2018 FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Friday, June 15

Today’s Results:


Global megastar Zlatan Ibrahimovic explains why he’s not on Sweden’s World Cup Roster:

“I retired a couple of years ago. I feel the new generation, this upcoming generation, it’s their moment. They made it without me, and I’m super happy for that. I don’t want to destroy the party. Let them enjoy, so they feel less pressure if I’m not there.”

Today’s Top Story:

 FOX and FS1 earn top spot in daytime and primetime among metered markets

Today’s Top Tweet:

Today’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick goal:

“He’s a man who’s no stranger to pressure. Cold-blooded. Steps up, de Gea goes the other way and he just passes it into the corner. What a start for Portugal. They’ve been on the front foot from the first minute in this game.”

Holden on Diego Costa’s goal in the 24th minute:

“What a goal. This is a pure individual effort against two Portuguese defenders. Left, right, cuts back, and then just smashes it low and hard in the corner.”

Moments before Diego Costa scored Spain’s second goal of the match, Holden predicted how it would happen off a set piece:

“I think the way that they’re going to line this one up, I think Silva will just bend this one with an out-swinger. They’ll look to either head it back or cross to someone at the far post. The way that Diego Costa is drifting right now, he’s standing at the penalty spot, so I think he’s just going to hang out there. He’s already saying to the referee he’s going to try and come back because Portugal are dropping.”

WATCH: Diego Costa Scores Spain’s Second Goal

After the score, Holden reacts to the 2-2 equalizer:

“Just what the doctor ordered, and just what we had talked about. Silva to the back post – you hope that Nacho gets up and wins it. Diego Costa – right place, right time. It is so hard to pick up a striker like that when he’s standing behind you because he knows that you have to drop. But then as soon as that does, he makes his move toward the goal. The defender can’t get goal-side, and it’s 2-2. Really well-marked set piece there by Spain.”

FOX Sports’ lead World Cup studio analyst Alexi Lalas on Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal:

“He’s a star. Stars deliver. The star is going to step up and say: ‘Thank you very much. One -nothing. I’m going to celebrate. And everyone, look at me – as you should – because I’m one of the greatest of all time!’”

Lalas on Ronaldo’s performance today against Spain:

“He’s the greatest of all time. While there were no winners tonight in this game, we won, because we got to see one of the great games in World Cup history – incredible players, back-and-forth drama, good play, bad play. This game is going to be remembered. What a way to start off this the first week of this tournament.”

Lalas on if this was Ronaldo’s greatest individual moment:

“Although this is just the first game, if you’re ever going to announce your presence with authority, this is the way to do it against this team [Spain]. The type of goals [Ronaldo] scored, this is wonderful. I know we’re trying to come up with reasons why, but sometimes you just have to sit back and say, ‘You know what? That was a gift from the soccer gods – the opportunity to watch these players play in this type of game.’”

Lalas says Ronaldo is above criticism:

 “You don’t criticize Cristiano Ronaldo on or off the field. He can do no wrong. He is one of the greatest of all time. He is must-see television. Whether he is walking down the street; whether he is hitting a bicycle, as we have seen; these iconic moments, when it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo, that’s what make him great.

“The definition of a star is when you have the pressure, when you have all the focus and everybody’s expecting you to do something, you still come through. And each and every time he seems to come through.”

FOX Sports World Cup studio analyst Ian Wright on Ronaldo’s performance today:

“You look at him – there was an intensity, a sharpness to him today. The way he went past Nacho. He sucked that foul out of him. You knew he was going to score the free kick. This is what he dreamt about. This is what he wants. [Portugal] have a genius playing for them. If they can stay in the game, he can win them the game. That’s what happened today.”

Wright on Spain tying Portugal today:

“Spain has got to be very disappointed. They made two drastic mistakes. The PK. You’ve got Ronaldo, the last knocking of a game, getting the ball on the edge of the box, going away from the goal, with all the experience. To make that foul, it was naïve.”

