SoccerWorld Cup

ESPN’s World Cup commentators recall special WC moments in their careers


Earlier today, ESPN announced the team of six commentators who will describe match action for all 64 games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil this summer.

The team is led by Ian Darke. Others include Jon Champion, Adrian Healey, Daniel Mann, Fernando Palomo and Derek Rae.

Front Row caught up with the game-callers and each shared their best moment working a World Cup match.

Jon Champion
Jon Champion (ESPN)

Champion: My biggest World Cup memory stems from 1998 and the knockout game in St. Etienne between England and Argentina – England striker Michael Owen’s wonder goal and a young David Beckham’s red card. I was BBC TV’s commentator that night, and I don’t expect to ever call a more dramatic game.

Ian Darke  (Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
Ian Darke
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)

Darke: As a commentator, calling Landon Donovan’s 93rd minute winner for USA over Algeria to keep them in the World Cup in 2010 was special and career-changing. The moment was a gift for any commentator, so I hope I did it justice.

Adrian Healey  (Kyle Rivas / ESPN Images)
Adrian Healey
(Kyle Rivas / ESPN Images)

Healey: For sheer drama, probably the 2006 World Cup group stage game between Australia and Croatia. The Aussies needed a draw to progress, and got a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw.

Daniel Mann
Daniel Mann

Mann: South Africa 2010 was my first World Cup as a broadcaster and having the privilege of describing all of the matches at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium is one I will cherish forever. In particular, the outpouring of emotion after Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening goal for South Africa in the opening game against Mexico will stay with me for a long time.

Fernando Palomo
Fernando Palomo
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

Palomo: At Soccer City before the final match – Spain vs. Netherlands – of the 2010 World Cup, Nelson Mandela was being paraded around the pitch. Being outside, I could really feel the energy coming from inside the stadium as the fans and just about everyone erupted with joy upon seeing him. It suddenly hit me that I was in the presence of a special human being.

Derek Rae
Derek Rae
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

Rae: Commentating from Turin on Claudio Caniggia’s winner for Argentina in 1990 against Brazil in the knockout stages. It was my first World Cup as a commentator. Brazil destroyed Argentina in that game. Yet, Argentina held on to win 1-0.

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