Month: June 2018

Alexi Camera Lens

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Sunday Afternoon, June 24

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Stories:

This Afternoon’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas says Colombia showed their potential tonight:

“This is a team that is feeling it now after tonight. We actually saw what Colombia can be, everyone stepping up, James, Falcao – what a wonderful moment for him to get that goal. So, I’m on the Colombian wagon now.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf said Colombia’s Falcao finally had a great performance: 

“Falcao, we were waiting for his goal. He was one of the big strikers missing in this tournament still to get his goal. He got it. Great performance from the team – James, Falcao, they gave that extra. I loved the Colombia team today. Poor Poland.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden felt Colombia delivered a much better match against Poland than their first match:

“I was worried about them after that first game. I know they went down a man early, but the way in which they responded – this team is as gifted, and as technical, and talented as a lot of others out there. They are strong at the back. Good performance from Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez, two relatively inexperienced players at the international level, but they looked like a complete team tonight.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden on Juan Cuadrado’s goal: WATCH

“This pass from James Rodriguez is filthy. Filth of the highest order. Just look: he bends it into the path of Cuadrado. I mean that is just ridiculous. And still the composure here. To finish this off for his eighth international goal. Cuadrado has been a menace on the right side. He’s been running up and down, defending, and then, he too, gets his reward. So cool and calm, much like Falcao.”

Holden on Radamel Falcao’s goal for Colombia in the second half: WATCH

“A deserved reward for Radamel Falcao. He’s been excellent this game. Selfless running, in and out, finding a little half gap. And what about this pass? It comes in from Quintero. Delicious. Look at this. First time. He takes this one. The run from Falcao to stay on side. And then he has the composure. You’ve seen him do it so many times in his career. In these spots, the first touch sets it up in front of his body. On the outside of the boot, cool, calm, collected. There was never a doubt. What a finish! Another excellent pass from Quintero. He’s been the orchestrator in the middle of the park tonight. Another example of vision and execution, and a finish of the highest order from Radamel Falcao. Enjoy it.”

FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer John Strong and Holden call Colombia’s first goal against Poland: 

Strong: “Yerry Mina sending the Kazan Arena into raptures!”

Holden: “The set piece was on and how many reverse passes have we seen from Quintero? Another lovely one. You can see when he cuts it back, Poland trying to squeeze up. Then James Rodriguez just sets it up with a delightful little cross. Get up there, big man, attack it! Yerry Mina smashes it home. Powerful header. Nothing Szczesny can do about it.”

Lalas assesses Japan after the team’s 2-2 draw with Senegal:

“This is not a great Japanese team, but I think this is a team that recognizes that mistakes are going to be made … but their heads don’t go down, and they find a way to come back.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Moises Munoz added on Japan:

“They kept on fighting, kept on pushing forward, and they got their reward by tying this game. That puts them in a great spot to move on.”

Lalas says Senegal has to feel good about its chances to advance out of the Group Stage:

“I think that they’re flying right now. I think that they’re confident. I think that they came into this tournament with something to prove.

“They have gotten here and they have just continued on with what they are doing. They have proven that they not only deserve to be here, but this is a team that should be feeling confident that they are going to go through.”

Prior to Japan vs. Senegal, former Dutch player and coach Clarence Seedorf praises Senegal coach Aliou Cissé:

“I think we like diversity. It’s good to have an African, black coach doing what he’s doing and being successful. I wish them more success. Especially from his side, jumping from playing to coaching and then coming to a World Cup, performing properly.”

Seedorf says, for Senegal, M’Baye Niang is to Sadio Mane what Philippe Coutinho is to Neymar for Brazil:

“I see Niang as the Coutinho of Senegal. All eyes on Mane, and he will do his thing. I think they’re going to be a great combination.”

FOX Sports game analyst Warren Barton on Japan’s response to tie the match, 2-2:

“That’s what Japan have – they’ve got experience in these key moments of games. They didn’t revert from what they do best – keep the ball, retain it in midfield.”

Barton on Senegal’s second goal:

“There was confusion; there was movement; there were bodies. Senegal do what they do best – they put you under pressure.

“The reason they get so much love is the way that they play. They’re not a team that sits back, defends, trying to grind out results. When they go forward, they go forward with pace, energy, enthusiasm.”

Barton on Japan’s equalizer:

“There’s a pass with a purpose.

“All you do is just wrap your foot around that and hit that into the side netting … Nothing the goalkeeper can do – good movement; good awareness.”

Lalas adds that Senegal’s attack can be lethal:

“Up top, Mane, Niang and Sarr, these are three players that can put the fear of God into you at certain points, and they’ve got to do that on a consistent basis.”

Former England international Kelly Smith on her first impressions of Senegal:

“They’ve surprised me a little bit. You can just see the team spirit and chemistry with the dancing – I want to be a part of that.

“They’ve really come out strong.”

Lalas says Senegal is a team people enjoy watching:

“No stress for this Senegal team. You want to sing with them; you want to dance with them; you want to party with them; but ultimately, you want to watch this team.”

Seedorf says England and Belgium are in a good position, personnel-wise, heading into the final match of the Group Stage:

“It’s quite ideal for both coaches. They can rotate, put players in that they may need further ahead in the tournament, to get some rhythm. Because when you’re out for weeks and not playing, it’s not easy, when you have the call from the team, to perform. It’s an opportunity for those who have had less minutes to come in and do their thing.”

Munoz adds:

“They’re both through, so this is not going to be the game you wanted to see as a third game between these two nations – Belgium and England – two teams that have been doing great in this tournament, but they need to face bigger opponents.”

Lalas congratulates Panama on its first World Cup and first World Cup goal:

“The power of the World Cup – sometimes the scores don’t matter. The opportunity to be on the world’s stage, to show who you are as a culture and as a country … Wonderful celebration, wonderful to see. Congratulations to Panama for making it to the World Cup. Congratulations on a historic first goal. Just a wonderful, wonderful scene.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 9:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX and FS1)
  • 10:00 AM – Uruguay vs. Russia (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 10:00 AM – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt (FS1 / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
  • 12:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 2:00 PM – Iran vs. Portugal (FOX / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 2:00 PM – Spain vs. Morocco (FS1 / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP MATCH DAY – 1 (FS1)
FOX Sports 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Broadcast Team

FOX Scores Most-Watched Non-U.S. Men’s Group Match on English-Language Television in Last 28 Years

Dramatic Germany-Sweden Match Leads FOX Sports to Most-Watched 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Day to Date
Germany’s Win Peaks at 6,736,000 Million Viewers on FOX

NEW YORK & MOSCOW – FOX Sports recorded its most-watched FIFA World Cup™ day to date for the 2018 tournament, with three Saturday matches averaging nearly four million viewers (3,875,000). Leading the day, the dramatic Germany-Sweden Group Stage match won by Germany, on a stunning stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos, scored 5,397,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research. Including streaming, the match drew 5,636,000 viewers.

