ESPN’s Coverage of the World Cup Draw Friday, Dec. 1

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ESPN’s Coverage of the World Cup Draw Friday, Dec. 1

Post-Draw Show on ESPN2, ESPN Digital Platforms; Multiplatform Coverage on ESPN Deportes

ESPN will provide comprehensive news and information coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw across its media platforms Friday, Dec. 1, highlighted by seven straight hours of live programming on ESPN Deportes beginning at 9 a.m. ET with a three-hour ESPN Rusia during the Draw. English-language coverage will include live SportsCenter segments on the World Cup Draw, and a one-hour, post-Draw ESPN FC special on ESPN2 at 12 p.m.

ESPN’s World Cup Draw commentator team from studios in Bristol, Miami and Mexico City includes five former international soccer players – Craig Burley, Herculez Gomez, Mario Kempes, Ricardo Peláez and Jared Borgetti – with a combined 33 World Cup match appearances and one title winner, Mario Kempes (Argentina, 1978). Highlights:

  • ESPN Rusia (ESPN Deportes, 9 a.m.): a three-hour World Cup Draw special from ESPN’s Miami studios, hosted by Hernán Pereyra and featuring Jorge Ramos, Rafa Ramos, Carolina de la Salas, Ricardo Mayorga, José del Valle and with contributions from Kempes from studio in Bristol.
  • ESPN FC (ESPN2, 12 p.m.): Dan Thomas, Alejandro Moreno, Craig Burley, Stewart Robson and Gabriele Marcotti will host live from ESPN studio in Bristol, Conn., with contributions from Ian Darke (London), Taylor Twellman (Seattle), Herculez Gomez (Los Angeles), and the show’s Europe-based correspondents Raf Honigstein, Julien Laurens and Sid Lowe. The one-hour program will review of the World Cup Draw, discuss the groupings and key matchups, immediately following the conclusion of the live Draw from Moscow, Russia.
  • Throughout the day,, the leading global platform for soccer news and information, will feature a team of reporters in Moscow covering the event – Nick Ames; Joao Castello Branco, Gustavo Hofman and Gregory Telingater (Brazil); Alejandro de la Rosa (Mexico); Pablo Ferreira (Argentina); and Tito Puccetti (Colombia).
  • Extensive Spanish-language coverage from a team of writers, correspondents and on-air commentators – up-to-the-minute updates on the Draw, in-depth analysis of the Mexican National Team by ESPN Deportes pundits, comprehensive look at the biggest rivals, and more.
  • Immediately after the draw, will release Soccer Power Index (SPI) projections for each group, along with each team’s chances to win the World Cup. SPI is a predictive algorithm that has consistently outperformed the FIFA rankings at prognosticating major tournaments and international matches.
  • SportsCenter (ESPN Deportes, noon – 2 p.m.): ESPN Deportes’ leading soccer experts José Ramón Fernandez, David Faitelson, Rafa Puente and former Mexican National Team assistant coach Mario Carillo, joined by former Mexican National Team players Ricardo Peláez, Jared Borgetti, Francisco Gabriel de Anda and Roberto Gómez Junco, recap the Draw from ESPN’s Mexico City studios. ESPN Deportes reporters Adalberto Franco and Jorge Pietrasanta will report from Russia.
  • Fútbol Picante (ESPN, Deportes, 3 p.m.): A special World Cup Draw edition of the leading Spanish-language soccer studio show will feature Ramón Fernandez, Faitelson, Peláez, Borgetti and Gómez Junco.

World Cup Draw Coverage on ESPN Digital Platforms

Leading up to the Draw,’s global newsroom serving U.S. domestic and international fans will feature extensive content that will launch its comprehensive coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in English, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages. Coverage will be driven by ESPN global editorial teams in Africa, U.S., England, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Asia. Highlights:

Pre-Draw Content:

  • Gabriele Marcotti on what to look for at the draw – dream matchups, Iceland and the minnows, death of the “Group of Death”, will England draw Brazil, and more;
  • Live blogging as the teams are drawn;
  • Nick Ames in Moscow on the vibe, local color, and festivities in the city surrounding the Draw;
  • Noah Davis shares reasons U.S. soccer fans should care about the 2018 World Cup, even without a team in the competition;
  • Simon Kuper on why World Cup tournaments are so difficult to predict;
  • Best/worst draw scenarios for England, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, Mexico (video);
  • A World Cup draw primer who your favorite team could get (video);
  • Picking Africa’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Dream Team from players on the five teams;
  • Projecting which of Africa’s five teams have the best chance of reaching the semifinals?
  • Why the World Cup will sorely miss Italy; Mexico’s dream Draw; and Tom Marshall on questions facing El Tri – Mexican National Team;
  • Argentina awaits its fate;
  • Ranking World Cup groups of death – the all-time toughest group of death.

Post-Draw Content:

  • Marcotti shares the biggest talking points from the Draw, and more;
  • Group predictions: Key matchups, predicting the finals, polls, individual battles, X-Factor, and more
  • ESPN Mexico – Spotlight on El Tri: Mexico after the Draw, their way forward, and how far can they go?
  • ESPN Argentina – Best matchups in the first round; will Europe dominate the World Cup again? and more;
  • ESPN Brazil – Spotlight on the Selecao: Brazil after the Draw, and how far can they go? Updated Group of Death ranking; and more;
  • KweséESPN – Colin Udoh on Nigeria’s draw and how far the Eagles can make it in Russia.

World Cup Draw:

The Draw will place the 32 teams which have qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup (see below) into eight groups of four teams.  The teams in each group play three matches in a round-robin phase with the top two teams from each group advancing to the round of 16 single-elimination phase. The Draw will take place at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Friday, Dec. 1., from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET.

  • Leading up to the Draw, the FIFA executive committee places one of the teams in Pot 1 as the FIFA World Cup Finals’ top seed in each group (including the host team).
  • No two teams from the same zone or confederation – except teams from the European Zone (UEFA) – can be placed in the same group.

POTS – The 32 World Cup teams are divided into four pots

Pot 1: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France

Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia

Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran

Pot 4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia

Group A Group B Group C Group D
1. 1. 1. 1.
2. 2. 2. 2.
3. 3. 3. 3.
4. 4. 4. 4.
Group E Group F Group G Group H
1. 1. 1. 1.
2. 2. 2. 2.
3. 3. 3. 3.
4. 4. 4. 4.


National Teams qualified for the 2018 World Cup (designated tri-codes):

  • African Zone: Egypt (EGY), Morocco (MAR), Nigeria (NGA), Senegal (SEN), Tunisia (TUN)
  • Asian Zone: Australia (AUS), Iran (IRN), Japan (JPN), Saudi Arabia (KSA), South Korea (KOR)
  • European Zone: Belgium (BEL), Croatia (CRO), Denmark (DEN), England (ENG), France (FRA), Germany (GER), Iceland (ISL), Poland (POL), Portugal (POR), Host – Russia (RUS), Serbia (SRB), Spain (ESP), Sweden (SWE), Switzerland (SUI)
  • North, Central American and Caribbean Zone: Costa Rica (CRC), Mexico (MEX), Panama (PAN)
  • South American Zone: Argentina (ARG), Brazil (BRA), Colombia (COL), Peru (PER), Uruguay (URU)

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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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