Thanks to Timmy B on The506 forums for helping me out (he knows some guys) for the first couple of weeks of some of the Euro 2008 commentating pairs live from glorious BRISTOL, CT, off of a monitor…..:(

Saturday 6/07
11:50 a.m.- Switzerland vs. Czech Re
public A (ESPN Classic) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth

2:30 p.m.- Portugal vs. Turkey A (ESPN Classic) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Sunday 6/08
11:50 a.m.- Austria vs. Croatia B (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth
2:30 p.m.- Germany vs. Poland B (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Monday 6/09
11:50 a.m.- Romania vs. France C (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth
2:30 p.m.- Netherlands vs. Italy C (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Tuesday 6/10
11:50 a.m.- Spain vs. Russia D (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth

2:30 p.m.- Greece vs. Sweden D (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Wednesday 6/11
11:50 a.m.- Czech Republic vs. Portugal A (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth
2:30 p.m.- Switzerland vs. Turkey A (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Robbie Mustoe

Thursday 6/12
11:50 a.m.- Croatia vs. Germany B (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth
2:30 p.m.- Austria vs. Poland B (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Friday 6/13
11:50 a.m.- Italy vs. Romania C (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth
2:30 p.m.- Netherlands vs. France C (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Saturday 6/14
11:50 a.m.- Sweden vs. Spain D (ESPN2) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth
2:30 p.m.- Greece vs. Russia D (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray

Sunday 6/15
2:30 p.m.- Switzerland vs. Portugal A (ESPN2) – Adrian Healey and Andy Gray or Robbie Mustoe
2:30 p.m.- Turkey vs. Czech Republic A (ESPN) – Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth

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ESPN

Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth are confirmed to be the first commentating crew. They do a very good job of “off-tube” commentating from ABC Studios and player recognition, and most importantly, no filler nonsense (which has been ESPN’s biggest problem in every sport they cover). Rae is from Scotland, has a very good tone and he and Smyth seem to have intelligent banter, not the nonsense that ESPN gave us in World Cup 2006 with Marcelo Balboa.

The 2nd pair is Adrian Healey and Andy Gray or Robbie Mustoe. I don’t need an opinion, just a time to faint in shock that ESPN grabbed a great analyst like Gray.

International Feed

The international feed requires just one commentator….which makes me sad, because I think we could do without some analysts covering the NFL or the NBA in favor of one guy. Note that although TSN is like a sister station of ESPN in Canada, TSN grabs this feed for any international competition.

Tony Jones: Boring, dull, ditchwater dull, horrible voice, dull, boring, boring, dull, dreary. By the way, he is boring.

John Helm: This video describes him perfectly, Mr. Helm at his er…finest in 2006.

Dave Woods: Heard him for the first time watching the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Very good tone, good goal calling, mind doesn’t wander off into the woods (unlike the 2 folks I mentioned above) not the best commentator out there but he is miles ahead of Jones and Helm.

Steve Banyard: We’ve got a winner! Best young football (soccer) commentator out there! He tries really hard to get those player pronunciations correct, even designed a website for commentators as well. Lets the crowd get involved quite often, his goal calls usually go like “It’s Cristiano RONALDO!!!!!!!! STUNNING FREE KICK!”. Enthusiastic, articulates himself well, too bad Helm gets the final.

BBC

Admittedly I haven’t been to England but I’ve watched some games that have been broadcast via BBC feed. They have done a great job throughout, let’s see what happens this time…..please note the commentator pairings vary throughout.

Play By Play

John Motson (the man pictured at top of the post): This is his last tournament for the BBC before retirement. He is 62, considered to be one of the best commentators ever, has nearly a perfect voice, but recently he has just been horrible. Player recognition is bad, he messed up the goal call in the 2008 FA Cup Final, and I think the Beeb notices this, he has been used rarely on their famed Match of the Day (Premier League coverage) program.

Guy Mowbray: Have to say I’ve heard him once and he is primed to take over the #1 spot that is currently being held by Motty. He doesn’t work with a co-commentator that often so this is a big tournament for him to impress the boss.

Jonathan Pearce: Screechy, yelling, I think he used a Harry Potter reference a while ago and it was awful. Just not a good commentator and is not ready for big matches.

Steve Wilson: Haven’t heard of him, can’t put notes on that one. I’ve been watching World Cup highlights and two of them involved Lawro and Wilson. No screeching like Pearce and captures the excitement quite well. This is his chance to showcase his commentary skills to the boss to take over Motty’s #1 spot.

Co-Commentator

Mark Lawrenson: Useless. I think that’s why Motson has been so poor.

Gavin Peacock: Haven’t heard him at all.

Mark Bright: See Peacock.

It has been confirmed though that Motson and Lawrenson will call the final.