Peaking at 6,736,000 viewers, the German victory was the most-watched non-U.S. Men’s World Cup Group Stage match on English-language television since at least 1990.

Match viewership was up +108% from the 2014 World Cup Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches (2,592,000) and up +189% from the 2010 World Cup Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches (1,868,000).

In addition, Germany-Sweden was the most-watched English-Language soccer telecast since the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final™ on FOX (22,317,000 on FOX alone for the full telecast).

In other matches Saturday, Mexico beat Korea Republic, 2-1, delivering 4,646,000 viewers across FOX Sports platforms (4,433,000 on linear television), the second-most-watched match of this year’s tournament on FOX or FS1. Belgium routed Tunisia 5-2 in the early morning match of the day, delivering an average of 1,951,000 viewers, making it the most-watched early morning match of the 2018 tournament to date.

Through Match Day 10, World Cup viewership across FOX and FS1 is averaging 2,125,000 viewers:

  • +14% from the 2010 Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches (1,868,000)
  • +2% from the average of the last four World Cups through Match Day 10, excluding U.S. matches (2,084,000)
  • +25% from the complete Group Stage average of the last four World Cups, excluding U.S. matches (1,704,000)

FOX Sports Saturday digital highlights include:

  • The Germany-Sweden match was the top-performing streaming match of the day, with an average minute audience of 239,000 and 689,000 unique streamers
  • Through Day 10, FOX Sports has delivered 906 million total minutes of streaming content (matches, shoulder programming and VOD)
  • Saturday was the second-best day of the tournament for Snap, with 10.4 million Publisher Story views; 90.5 million total story views through Day 10
NASCAR on FOX Logo

FOX NASCAR Bestows ‘The Byrnsie Award’ on Jimmie Johnson After Nearly Unanimous Vote

Award in Honor of Steve Byrnes Given to Seven-Time Champion on Sunday’s NASCAR RACEDAY on FS1

Mike Joy: ‘Jimmie’s drive to succeed and positive attitude so reminded us of qualities we most admired in Steve [Byrnes] and made Jimmie a nearly unanimous choice’

FOX NASCAR presented seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson with the fourth-annual “The Byrnsie Award” during Sunday’s NASCAR RACEDAY pre-race telecast from Sonoma Raceway on FS1.

In honor of late FOX NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes, whose nickname was ‘Byrnsie,’ the award was established to celebrate an individual in the MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES who embodies principles Byrnes demonstrated daily in his personal and professional life — preparation, teamwork and family within the garage area. Johnson was voted the recipient by Byrnes’ colleagues on the FOX NASCAR broadcast team, of which he was a member since the first race broadcast in February 2001. Byrnes passed away in April 2015 following a courageous battle with cancer.

“Growing up, many race fans now in their late teens wanted to be Jimmie Johnson, and Jimmie has been a great role model for them,” FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy said. “This year, Jimmie’s character really shone through for his legions of fans, and for those who vote for The Byrnsie.”

Johnson is the first driver to be honored with Byrnes’ namesake award, which historically has gone to a crew member. Crew chief Rodney Childers won the inaugural award in 2015, spotter Chris Osborne in 2016 and crew chief Tony Gibson in 2017.

“While his team may sometimes struggle to post good finishes, Jimmie’s outlook, his demeanor, and his relationships with FOX and other NASCAR media remain very positive,” FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy said. “That’s a behavior we look for in awarding ‘The Byrnsie.’ If Steve Byrnes was having a bad day, no one watching at home ever knew it. This year, Jimmie’s drive to succeed and positive attitude so reminded us of qualities we most admired in Steve and made Jimmie a nearly unanimous choice for this award.”

Byrnes’ son, Bryson Byrnes, introduced the award on-camera from the NASCAR RACE HUB studios in Charlotte, N.C.

While FOX NASCAR’s 2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race coverage concludes this weekend, live coverage of the entire NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES schedule continues through the end of the season. During the week, FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB, NASCAR’s most-watched daily news and information program, continues throughout the season Mondays through Thursdays at 6:00 PM ET.

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Sports Logo

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Sunday Morning, June 24

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

  •  England def. Panama, 6-1 (WATCH: 90 in 90: England vs. Panama)
  • NOW – Japan vs. Senegal (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Poland vs. Colombia (FOX)
  • 7:00 PM – WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)

ICYMI Saturday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT

This Morning’s Top Tweet:

This Morning’s Top Quotes:

Former England international Ian Wright praises England’s performance:

“That was a fantastic performance because of the way we started. We had to get on the front foot, simply because we had to take any impetus away from Panama, which they could have gained.”

Former England women’s international Kelly Smith adds:

“It was a good performance. Now they can relax, they’re through. Gareth Southgate can change it up and give other players experience coming into the World Cup. It’s just a really pleasing performance. Yes, people on Twitter are bashing the English side, saying they haven’t really played anyone yet, but you can only play what’s in front of you. What can you do? You come up against Panama and you put six past them. Some teams might struggle to do that, but England didn’t.”

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas agrees:

“If this is the new England, then I’m on board. This is a team you want to watch; this is a team that scores goals; this is a team that’s ruthless.”

Lalas adds that a weak performance from Panama has to hurt the U.S. Men’s National Team and its fans:

“There are a lot of U.S. Men’s National Team fans and the U.S. Men’s National Team that are watching this, and this is painful. This should hurt, and this should hurt badly that this is a team that earned their spot here, but went instead of the United States. This should be a pain that doesn’t go away. Use it to remind you. Use it to fuel you and make sure that from a U.S. Men’s National Team perspective, you’re never in this position again, having to watch something like this.”

FOX Sports lead studio host Rob Stone says Panama is a better team than they showed today:

“We’ve seen better from the Canalmen. This was not indicative of who they are and where they’re going. But England on the day was absolutely flying.”

