On a day that must surely be bringing smiles to faces in Bristol and beyond, ESPN
announced the addition of five analysts to its upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup
John Harkes and Alexi Lalas-currently soccer analysts for
the network-will be traveling to South Africa for the tourney in
June, along with former World Cup players Ruud Gullit, Steve McManaman, Efan
Ekoku and former Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez.
The announcement comes the same day as the World Cup Draw, which
saw the U.S. pull England as its opening matchup-the first time the two
will face off in World Cup play since 1950. The U.S.
will also face Slovenia and Algeria in the first round, teams that give the U.S. a
good chance of advancing in the tournament.
McManaman, Gullit and Ekoku currently serve as television
commentators in England.
Martinez will return to Wigan
after completing his coverage with ESPN.
"Ruud, Steve, Efan, John and Alexi will bring fans the
first-hand experience they all have from being part of the most popular - and,
arguably the most competitive - sporting event in the world, while Roberto will
offer a tactician's insight," said Jed Drake, ESPN senior VP and executive
producer for event production, announcing the additions. "Their in-depth
knowledge of the game and post-career roles as television commentators and
manager will help elevate our coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup across ESPN's