ITV

Well after England bombed, they lost about $20,000,000 because they were going to have joint coverage of the final with the BBC. Instead they will air evening highlights. There have been 3 confirmed commentators, analysts have not yet been mentioned.

Play By Play

Clive Tyldesley: One of the best. So what if he is biased towards Manchester United? If you want a sample of one of his most famous games, go here.

Peter Drury: Human dictionary, over the top, voice has a horrible screech….heard him call Premier League games and he drives me up the wall. He literally yells things at random and it makes me want to listen to nails on a chalkboard.

Jon Champion: ITV should be paying this guy to come back to ITV full time. Setanta Sports yanked him away to do Premier League games and now Champion only does UEFA Cup games and Championship (1 tier below Premiership) highlights. He was made for big matches, he is the commentator for Pro Evo Soccer 2008, I think he can become a #1 commentator for BBC or Setanta.

Analysts

David Pleat: Not often does a guy come around like Pleat. He is bar none the worst analyst as far as player pronunciation of even something simple as Nani (he called him Nano). Really adds nothing to the game and with his usual “I think the grass is very green today Clive” inane babbling, ITV should haul him out of there.

Jim Beglin: Gets a lot of good reviews I hear….

Oceania Feed

Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Martin Tyler: ….LEGEND! That’s all I have to say about him, fantastic commentator, raises his voice when he needs to, actually played for the University of East Anglia so he should know the game very well. Great for him to work on yet another tournament to add to his wonderful achievements.

A big match right here in Seattle as the Brazilians faced Canada in a friendly. Why this wasn’t televised locally or nationally in the US is beyond me, but for those who showed up they were treated to a great match. Although Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Ronaldo were not there, the Brazilians fought off the pesky Canadians for a 3-2 win at Qwest Field.

It was probably unfair to Dale Mitchell’s side after Julian De Guzman’s worst backpass ever, leading to the winning goal. While Brazil is having a tour so to speak, Canada really needs some offense as they head into World Cup qualification. Here are the highlights from ESPN Deportes….

The defending World Cup champion Italian side just lost center-half and former FIFA World Player of the Year, Fabio Cannavaro for Euro 2008 after an ankle injury suffered in training. Via Sky Sports:

Cannavaro suffered the injury after a training ground collision with team-mate Giorgio Chiellini on Monday.

The influential centre-half lay on the turf for 20 minutes before being carried away on a stretcher and taken to hospital.

The Italian medical staff had been hopeful that Cannavaro’s injury was not serious, but scans have shown up ankle ligament damage.

He will now be forced to sit out the upcoming European Championship, with the length of his absence yet to be determined.

Though the Italian Football Federation has yet to confirm Cannavaro’s absence, the 34-year-old told reporters: “I’m going home.”

This is a crucial blow for Italy, who open their group play on June 9th. Add Cannavaro to the list of notable players like Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky that won’t be in Austria/Switzerland.

Out

Unsurprisingly Sven has been sacked and is the 11th Premier League manager casualty now. Manchester City will try for manager #3, as Eriksson’s tenure lasts just 1 season. His accomplishments included a season sweep of Manchester United, but after a 3rd place position heading into 2008, it all collapsed and they fell 8-1 on the final day to Boro and dropped to 9th. The sacking was likely not warranted considering there were minor relegation fears, but I’m quite sure he did not meet expectations of the owner and will be job searching again.

Roberto Mancini was sacked by Inter Milan recently. The interesting thing is that he just won another Serie A title, but he had plans to quit anyway before changing his mind the following day. It did not matter, he left anyway, which leads me to…..

In

Well we may be seeing a swap in the future shall we?

Canada has to find a way to get into the CONCACAF Champions League, and the Canadian Soccer Association has found it! It’s the inaugural Nutrilite Canadian Champions League that will for now feature 3 teams (Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps) that play home and away games and the top 2 in standings will play each other in a home and away stand to see who qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League.

The wonderful CBC has the rights to all the games and they broadcast the first game last night in Montreal. Toronto FC edged the Impact 1-0 on a Marco Velez goal (except to Nigel Reed, the usually good commentator said Carlos Velez). It was a great day for TFC, as they shook off that horrible 3-2 loss to DC United, and won another game on the road. Oh yes, it also helps when Montreal was down to 10 men. Here is the goal with Nigel Reed and Jason DeVos on the call.

I think this was a warranted sacking. He basically took over what Mourinho started and couldn’t win, and that upset some people who head the club. What’s even worse is that unless they had a 3 point lead in the final week of play they would’ve lost it to Bolton anyway. Just 8 months, he did what he could, but when it came down to the last step, he couldn’t finish.

The rule I guess for Chelski Chelsea is:

Runner up in Carling Cup + runner up in FA Community Shield + runner up in Premier League + runner up in Champions League + humiliation against Barnsley =

BYE BYE AVRAM!!!!!!!!!