Play-by-play announcer Derek Rae and analyst Aly Wagner on Harry Kane earning a hat trick off a deflection: WATCH

Rae: “It will go down as a Harry Kane hat trick … Not that he knew a tremendous amount about it. He’s not going to be complaining.”

Wagner: “Cristiano Ronaldo put some pressure on him in the Golden Boot early on, not that he’d be thinking much about that. Well, he’s answering.”

Wright on England’s commanding first half:

“England have been very inventive. People have said it’s only Panama, but at the same time, you’ve got to beat who’s in front of you.”

Wagner says that despite tempered expectations, England fans are having fun watching this team:

“All the expectations for England were kind of put to rest by Gareth Southgate with this young squad saying, don’t expect too much from us. I think they’re enjoying the performances that are being put together by this young team.”

Wagner says Kane is showing no ill effects from an injury suffered with Tottenham:

“To think about how worried everyone was when Kane went down with that ankle injury with Tottenham late in the season. Didn’t seem to come back to form right away, but he kept on scoring, and he looks sharp as ever.”

Smith on England’s Harry Kane:

“He always finds himself in the right place at the right time. This is an instinctive player. You can’t teach this. He just understands where the ball’s going. He’s always on the move. You can’t teach this. You have to fine-tune it in practice.

“It lifts you up when you know you’ve got Harry Kane on your team.”

Lalas adds:

“Some people smell money. Some people smell fear. Harry Kane smells goals.”

Wagner says players want to play in matches, even when the team is already assured of going through:

“As a player, you want to play in those matches. Yes, you may be fatigued, but you end up doing the work anyways. You end up doing that difficult fitness or training on match days if you don’t get time, so you want to be in that lineup.”

Lalas on the English media leaking an image of what may have been England’s lineup:

“I think Gareth Southgate has handled this perfectly, because he has painted him and his team as the victim. It’s naïve and disingenuous for a coach and a team in an open training not to expect the reporters that are there to report on what they see.

“If a leaked 11 for England is what is going to derail this team against a team like Panama, then maybe this isn’t the new England team that we think it is.”

Smith says the media was in the wrong:

“Gareth Southgate has put an olive branch out to the media and tried to bring them in and build a rapport and a relationship, and I just feel like they’ve thrown it back in his face. I think it’s disgusting.”

Wright didn’t have a problem with Germany’s actions toward Sweden’s bench at the end of yesterday’s match:

“In their apology, they said it’s not their style. I think it just shows what a World Cup means.

“Of course, emotions are running high … I haven’t got a problem with them laughing in their face. I was disappointed with the way Sweden played. I thought they could have played a lot better. They showed that they could have attacked Germany. They didn’t do it.”

Smith disagrees and calls it disrespectful:

“It’s a little bit disrespectful. Go celebrate with your own team. It wasn’t even the players doing that – it was the coaching staff, so they must have been going at it that we didn’t see on camera time and time again. I think it’s really disrespectful. You go and celebrate with your staff, with your players on the pitch.”

Smith has been impressed with England’s determination early in the World Cup, looking back to the team’s first match vs. Tunisia:

“What really impressed me is that they got that goal so late. England teams in the past probably would have been happy to settle for a draw. But they had that mental strength, that determination to push and push and push.”

Lalas on the dysfunction in Argentina’s team:

“Traditionally, we make fun of the French for the dysfunction of the French, and Argentina said, ‘Hold my beer.’

“This is the most dysfunctional team I have seen in a long time, on and off the field, and yet they have an opportunity to go through to the next round, which blows my mind.”

This Morning’s Top Video:

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 9:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX and FS1)
  • 10:00 AM – Uruguay vs. Russia (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 10:00 AM – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt (FS1 / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
  • 12:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 2:00 PM – Iran vs. Portugal (FOX / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 2:00 PM – Spain vs. Morocco (FS1 / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Stu Holden and John Strong

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Saturday Afternoon, June 23

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf, on Germany staying alive after their win today:

“Don’t write them off, we’ve said it before. I thought they played a great game. They had some individual mistakes that they paid for. But in the beginning, they should have scored like two goals. They started very well. They played to the sides, created the chances, put it in the box and in the end, what a fantastic finish.”

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas on Germany’s performance in defeating Sweden: 

“This is classic Germany. A desperate Germany from start to finish. They went for the three points. At one point, they were playing basically one player in the back. This is such a classic display of the mentality of Germany – to go for it, to find that at the end. There won’t be any crying. This is what they are. This is what they do.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith on Germany’s changes at halftime leading to the victory:

“I don’t know what was put in those water bottles at halftime because it put a load of injection into their game. It was a different team that came out in the second half from the first half. I thought they played extremely well down the wing, especially Kimmich and Werner – when he got himself with the ball in the box, he caused so much trouble down the left-hand side. I thought Gomez lifted the team when he came on after halftime. That talisman, that tall, feeder up front. It was a fantastic performance. Never write this team off. The pressure was on them, but they finally delivered.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden on Germany’s match-winning goal over Sweden:

 Don’t count them out yet! Relief for Germany. This is why, when you’re so close to the edge of the box right here, you try to move it and you just smack it. You hit it as hard as Toni Kroos does to the back of the post. There are so many bodies in front of the goal keeper Olsen, he doesn’t see it until late. That is an absolute peach of a strike from Kroos. Look at the bend, the whip and how it dips into the back corner. The star-man from Real Madrid showing up when they need him. It was bend, don’t break here for Sweden, and they break here in the last minute. An exquisite strike.”

Holden breaks down Germany’s first goal:  WATCH

“Timo Werner takes on Lustig one against one and uses his speed to create a half yard. To get this cross off. He’s playing in these wide positions because Gomez is playing centrally. It’s a really clever cutback and it’s the touch from Gomez that takes it up. Marco Reus does really well to adjust here just to get anything on it, and it looks like it came off the knee in the end.

“That goal has given them life. They are just piling forward with relentless pressure now.”

FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer John Strong and Holden on Sweden’s first goal: WATCH

Strong: “Sweden scores! Ola Toivonen! Three-quarters German possession, almost 200 more passes through 30 minutes, but it’s Sweden who have taken the lead, and as it stands, Germany are out of the World Cup!”