Wright on what he expects Messi to do tomorrow:

“I’m looking forward to the Messi response. Cristiano’s just shown what it means to him and what he’s willing to do to get here. I want to see what Messi does. I’m not saying Messi has to score a hat trick, because we’re lucky enough to see these guys, but the fact is they’ve got to at least win that game.”

Analyst Aly Wagner and play-by-play announcer Derek Rae, who called Morocco vs. Iran, react to the Morocco own goal, which gave Iran the victory:

Wagner: “That is how you script it. If you’re Iran, you came out to stonewall this exciting attacking Moroccan offense, and then you pick it off on a set piece. This one just played to that near post. The substitute coming in, picking the wrong goal to score in, just trying to make a play at that near post.”

Rae: “Own goal or not, Iran will care not one jot. The goal puts them on a victory course.”

Lalas says he doesn’t think Mo Salah would have made the difference for Egypt against Uruguay today:

“Bringing on Mo Salah doesn’t change the fact that you have to mark in the box. Bringing on Mo Salah doesn’t change the fact that you don’t foul in an area you didn’t need to foul, right at the important moments. This is what the World Cup is about – when you have teams that are evenly matched. It doesn’t mean that one’s not better, but today they were evenly matched through the game. Then it’s just that one moment, that loss of concentration – not marking, fouling in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m not sure Mo Salah would have changed that.”

FOX Sports studio analyst and former international coach Guus Hiddink said bringing in Salah would have provided Egypt with a boost:

“With 20 minutes to go, you see the team is asking for relief. If you bring him on, the team gets more confidence – literally more relief – five minutes’ relief changing, substitution, a team can reorganize.”

Play-by-play announcer Mark Followill and analyst Warren Barton, who called Egypt vs. Uruguay, react to Luis Suarez’s near miss in the 24th minute:

Followill: “He will regret that one. Side netting for the Uruguayan talisman.”

Barton: “The face says it all … you would put your life on it that he was going to put that in the back of the net. He will have nightmares about that, because you can’t ask for an easier, simpler opportunity for a player … He can’t believe it, and I think the world can’t believe it.”

Wright says Uruguay’s Luis Suarez looks out of shape:

“He was poor today … he looks a little bit overweight to me, if you ask me. He just doesn’t look on his game.

“When Cavani and Suarez stay close to each other, they cause problems. Didn’t do it enough.”

Lalas says Spain’s decision to fire head coach Julen Lopetegui days before the start of the World Cup puts pressure on the team to win:

“Spain has to win the World Cup now. And if they do, it’ll be because of that – an inspired type of decision. And if they don’t, then Luis Rubiales, the head of the federation – because he had a little hissy fit – is going to be in big, big trouble.”

Wright says Spain should have waited until after the World Cup to make a coaching change:

“I don’t see why you had to get rid of the manager at this stage. He [Rubiales] could have just let him [Lopetegui] finish his job, and then he’s gone. Why did he do that? It’s almost like bullying the guy. The guy wanted to manage Spain … His head ruled his heart there. It’s crazy.”

Today’s Top Videos:

Coming Up:

FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ continues tonight with WORLD CUP NOW on Twitter, hosted by Rachel Bonnetta from Moscow’s Red Square. Later tonight, Fernando Fiore returns with another edition of FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT at 10:00 PM ET on FS1 and midnight in all U.S. time zones on the FOX broadcast network. Day 3 gets underway tomorrow with coverage beginning at 5:00 AM ET on FS1, leading into France vs. Australia. The FOX broadcast network televises a tripleheader of games with coverage beginning at 8:00 AM ET before Lionel Messi and Argentina face Iceland.

Tonight’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 7:00 PM – WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)

 Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 6:00 AM – France vs. Australia (FS1 / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 9:00 AM – Argentina vs. Iceland (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 12:00 PM – Peru vs. Denmark (FS1 / Jorge Perez-Navarro and Mariano Trujillo)
  • 3:00 PM – Croatia vs. Nigeria (FS1 / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 11:00 PM – MATCH DAY 1 (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)