FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Monday, June 25

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

Today’s Top Stories:


Today’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith evaluates Portugal’s performance against Iran:

“In parts, they were good, and in parts, I don’t think they were as good. I was disappointed with Andre Silva. He didn’t show it for me today. He had a quiet performance. That’s a credit to Iran for keeping him quiet. But what does worry me is Pepe and Fonte in the back. They are [Portugal’s] weakness. When they’re up against Uruguay, and Suarez and Cavani, that will be a problem for them.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Derek Rae and game analyst Aly Wagner on Portugal’s goal:

Rae:Sensational. Ricardo Quaresma for Portugal. The moment of magic Portugal wanted. It comes courtesy of a 34-year-old reinstated to the lineup.”

 Wagner: “Reinstated and he rewards his manager. It’s just a nice, little combination coming inside. Then, oh, that curler! His right foot, he lines it up perfectly, up and over, dips it behind Beiranvand. Nothing he can do about this! Sweet sensation!”

FOX Sports studio analyst Ian Wright on what Spain needs to do to improve their play after tying Morocco 2-2:

“I think it’s more concentration for Spain. There’s a fragility about them. We saw that header that went in today. They would normally stop that cross coming in. Spain worked hard to do that [in the past]. They don’t seem to be doing that at the moment. They’re normally a lot more tight in their positioning and more precise. They need to focus a bit more. They can’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

 FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas looks forward to what will happen between Spain vs. Russia and Portugal vs. Uruguay:

“There is a difference between playing Russia and playing Uruguay. We saw what Uruguay did to Russia. If you’re Spain, you’re thinking: ‘Alright, we got the good one.’ It’s not that it’s going to be easy to walk over them, but Portugal, right now, is not a perfect team. They understand that and they’re going to come up against it and because of a goal here or there, it completely changed everything. When it comes to this Portuguese team, we saw someone step up in that moment to score that goal, and that’s all fine and good.”

Lalas on VAR so far at the World Cup:

“VAR has not been a big story in the World Cup, and that’s a good thing. For the most part, it’s worked right. The calls that they are making, ultimately, they’re getting them right.”

Wright previews what Argentina needs to do vs. Nigeria:

“You’re hoping that they can find their groove, if that’s Messi playing further forward. I honestly don’t know what it is, because if you look at Argentina, I don’t know what their pattern of play is. Is he playing further up?  Is he playing Biglia? Is he playing Mascherano? Mascherano is looking like he’s a bit leggy. Sampaoli saying he’s not really worried. The fact is, when you look at the manager and the way he was on that bench, that looks like somebody who’s under an intense amount of pressure because his team, to me, is more than good enough to be putting up better performances than they’re doing. You have one of the best players in the world – best players in football history – and you can’t find a system that works with him. I think that comes down to the manager.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Mark Followill reacts to Morocco’s first goal of the 2018 World Cup against Spain: 

“Look at the space and Boutaib is in! The chance to get Morocco the opener — and he does. Their first goal of the 2018 World Cup. It’s Boutaib against Spain!”

FOX Sports studio analyst Warren Barton adds:

“You can’t say they don’t deserve it after the first two games. The game plan was to allow them to have it and when there is a moment of hesitation or a sloppy pass, you go for the jugular.

“The execution is excellent!”

 Smith reacts to a FOX Sports exclusive feature on Cristiano Ronaldo: 

 “He is just amazing, and what he does individually – he grabs the team by the scruff of the neck. He’s just an unreal human being and player. It’s just fantastic to see him on this world stage.”

Lalas adds:

“I think you saw in that piece that he’s managing expectations, because he knows that he’s not surrounded by the greatest talent. It doesn’t mean that they can’t win. I’m not sure that he’s enough, even with how great he is, putting his team on his shoulders.”

 Smith says Portugal needs to step up and support Ronaldo:

 “They need to possess the ball, because in later games that’s going to be a problem. You can’t just hit the ball to Ronaldo and expect him to score. Other players need to step up and keep the ball for that team.”

 Smith on the pressure facing Argentina and Lionel Messi:

 “There’s a lot of pressure on this team, but they can’t control the press – the media circus that’s around them. All they can do is control their own individual performances. Yeah, Messi is the best player in the world – he needs to bring it. It’s time for him to deliver.

“It’s time for him and his teammates – they’ve got to have the game of their life in order to get out of this group. It is doable and they have been given this massive, massive lifeline.”

 Lalas adds that that there’s no reason for Argentina’s poor performance so far:

 “The talent they have at their disposal has to do better.

“He [coach Jorge Sampaoli] just hasn’t figured out how to get that right mix that works for Argentina and, maybe more importantly, works to get Messi in the positions that you need.”

 FOX Sports lead studio host Rob Stone reacts to Uruguay’s win:

 “The big guns of Cavani and Suarez both on display today. That’s something this team really needed to see.”

Seedorf on Uruguay’s style of play:

“The most important thing for them is that their strikers are on shot and that they have that confidence, because Uruguay’s not going to change their game plan against anybody.”

Play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera on Russian breakout star Denis Cheyshev:

 “That’s what the World Cup is about – not just stars coming in, but players who make a name for themselves during the tournament. Cheryshev is one of them.”

 FOX Sports game analyst Tony Meola on Russia exceeding expectations by making it out of the Group Stage:

 “They have captured the heart and soul of the entire country, as we’ve seen over the last couple weeks. Coming into this, there were no expectations … Now, all of a sudden, the manager’s a hero; the players are stars; you’ve got this newfound fame. But now they’re in the business-end of the tournament, and the competition just gets tougher from here.”

Former Russia National Team coach Guus Hiddink on how attitudes have changed following Russia’s hot start:

“How life can change in 10 days in this city, because everyone before this tournament said … it will not work. All of a sudden, it works, and they’re partying through six o’clock in the morning.”

Lalas adds:

“It’s been wonderful to see, and I think it just shows the power of this tournament and the power of this sport, that it can turn people so quickly – an entire nation.

“They’re partying in the streets; they’re loving this team. This team gave them something to love – not just the results, but the way those results happened.”

Lalas believes Mohammad Salah was unable to bounce back from his early injury:

“When we were coming into this World Cup, we were talking about how this will shape or redefine the image of this player and how it could enhance his image…It’s not a good World Cup in terms of exiting, but we didn’t see the best of him from a physical perspective because of that injury coming in. If this is the end for Mo Salah for the national team, that’s a shame, but I certainly don’t think it’s the end in terms of watching him score goals and play soccer.”

FOX Sports studio analysts Clarence Seedorf and Kelly Smith reflect on their experiences as players, as they predict what lies ahead for Egypt’s Mohammad Salah:

Seedorf: “I doubt that this is the end. I think they will probably change coaches. And the first thing the new coach will do is go after Salah and convince him to continue. It’s really early [in his career]. He’s in the finest stage of his career right now and he should enjoy this. I didn’t enjoy it fully, my experience with the national team, and I missed it.”

Smith: “I’ve been injured coming into a tournament. In the Olympics, I had a stress fracture in my foot and I wasn’t at full fitness, so I know exactly how he’s [Salah] feeling. He’s frustrated. I think he would want an opportunity to play another World Cup. There’s no way he could retire. He’s too young and too good.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 9:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX and FS1)
  • 10:00 AM – Denmark vs. France (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 10:00 AM – Australia vs. Peru (FS1 / Jorge Perez-Navarro and Mariano Trujillo)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 2:00 PM – Nigeria vs. Argentina (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 2:00 PM – Iceland vs. Croatia (FS1 / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)