Holden: “Take a look at where this play starts, John, right in the middle of the field. Toni Kroos, trying to make a pass, they lose the ball, and Sweden pounced. And what a counter attack it is! They get the ball wide and look at the run now off the shoulder of Toi Kroos. He doesn’t get back defensively. The first touch sets Toivonen up. How about the finish? That is classy!”

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FS1)
  • 8:00 AM – England vs. Panama (FS1 / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 11:00 AM – Japan vs. Senegal (FOX / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Poland vs. Colombia (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Rob Stone, Moisés Muñoz, Guus Hiddink and Alexi Lalas at 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Studio in Moscow’s Red Square

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Saturday, June 23

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

  •  Belgium def. Tunisia, 5-2 (WATCH: 90 in 90: Belgium vs. Tunisia)
  • Mexico def. Korea Republic, 2-1
  • NOW: Germany vs. Sweden (FOX)
  • 4:15 PM – NOSSA CHAPE (FOX)
  • 7:00 PM – WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 11:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)

ICYMI Friday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT

Today’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas expects Germany to play tough today:

“I think the worst thing that could have happened for Sweden and for South Korea is Mexico beating Germany. You poke that bear and things can happen. I think that Germany’s looking to make a statement today. That whole German mystique and that innate characteristic of confidence and efficiency and ruthlessness, that’s got to be in full effect today

“It’s not a panic – it’s, all right, we are Germany, and tonight we show why we are the defending champions.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith agrees:

“Germany are a tournament team. They win when it matters. They don’t panic.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden, who is on the call for Germany vs. Sweden, agrees:

“I’m not ready to write this German team off yet, and I think they are going to have a commanding performance today.”

Former Mexican National Team goalkeeper Moises Munoz is pleased with Mexico’s performance:

“This is what they needed to do. They did not lift that foot off the gas pedal. They were patient enough, had possession of the ball throughout the entire game, they knew when to counter-attack.”

Lalas says this Mexico team is fun to watch:

“This was another wonderful performance. I know there are a lot of U.S. Men’s National Team supporters out there that want nothing to do with this Mexican National Team, but I’ll tell you what – they are making it difficult to dislike this team. With the way that they are playing, with the individual talent that they are showing, with the results that they are getting – the style in which they go out – this is an exciting team to watch.”

FOX Sports game analyst Mariano Trujillo says that the entire Mexico team deserves Man of the Match honors:

“The team will be the Man of the Match, because they have worked so hard defensively; focused and sharp the whole game.”

Trujillo breaks down Chicharito’s second-half goal: 

“Korea throwing numbers up front, Javier Hernandez showing his experience. Not panicking in front of goal. Probably not the cleanest finish, but it counts the same.

“Credit to Chucky Lozano … This goal is 60 percent Chucky Lozano, because he takes his time, he is patient enough to take the space in front of him … and at the right time he serves the ball for Javier Chicharito Hernandez.”

Trujillo on Carlos Vela’s PK to put Mexico up, 1-0: WATCH

“Great execution by the LAFC player, faking that he was going to the other side, inside of the left foot. Great, great technique to put Mexico on the scoreboard.”

Rules expert Dr. Joe Machnik weighs in on the hand ball that gave a PK to Mexico:

“When a defender takes a slide like that to block a cross and makes himself bigger by having that upper hand … had it been the lower hand, it may have been excused – upper hand you have to call it handling and a penalty kick.”

Play-by-play announcer Jorge Perez-Navarro on Vela, who says he’s a soccer player, but not necessarily a soccer fan:

“He’s here to play. He’s not here to like it or not. He’s has the talent, he has unique skills. He is already a world champion in the under-17 category. He’s had a good career in Europe, and now he’s enjoying life – he became a father recently.”

Lalas was impressed with Chucky Lozano’s first-half play for Mexico:

“Oh, to be Chucky Lozano’s agent right now, because this is a coming out party on both ends of the field.

“The defensive work from Hirving Chucky Lozano this half was wonderful.

“He’s bringing it on both sides of the ball.”

Lalas on Mexico’s starting lineup:

“Juan Carlos Osorio is crazy – he’s crazy like a fox. The last two years have been basically a two-year audition to arm with the ammunition and the knowledge as to what his best 11 is.

“The tinkerer is gone. He tinkered for the last two years to get to this point. He got it right in the first game, but this – this is where we find out about Juan Carlos Osorio plan, if it works or not.”

Lalas has jumped on the Belgian bandwagon:

“I’m all about this Belgian team right now. Not just Lukaku, but, let’s be honest, you’ve got a goal-scorer like that – he is everything that we’ve touted him to be, and he keeps performing time and time again. This is wonderful to see. And he’s got a surrounding cast that understands exactly how to play him, and he’s feeling it. He’s getting better and better.

“He’s got that killer combination, and it was on display in all forms today – speed, power, technical ability, and most importantly, just such an intelligent player.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf was happy to see Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku perform so well:

“He was criticized heavily last World Cup, and I had to defend him because he was obviously four years younger. I said a striker that is always there at the right point, even if he’s not scoring at the moment, it’s important to be there. I’m so happy for him in this moment – he’s such a great striker.”

Former international manager Guus Hiddink says captain Eden Hazard is key to Belgium playing as a team:

“I think he [coach Roberto Martinez] made a good move by nominating Hazard as a captain, because then you give him responsibility. He cannot hide. Now he has to deliver, and now he has to take this team to a high level.”

Lalas reacts to a FOX Sports exclusive feature on Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku:

“You can’t help but like the person you see in that piece. And then the player … he’s got that killer combo – speed and power and technical ability. And maybe the most important thing is he’s a really intelligent player. He knows exactly where to go and when to go.

“The sky is the limit for this guy. He is one of the greats in the world already, and from a Belgian perspective, you can ride him, because he wants that responsibility. He’s just going to get better as the tournament goes along.”

Hiddink says Belgium’s Hazard has the potential to be in the Messi-Ronaldo-Neymar conversation:

“I had the luck to have worked with Hazard, and I enjoyed watching him in the games, in training, and I talked sometimes to him and said, ‘You can step up to the level of the “big three.”’ [Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar] … for him, it’s desire.”

FOX Sports game analyst Tony Meola reacts to Belgium’s early lead:

“One thing Tunisia wanted to avoid was giving up an early one here. Just six minutes in, Hazard steps up and buries this one.”

Hiddink says Tunisia’s early injuries put the team in a bind later in the game:

“It’s difficult for a coach now, because you have played this game [in your mind] many, many times in advance…Now you have two substitutes and your plan is falling apart, because keep in mind, you still need one spare player for the last 10 minutes…so you’re tight in your possibilities.”

