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World Cup marathon on ESPN2

ESPN, low key as usual, is kicking off its coverage of the 2010 World Cup with a 24-hour marathon of Cup-related programming on ESPN2 beginning at 10 a.m. today.

That should keep you occupied while I take another blogging break to write about the Cup coverage for the Friday newspaper.

Rather than boil down the Bristol Stompers' news release about today's festival of soccer stuff, I'll just post the whole darn thing for you. Enjoy. Here goes:

ESPN will kick off its month long coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 24-hour soccer-themed “Countdown to Kickoff” programming block on ESPN2 beginning Thursday, June 10 at 10 a.m. ET, and concluding Friday, June 11 at 10 a.m.

The “24-Hour Countdown to Kickoff” will lead into ESPN’s live presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening match – host nation South Africa vs. Mexico – Friday, June 11 at 9:30 a.m. from Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

“ESPN is committed to providing the most comprehensive 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage, and this collection of soccer-themed programs over a 24-hour span in advance of the opening match will help build the excitement for this historic event and give fans a glimpse of what to expect from South Africa during the month ahead,” said Scott Guglielmino, vice president, ESPN programming and acquisitions.

Six hours (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET) of daytime programming from South Africa – including three hours of live World Cup preview show (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and three hours of the “World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert” (2 – 5 p.m.) – will anchor the Countdown.

Additional programming will include the DC United at Seattle Sounders FC MLS Game of the Week (10 p.m.), the final match before Major League Soccer’s first in-season break for the FIFA World Cup.

Also, ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (simulcast on ESPN2, 6-10 a.m.) on June 11 will focus on South Africa 2010 with guests and tournament previews. Other highlights:

2010 FIFA World Cup Preview Special (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.):
Chris Fowler, Bob Ley and Mike Tirico will host a three-hour live preview of South Africa 2010 from ESPN’s studio location inside the International Broadcast Center (IBC) overlooking Soccer City in Johannesburg. The program will feature all of ESPN’s FIFA World Cup studio analysts: Shaun Bartlett, Ruud Gullit, Jürgen Klinsmann, Alexi Lalas and Roberto Martinez. Other elements:
Reports from ESPN correspondents covering team camps – Jeremy Schaap (U.S.), Darrell Currie (England), Andrew Orsatti (Australia), John Sutcliffe (Mexico), and Dan Williams (South Africa);
Human interest correspondent Sal Masekela and general assignment reporters Julie Foudy, Allen Hopkins and Rob Stone will offer features and their perspective on the tournament;
Comprehensive previews of all eight FIFA World Cup groups;
A look at South Africa and how the nation is addressing the challenges of hosting the World Cup.

2010 FIFA World Cup Team USA Preview Special (1-2 p.m.):
A one-hour preview focusing on the U.S. Men’s Soccer National Team, highlighting the squad’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities as the team enters its fifth straight FIFA World Cup. The live program will examine the chances for success in South Africa 2010 and preview the highly-anticipated opening round match against England. Additional highlights include player profiles and interviews, and a SportsCenter “Sunday Conversation” with Landon Donovan.

FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert (2-5 p.m.):
Sal Masekela, ESPN’s 2010 FIFA World Cup human interest reporter and co-host of The Daily 10 on E!, will host ESPN2’s presentation of the three-hour Kick-Off Celebration Concert in Soweto/Johannesburg, featuring Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Shakira and popular African artists, such as Angélique, Hugh Masekela, Juanes, K’Naan, Lira, and more. For more information, click here.

SportsNation – 2010 FIFA World Cup Special (5-6 p.m.):
The popular, interactive ESPN2 program co-hosted by Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle will feature a FIFA World Cup-themed special. During the show, the “World Cup Dunk Tank” will make its debut, the “Pop Culture” segment will be themed to World Cup, and there will be a special segment featuring Beadle and U.S. Men’s National Team striker Jozy Altidore.
Other highlights of the 24-hour Countdown to Kickoff:
Outside the Lines – Robben Island: A Greater Goal (6 p.m.): In this special OTL, Chris Connelly reports on how the political prisoners of Robben Island created a soccer league and learned how they could forge a free and peaceful South Africa, the country that is now on the eve of hosting the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. To preview the story, click here.
E:60 (6:30 p.m.): Jeremy Schaap offers an in-depth profile of U.S. Men’s National Team star and Fulham FC player Clint Dempsey, while Lisa Salters offers a heart-wrenching story about the Haiti U-17 Women’s National Team in the aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquake.
Homecoming with Rick Reilly: Landon Donovan (June 11: 2:30 a.m.): Before his third consecutive FIFA World Cup appearance, Landon Donovan returned to Redlands, Calif., April 19 as host Rick Reilly and more than 1,500 cheering fans packed the high school gym of the star of the U.S. National Team. The special includes interviews with Donovan’s mother (Donna), father (Tim), twin sister (Tristan) and older brother (Joshua). Others in attendance include Donovan’s former U.S. National Team and current L.A. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, current U.S. coach Bob Bradley, his former MLS coach Frank Yallop, and his U.S. U-17 National Team coach John Ellinger, who coached Donovan in the 1999 FIFA U-17 Youth Championship. Galaxy teammate Chris Klein also shares some of his favorite moments with Donovan.
The 2006 World Cup Film – The Grand Finale (June 11: 3:30 a.m.): Actor Pierce Brosnan narrates the key action from the quarterfinals through the title match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Highlights of the documentary include pre and post-match interviews with the players and never-before-seen footage.

The schedule:
Date Time Programming
Thur., 6/10 10 a.m. 2010 FIFA World Cup Preview
1 p.m. 2010 U.S. National Team Preview
2 p.m. 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert
5 p.m. SportsNation Presented by Toyota
6 p.m. Outside the Lines: Robben Island – A Greater Goal
6:30 p.m. E:60
7 p.m. Re-air – 2010 FIFA World Cup Preview
10 p.m. MLS Game of the Week (DC United at Seattle Sounders)
Fri., 6/11 12:30 a.m. Re-air – SportsNation Presented by Toyota
1:30 a.m. Re-air – 2010 U.S. National Team Preview
2:30 a.m. Homecoming with Rick Reilly: Landon Donovan
3:30 a.m. The 2006 World Cup Film – The Grand Finale
6 – 9:30 a.m. Mike and Mike in the Morning Presented by Progressive Insurance
9:30 – 10 a.m. SportsCenter

Tags: World Cup , ESPN2

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