ESPN’s Pre-UEFA EURO 2012 Programming Update


ESPN’s Pre-UEFA EURO 2012 Programming Update

SportsCenter Presents UEFA EURO 2012 Previews

Beginning today through the beginning of the UEFA European Football Championship 2012 on Friday, June 8, ESPN will air special UEFA EURO 2012 previews featuring Ian Darke, the lead English-language play-by-play commentator, and analysts Steve McManaman (match) and Alexi Lalas (studio) on daily editions of SportsCenter.  The series will debut tonight on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter.  The previews will include segments on each group, teams and players to watch, key group stage matches and storylines.  Highlights (topics are subject to change):

  •  Group A – Which teams among Poland, Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic have the best chance of advancing?
  • Group B – The “group of death” with four teams (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal) in the top-10 FIFA World Rankings
  • Group C – A preview of the group’s games featuring powerhouse teams Spain and Italy, as well as Croatia and the Republic of Ireland
  • Group D – England and France performed below expectations in their last major tournament (FIFA World Cup 2010). How will both teams fare in a group with co-host Ukraine and Sweden?
  • Top Team Storylines:  Segments will preview storylines for three teams – England’s chances without Frank Lampard; Will Germany regain its title-winning tradition after finishing runner-up in UEFA EURO 2008 and losing in the semifinals at FIFA World Cup 2006 and 2010?; Is EURO 2008 and 2010 FIFA World Cup champion Spain primed for a sweep of three titles in three straight top-tier tournaments?
  • Key Opening Round Matchups – In separate segments, the panel reviews each of the three key matchups between historic rivals and top teams in the world:  France vs. England (June 11), Netherlands vs. Germany (June 13), and Spain vs. Italy (June 10);
  • Cinderella – the panelists pick their respective Cinderella teams in the competition;
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – Arguably one of the most exciting players in the soccer, will Ronaldo take Portugal on a historic run
  • Predictions – Darke, Lalas and McManaman make their game picks;
  • Players to Watch – a look at key players to watch, including some relatively under-the-radar players expected to emerge as stars of the tournament.

Outside the Lines Presents “Defiance: The Story of FC Start”
Leading up to ESPN’s unprecedented coverage of the UEFA EURO 2012, Outside the Lines will air the story of FC Start, a defiant team in the Soviet Republic of Ukraine during World War II against Nazi regime, on ESPN, Sunday, June 3, at 9 a.m. ET

This summer marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most significant, yet relatively unknown soccer matches.  During World War II, a group of soccer players living in occupied Kiev used the game they loved to show their fellow countrymen what was still possible when all else seemed lost.  Living under Nazi rule in the summer of 1942, several members of Dynamo Kiev — the best soccer club in the Soviet Republic of Ukraine — were simply struggling to stay alive. Recruited to play in a soccer league that was part of Germany’s plan to “normalize” life in the city, the players named their new club FC Start (Football Club Start). Shortly after the team’s formation, it began one of the most unlikely runs of success in soccer history, inspiring the city but ultimately costing players their lives.  VIDEO PREVIEW.

  •  “They inspired people, made them feel as if there was a kind of resistance. It was no small thing.” – Yevgeniya Korotkikh, daughter of Nikolai Korotkikh, FC Start player
  • “With each passing match (FC Start) become more famous around town, and fans in the bleachers start shouting, ‘Down with the Germans!’’’ – Vladlen Putistin, son of Mikhail Putistin, FC Start player
  • “It is simply about a team standing for all that’s good about human virtue, and a team making an enormous sacrifice… they show what sport can be, at its best.” Andy Dougan, sports historian and author of Dynamo

ESPN Classic to Air Classic Matches from Past UEFA European Football Championships

In the four days (June 4-7) leading up to kickoff of UEFA EURO 2012, ESPN Classic will air more than 35 hours of programming featuring memorable matches from the 1996 and 2008 tournaments.  The ESPN Classic presentation will begin Monday, June 4, at 10:30 a.m. with the UEFA EURO 2008 quarterfinal match between Portugal and Germany, and conclude Thursday, June 7, at 3 p.m. with the 2008 final between Germany and Spain.  The schedule:

Date Time (ET) Matchup
Mon, June 4 10:30 a.m. Portugal vs. Germany (Quarterfinal 2008)
12:30 p.m. Croatia vs. Turkey (Quarterfinal 2008)
3 p.m. Germany vs. Turkey (Semifinal 2008)
5 p.m. Germany vs. Spain (Final 2008)
Tue, June 5 9:30 a.m. Germany vs. Croatia (Quarterfinal 1996)
11:30 a.m. France vs. Czech Republic (Semifinal 1996)
2 p.m. Germany vs. England (Semifinal 1996)
6:30 p.m. Czech Republic vs. Germany (Final 1996
Wed, June 6 10:30 a.m. Croatia vs. Turkey (Quarterfinal 2008)
1 p.m. Spain vs. Italy (Quarterfinal 2008)
3 p.m. Russia vs. Netherlands (Quarterfinal 2008)
5 p.m. Portugal vs. Germany (Quarterfinal 2008)
Thu, June 7 9 a.m. Turkey vs. Czech Republic (Group Stage 2008)
11 a.m. Russia vs. Spain (Semifinal 2008)
1 p.m. Germany vs. Turkey (Semifinal 2008)
3 p.m. Germany vs. Spain (Final 2008)

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Mac Nwulu

I joined ESPN in 1998 and since then, it's been a great experience managing PR and communications for a range of ESPN initiatives and properties over the years. I am currently focused on soccer and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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