Today’s Top Video:

Coming Up:

Following coverage of Germany vs. Sweden, FOX Sports presents the premiere of the third film in its MAGNIFY documentary series, NOSSA CHAPE. From award-winning directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist (The Two Escobars, Pelé: The Birth of a Legend), NOSSA CHAPE tracks the rebuilding of the Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense after the tragic 2016 plane crash in Colombia. The documentary premieres at 4:15 pm ET on the FOX broadcast network, immediately following 2018 FIFA World Cup™ coverage.

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FS1)
  • 8:00 AM – England vs. Panama (FS1 / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 11:00 AM – Japan vs. Senegal (FOX / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Poland vs. Colombia (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Rob Stone at 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Studio in Moscow’s Red Square

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Friday Afternoon, June 22

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Stories

This Afternoon’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports studio analyst Moises Munoz on Switzerland expecting a lot from Shaqiri in the victory over Serbia:

“They were expecting a lot from Shaqiri, and I believe he delivered in this game. Switzerland did what they had to do: they needed to score, they needed to go up in front, they needed to win this game. They did, and now they have a great opportunity against Costa Rica to move on.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf on how Switzerland adjusted in the second half to beat Serbia:

“They increased the speed of how they attacked. They used a lot of play on the sides – vertical play – and they were dangerous all the time – in transition, in the box – and they would move out fast. That was the difference. For Serbia, they started too fast, too hard. They slowed down in the second half.”

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas was impressed by both Switzerland and Serbia:

“This was probably one of the best games of the tournament – two evenly matched teams that went at it back and forth – a slug fest in the rain and a wonderful goal. And if it’s a great game, it’s got to have a little controversy, too.

“Serbia could also have been looking to the third game and thought they had to get this done now, exposed themselves, and couldn’t recover. Switzerland waited, had the patience, speed and ability to pick it up.”

Lalas evaluates Switzerland’s strengths:

“I think it is a proper balance between the brains and the brawn, if you will. We’ve seen them be able to fight, but also in the moments when you need the skill, and you need the ability collectively, and individual moments, they have it. This is a solid team. This is a team that nobody’s going to take for granted. They aren’t going to roll over anybody, but every single game, they’re going to be in it.”

Seedorf was disappointed with Shaqiri for taking his shirt off after scoring his goal:

“I didn’t understand [Shaqiri] taking your shirt off after scoring. That is crazy. It’s a yellow card, and you know it. Don’t do that. Score your goals and keep your shirt on.”

FOX Sports game analyst Cobi Jones on how Switzerland turned the tide against Serbia to earn the victory:

“It’s amazing how quickly a game can turn. We saw the consistent offensive pressure for Switzerland in the second half. [Serbia] just looked tired on the defensive side. In the midfield they looked slow, and they were getting caught behind the play in one moment of carelessness by the Serbian defense.”

Jones on what Switzerland did to help Shaqiri in the second half:

“In the second half, they gave Shaqiri more freedom and asked him not to come back so far, taking the ball off the back line, but staying higher. On that play, we saw combinations that were very direct, vertical, and it springs Shaqiri through and he is going one-v-one to the goal.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Glenn Davis on Shaqiri’s goal in the second half:

“Is this the moment for Shaqiri? Yes, it is! Switzerland and Shaqiri have scored in the 90th minute. He was asked to rise today by his manger Vladimir Petkovic, and he has!”

Glenn Davis calls Switzerland’s game-tying goal: WATCH

“Xhaka, you wanted more involvement, you got it. Switzerland has tied it up! It’s 1-1 now. An absolute laser from long range!”

Lalas on Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first goal putting Serbia up, 1-0:

“Mitrovic is a handful. He’s a big, big boy. When the ball is in the box, he eats it up. He missed the first one, got the second one. He uses his incredible frame and physical ability to get up. Celebrate, big man.”

FOX Sports lead studio host Rob Stone calls Nigeria’s win over Iceland a “lifeline” for Argentina:

“Argentina is thrown a lifeline. After the mess that was last night vs. Croatia, here they are still sitting with a realistic shot at moving on. But it’s Nigeria that holds all the cards.”

Lalas calls Tuesday’s final Group Stage match between Argentina and Nigeria must-see TV: 

“You’d better get out of bed on Tuesday. You’d better take off work, do whatever you have to do, because this is must-see type of television.

“I can’t wait. This is what you want. You want those third games to matter and to mean something, and as far as this group’s concerned, they certainly do.”

Munoz says this is the performance he wanted out of Nigeria:

“That’s what I wanted to see from Nigeria since the first game – using that speed, using that counter-attack, because they have the players to do so.”

FOX Sports game analyst Aly Wagner, who called Nigeria vs. Iceland, reacts to Musa’s second goal:

“Credit to his patience and allowing this to unfold. So many players rush that moment. Not Musa. Cool … calm.”

Wagner says Nigeria’s confidence built in the second half:

“How about this Nigerian side.

“You’ve seen their confidence build. After that initial goal, the presence in those pockets – night and day from the first half.”

Play-by-play announcer Derek Rae does not mince words when it comes to Iceland’s PK miss: WATCH

“He’s missed it spectacularly – good heavens.

“It’s just not happening for Iceland today.

“It really was a wretched attempt.”

Lalas says Neymar’s supporting cast has been huge for Brazil:

“Neymar casts a very big shadow over this team and sometimes it’s difficult to get out of it. But I tell you what, who’s quietly starring in this tournament, is Couthino.

“When we’re talking about the big three – Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo – I’ve got to feel that Neymar has the most talent around him, and that talent needs to show up. And they are showing up, which bodes well for the future, when you’ve got other players who are playing well and Neymar coming into his own.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden checks in from Sochi with his expectations for tomorrow’s Germany vs. Sweden match:

“I expect this German team to respond in resounding fashion.

“I can assure you, they have sat there, they have watched all of the film, they have analyzed every little thing that they did wrong in that game, and they are going to fix it in this game against Sweden.”

Seedorf on Germany’s emergency team meeting and how they will perform going forward:

“I think it’s a sign that they’re committed. They don’t want to accept that they’re not capable of not fighting and being competitive in this tournament. I didn’t think they performed that badly in the first game. There were moments in the game with poor choices, but I think Mexico was really outstanding in that match. Germany will come back and I think they will be another time that Germany will grow into this tournament.”

