never a huge fan of his before the tournament, but I think he's been great for the American audience by chaning his style a bit but avoiding condesencion. I love the way he still mentions lower league clubs players have played for like thier household names over here,
Martin Tyler is a legend, but hasn't been as impressive as usual, maybe he's over compensating for the American audience, but I imagine as we get to the later rounds I'll be enjoying him and McCoist more and more.
It's too bad I think the American announcers suck, especially in comparison to their British counterparts.
Harkes had a great career and was one of the pioneers for American soccer. I just don't enjoy listening to him during the matches. I almost feel like he puts on a weird accent or that most of his comments almost sound like questions.
Fox Soccer started this by just pumping in the Sky feed and it is a great call by ESPN to bring in some of the best in the business for the World Cup. Definitely beats having Musburger or someone like that doing the call. Even Harkes doesn't make me want to saw my ears off like the rest of his USMNT co-horts in broadcasting.
Of course, Derek Rae and Super Ally are better than the English poofs you listed. Just a shame they couldn't hire Andy Gray as well.
Don't forget the Scotsman Ally McCoist.
Not too bad when he was on the park, either.
I was afraid they were going to replace the original English announcers with Oprah again... thus is Life
Commentary has been nothing short of tremendous, I think. I don't know whether it's the word usage typical of soccer ("that attempt was crazily optimistic"), the tell-it-like-it-is honesty ("a criminal defensive effort by Denmark"), the accents (especially McCoist's), the Britishisms ("the defending champs are in a spot of bother here") or just the fact that the commentators, unlike in, say, NFL football, don't feel a need to laugh loudly and patronizingly at each other's jokes and make the story all about themselves. Very refreshing to hear quality announcing, though. ESPN's football announcers could take a lesson or eight.
These announcers actually believe their audience is capable of understanding language beyond a third-grade level. It's a refreshing change.
It's as if he's trying to emulate his co-announcers, but because he's not as articulate as they are it comes off poorly. He doesn't speak in anything close to complete sentences, just halting phrases with terrible structure (nouns coming long after they're due). I can't stand how frequently he uses the words pace, unlucky, and opportunity, or the way he says "to the," which sounds more like tih-da. But hey, he's probably the best ex-American player/commentator we've got.
Do we know if these announcers are even at the games? They only seem to comment about things that are currently being shown on the screen, including fan shots, which makes me think they may be sitting somewhere watching the game on a monitor like the rest of us.
Actually, in a Bill Simmons chat recently, he mentioned that, until the Round of 16, I believe the ESPN radio calls were being done from Bristol via the FIFA feed. You won't find this on ESPN's site touting their coverage, obviously. However, everyone is there in the knockout round for both tv and radio.
I just tried to find it in the chat wrap, but I couldn't seem to find it.
.... is how willing they are to bash those who richly deserve it. If someone is playing poorly, they'll call him out.
Please just have someone not with the last name of Lalas
I have been watching Univision channels. I can't understand much other than the occasional "pelota malo" but I have to believe that it is company policy not to go more than 10 minutes without showing an impossibly attractive, scantily clad woman.
That and Donovan's goal got three "gooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllll" calls for a 40 second total.