Lalas on what Germany did wrong in the first match against Mexico:

“The way they lined up against Mexico in the loss was problematic. They were stretched all over the place and disorganized. When Mexico hit them on that counter, they had the speed to pull players out of position, they had the speed to get players diving in. Germany didn’t have the recovery and couldn’t handle the team speed of Mexico, and they paid for it time and time again.”

Munoz on Mexico’s manager Juan Carlos Osorio possibly changing the team lineup:

“I hope he doesn’t do many substitutions. I was hearing about some changes he might be doing for this game. One is Chicharito coming out and going with Raul Jimenez. I don’t want him to make substitutions. They played great. If they can do the same thing against Korea [they did against Germany], they’re going to be in the knockout stage, and they’re going to get where they want to be. They have the motivation and opportunity … to move on and get to that fifth game.”

This Afternoon’s Top Video:

 Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX)
  • 8:00 AM – Belgium vs. Tunisia (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 11:00 AM – Korea Republic vs. Mexico (FOX / Jorge Perez-Navarro and Mariano Trujillo)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Germany vs. Sweden (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 5:00 PM – MAGNIFY PRESENTS NOSSA CHAPE: OUR TEAM (FOX)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 11:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Neymar_2018WorldCup_1040x585

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Friday Morning , June 22

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

  •  Brazil def. Costa Rica, 2-0 (WATCH: 90 in 90: Brazil vs. Costa Rica)
  • NOW – Nigeria vs. Iceland (WATCH: 90 in 90: Nigeria vs. Iceland)
  • 2:00 PM – Serbia vs. Switzerland (WATCH: 90 in 90: Serbia vs. Switzerland)
  • 7:00 PM – WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 8:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP MATCH OF THE DAY
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)

ICYMI Thursday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT:

Following Argentina’s loss to Croatia, Fernando Fiore and former Argentine striker Hernan Crespo talk about team selection

This Morning’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports game analyst Warren Barton, who called Brazil vs. Costa Rica, on Neymar’s emotional post-game reaction:

“I’ve been in the game a long time, but I’ve never seen someone emotional in the Group Stage like that – with the pressure that’s his shoulders, knowing that fan base is behind him.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith on Neymar’s emotional reaction and ability to step up as a leader:

“I actually got choked up, because you saw how much it meant to him. He took a lot of knocks early on, and you could see he was getting a bit frustrated. He didn’t kick out, he kept his cool, and I think that’s him evolving and becoming a better player. He needs to experience stuff like this to come out on top.”

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas says Neymar has lived up to the hype so far:

“There was a beautiful and powerful anger that I think he did a really good job of channeling.

“I think you’re seeing this explosion after the game of all of these emotions, all of this pressure and all of this built-up anger. And, it has to be said – one of the world’s greats living up to the hype, getting the job done even in difficult circumstances and bringing it at the most important moment.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf says Neymar has had an enormous weight lifted off his shoulders:

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for him, from when he was injured a few months ago. I think the pressure from the last World Cup, the expectations were increased, but he’s improved his game. He’s now the ‘big star,’ and getting that goal was his way of freeing himself from all of the pressure surrounding him.”

Barton says Costa’s pass to Neymar to score Brazil’s second goal shows how much Brazil respects Neymar:

“That tells me they’re a team that love him. Because Costa could have quite easily just passed that in, but he waited for his leader, Neymar, to give him the ball.”

Play-by-play announcer Mark Followill calls Coutinho’s stoppage time goal:

“They’ve been waiting for that moment. Two matches in this World Cup, two goals for Philippe Coutinho.”

Lalas said he enjoyed watching the match within the match – Neymar vs. the referees:

“This battle within the battle between the referee and Neymar was wonderful to see. They’re jabbing back and forth, and I know he got the yellow – he was not happy with the reversal on the VAR play – and I’m sure he wasn’t happy at times with being fouled, but it was fun to see. As opposed to going to a dark place, it seemed to fuel him [Neymar] to have this battle.”

Prior to Brazil vs. Costa Rica, Lalas predicted Neymar would step up for Brazil:

“There’s a reason why we talk about stars, because they provide moments.

“This is the moment where Neymar lives up to all the hype. This is the moment where Neymar lives up to all the attention. This is the moment where Neymar needs to star on a very, very good team.”

Prior to the match, FOX Sports studio analyst Ian Wright was looking forward to big performance from Neymar:

“Now it’s just for him to be the center of attention on the world’s stage for the right reasons – scoring goals and showing us how great he is.”

During the first half, Barton said the fouling on Neymar was excessive:

“We’ve got to protect our players.

“He’s being brought down, he’s being kicked. When are the referees going to understand that he’s a marked man?”

Lalas on Neymar being fouled on Brazil’s first match and referees needing control the game:

“I believe he was fouled consistently and legitimately. But I also believe that players are like children – I think we can all attest to that. You need to set boundaries with players, otherwise they will keep taking and they will keep testing, and that’s exactly what happened in the first match. Because the referee … You have to set the tone early so everybody understands and recognizes your authority, and you stomp it out right at the beginning of the game.”

Wright wants to see an attacking Brazil:

“I want to see this Brazilian team go forward with the players they’ve got and really make a mark in the tournament.”

Smith says Argentina’s performance has been embarrassing:

“This is the worst Argentinian side I’ve seen since I’ve been on this planet. Once the goal went in, mentally they just were shot. They lacked fight, belief, and they just fell away. It was a bit embarrassing.”

Lalas said Messi didn’t show up, and Argentina didn’t play as a team:

“He’s gone from hero to zero in the span of this tournament.

“He did not show up. At the moment when his team needed him to show up, he was not there.

“This was a team devoid of any type of organization, of any type of identity, and ultimately any type of real collective heart to figure this out.”

This Morning’s Top Video:

 Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX)
  • 8:00 AM – Belgium vs. Tunisia (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 11:00 AM – Korea Republic vs. Mexico (FOX / Jorge Perez-Navarro and Mariano Trujillo)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Germany vs. Sweden (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 11:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Paul-Pogba_1040x585

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Thursday , June 21

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Stories:

ICYMI Wednesday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT:

Today’s Top Quotes:

Former England women’s international and FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith on Messi’s disappointing start:

“Messi hasn’t had the best start. He’s the talisman of the team and he hasn’t show up. He leads by example. He pulls the players along. And I feel like they just haven’t performed at this level. I think there were so many gaps all over the field for the Croatians to take advantage of. Modric had a fantastic game.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Ian Wright says Messi’s woes are affecting the Argentinean players, but Croatia was the better team:

“The body language says it all. The Argentinians are normally very passionate and proud. I’ve watched a lot of Argentinian games in World Cups. Now, they seem to be devoid of any passion or organization. They are literally waiting for Messi to do something and everyone may get going.

“But you’ve got Modric and Rakitic – Real Madrid and Barcelona – proven winners and we’re expecting Messi and the Argentinian side, who ain’t done nothing, to beat this team. I feel a little like I’ve conned the public trying to tell them that Messi can get it going. Looking at his body language, why was I thinking something was going to change? He’s the leader, but he can’t get it going.”

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas on Messi’s performance redefining his reputation:

“You’re looking at a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and living in the shadow of the man who was watching tonight – Maradona. It can’t be easy. This is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. The World Cup can be cruel, even to the greats. And it’s going to be very interesting tomorrow morning to see this new perception of, and this recasting, of Messi as this villain after playing the hero so long, and having a very positive view. That’s not necessarily going to change, but I think the World Cup reshapes perception of players and this is not good for him.”

Lalas on Croatia’s win over Argentina establishing them as a favorite now:

“This was an announcement. And as much as we’re going to talk about this as an unmitigated disaster for Argentina, this was not a coming out party, but a statement of intent by a real good team. Quality all over the field. They bossed Argentina all over the field. The individuals were having incredible games, and collectively, this is a team to be reckoned with.”

Smith on Argentina being embarrassed in the World Cup:

“It’s an embarrassment today. Now in two games, they lacked composure, and lacked creativity. We didn’t even see Messi on the ball in the second half. He was nonexistent. It’s disappointing that he just left the field like that.”

Wright believes this is the worst Argentinian team he’s seen:

“I’d say this is easily one of the worst Argentinian teams I’ve ever seen. And we’re talking about one of the greatest players in the world who’s on it. His body language, for a leader, this is worrying to see. Something’s missing and something’s gone wrong with him and Argentina. It’s sad to see.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden assesses Croatia’s performance against Argentina:

“That performance from Croatia – from start to finish – was commanding and complete. It was aggressive and it had touches of quality throughout. We knew this was going to be a tough game for Argentina, much tougher than Iceland. Croatia, from the first minute, stepped up against them. They were winning the ball in the midfield, they were great in transition, and still what we saw from Rakitic and Modric, two of the best in the competition, they ran that Argentine team over. [Argentina] lacked passion, they lacked intensity, they lacked quality and most importantly, an identity – something that they have not had for a while now. They might be going home now, which would be a catastrophe.”

FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer John Strong predicts Modric’s goal, putting Croatia up 2-0:

“Second goal is there for the asking for Croatia. Modric wants it in the middle. Modric looking for space, Modric gets it away. Scores! Croatia can punch their ticket to the knockout round, and it’s a dagger in the heart of Argentina.”

Smith says that the Messi is such a topic because Ronaldo has performed so well:

“We wouldn’t be speaking about this subject if it wasn’t for Ronaldo’s four goals in these two matches. For me, Ronaldo has stepped up. He’s shown passion, hunger, he’s grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck. He’s talking to them. He’s constantly gathering them around and getting them together. You just see it in Ronaldo’s eyes. You see that he’s hungry and he’s playing hungry.”

Lalas was impressed with Paul Pogba’s first-half play for France:

“That sweet spot is when your biggest personality is also your best player on the field. At least for this half, it was all about Paul Pogba. He was all over the place – so smart in his positioning, and then when he needs to strike, he strikes.

“He has been great for this team. That’s what you want to see. That’s leadership.”

Wright is impressed with France’s Pogpa:

“Pogba’s a quality player. The problem he’s had is coming off the season he’s had with Manchester United, not being consistent. He’s coming into this World Cup as one of the big players. I think he’s fantastic. He seems to be getting more and more involved in the game. In the last third of the pitch, he has so much creativity and ability. I believe he’s easily one of the best midfielders in the tournament by far.”

“He’s a hybrid player. Look at the size of him. But he’s got a beautiful touch on the ball. Plus, his magnificent power and athletic stature.”

Lalas says Peru might be the best team not to advance to the knockout round:

“When all is said and done, this Peru team is probably going to go home and be the best team to go home, in terms of their performance.

“This was a historic moment for this team, and while they’re going home, they certainly, in these first two games, have been a delight to watch.”

FOX Sports game analyst Aly Wagner reacts to France’s first goal:

“Mbappe’s going to go on the score sheet, but kid yourselves not, this is all Paul Pogba. He wins the ball; he plays this little delicate touch-in behind Giroud, trying to turn on it. And then Mbappe there for the finish.

“Come on with that ball from Paul Pogba.”

Kelly Smith adds:

“This is what Pogba does best – he sniffs out the danger, lays a lovely ball into Giroud over the top of the keeper, and Mbappe is following up.”

Lalas thinks Paul Pogba’s personality is one of his biggest strengths:

“I think he’s one of the most intelligent players in the game…I love him because he is big, and he is bold and has that personality. But when you do that, you have to recognize that you’re not going to be given the benefit of the doubt when you don’t play well. You are setting yourself up, and I love the fact that he has embraced that. It rubs players the wrong way, it rubs fans the wrong way and sometimes it rubs coaches the wrong way. But, I would rather have a player with a bigger-than-life personality – that beautiful arrogance – than a shrinking violet.”

Smith says Denmark’s Christian Eriksen was the standout performer of the Denmark vs. Australia match:

“You could see how he was trying to control the game. His quality on the ball shone. Yes, he fell away a little bit but you still see that he has such technical ability, great vision…I think the quality of his game is fantastic, and his price tag has gone way through the roof after this.”

FOX Sports studio analyst and former Australian National Team manager Guus Hiddink says Australia has played well so far this tournament:

“They have grown into their preparation. They did very well in their last two games, are well organized and gained a lot of confidence from this game.”

With Yussuf Poulsen receiving his second yellow card of the tournament, Lalas said Denmark needed to win today before facing France in the final Group Stage match:

“This means, for Denmark, they’ve got to go for this win. You don’t want to leave it all without Poulsen, now, on that last game against France.”

FOX Sports game analyst Warren Barton on Australia’s response to tie the game at 1-1:

“They’ve got character. They’re maybe not the best passing team in the world. They’ve shown against France they’re willing to compete. I think Denmark just took their foot off the gas. They thought it was going to be a bit easier. With this fan base behind them, with this crowd, they just lifted the tempo.”

Barton on Mile Jedinak’s PK equalizer:

“You wouldn’t want to play poker against him. He is cool as you like.

“He’s like a machine. He doesn’t miss. He knew exactly what he was going to do.”

Barton on Christian Eriksen’s early goal for Denmark:

“You need class – he has it in abundance.

“He just oozes class. The movement, the technique.

“He just makes the game look simple.

“He just dips his shoulder and has enough class and ability to rifle that into the back of the net – sensational.”

Lalas agrees that Ronaldo is like a fine wine, but says he’s just a glass, and Portugal needs an entire bottle:

“He is like a fine wine. The problem is, it’s just a glass. And, while it’s wonderful, you kind of need a bottle in order to have that party. I’m not sure they have that bottle, so once that glass is done, they could have problems.

“But ultimately, what is this man there to do? He is there to score goals, and that is what he is doing.

“What happens when that glass is empty? Do they have anything else? Do they have a Plan B? I think that’s where the worry is when it comes to this Portugal team further on down the line. Everything’s wonderful right now, but at some point, they’re going to face somebody that can make them pay.”

Today’s Top Videos:

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FS1)
  • 8:00 AM – Brazil vs. Costa Rica (FS1 / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 11:00 AM – Nigeria vs. Iceland (FOX / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Serbia vs. Switzerland (FOX / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:30 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Rachel Bonnetta

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Wednesday Afternoon, June 20

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Stories:

This Afternoon’s Top Quotes:

 FOX Sports guest analyst and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s perception of the Spanish camp:

 “I think obviously they are under pressure because their coach got sacked a day or two before the competition started. Fernando Hierro comes in and is a hero in Spain – there’s no question about that – but he is immediately under pressure because they need the results. Spain is expected to do well in the competition. I think tonight will calm things down for them. They’ve got the points on the board. It’s a big win for them. As he [Hierro] said himself, it was a difficult win.”

 FOX Sports analyst Moises Munoz on Iran’s offense tactics:

“They had their chances today – one of them coming in the second half. If you’re the underdog, why can’t you just come out and surprise the opponent. Spain was already expecting Iran to stay behind, to put all kinds of players behind the ball and park the bus. That’s what they were expecting from Iran. If they [Iran] came out and tried to punch them in the face and try to go forward and get some aggressiveness into their play, then that might have surprised Spain.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Mark Followill’s reaction to Spain’s goal:

“Finally, they have broken them down. The chance was missed a moment ago by Iran – it is not missed by Diego Costa. He buries it to give Spain the opener – 1-nil – over Iran.”

O’Neill thinks Uruguay can improve and potentially succeed as the World Cup progresses:

“I don’t think they had a great performance. I just think that they did enough to win the game. That’s what they set out to do. There’s a great, great history about Uruguay. I know they’ve had two World Cups, and it’s been a long time since they’ve done it – 1950 was the second one, but they’ve got the six points on the board. I think at this stage, actually getting the points is as important as the performance, and they can improve.

…will Uruguay win the World Cup? I wouldn’t have thought so, but can they progress? Yes.”

Munoz isn’t sure if Uruguay will advance much farther:

“Is this going to be enough for Uruguay? Both of their winning goals have been scored off set pieces. This is the typical Uruguayan way to play. But is this going to be enough in the next round?”

Game analyst Aly Wagner, who called Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, reacts to Luis Suarez’s first-half goal:

“This is all created after Uruguay gets down the flank, drops the set piece, and Al-Owais just comes out fishing, chasing a mirage, and that just drops in nicely at the feet of Suarez. Look out if that man starts to find his form in this World Cup. Easy touch-in for him; no one sitting in front.

“You just have to feel for Al-Owais, the goalkeeper, in just his seventh cap for Saudi Arabia – not a lot of experience and then you gift the opponent one like that.”

O’Neill on Uruguay’s style of play in the first half:

“I feel that because they’ve got Cavani and Suarez playing up front, I think they’ve got the impression that they’ll get a goal at any given time. They’re not that type of side.

“They don’t create that many chances considering they’ve got two world-class players there, but they’ve done enough to take the lead.”

 Wagner on the importance of Uruguay jumping out to an early lead:

“Getting that early goal is so important to them, especially having the three points coming into this match. Now they can just sit, slow down the tempo and try to manage this game.”

O’Neill provides his assessment of Portugal:

 “I think there is a lot of talk of Ronaldo being a one-man team. My own view is that Portugal proved in the Euros two years ago that they can actually win a game without him. Of course, he is very, very important. He’s absolutely essential to the team. Two years ago, they actually won the Euros in France when he was injured during the course of a game.”

Munoz takes the opposing view on Portugal:

“I am a little bit worried about Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo just scored four goals in this tournament – all four goals that Portugal has right now. If he is not 100 percent for every game, who is going to step up and join him? Who is going to do his job if he is not 100 percent for that particular game? They aren’t going to have trouble in this Group Stage. But, once they come out of that into the knockout stage – if Ronaldo does not perform at 100 percent, what is going to happen?”

Munoz on what to expect from Mexico against South Korea:

“Juan Carlos Osorio is already thinking of what he is going to do and how he is going to prepare, because it is going to be a whole different game against South Korea than the one they had against Germany. I believe Chucky Lozano is going to show up again and Chicharito is going to have a great game. They are not way up here – they set the bar real high – but they are not expecting the same game, so they are going to be ready for South Korea.”

O’Neill on what to expect from Germany vs. Sweden:

“Germany are world champions and have come back from defeats before. I feel as if Mexico played very, very well in the game. Germany left themselves exposed on a number of occasions, and Mexico could have maybe added to their score. They will have learned from this game and come out strongly again because that’s the one thing you always feel from Germans – there is a togetherness there.”

This Afternoon’s Top Videos:

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FS1)
  • 8:00 AM – Denmark vs. Australia (FS1 / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 10:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 11:00 AM – France vs. Peru (FOX / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX)
  • 2:00 PM – Argentina vs. Croatia (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP MATCH DAY – 1 (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)