Fox’s World Cup debut will have an American accent, even though the United States failed to qualify for the tournament.
And many of the game broadcasters will be based in the U.S.
Former United States women’s national team midfielder Aly Wagner will become the first female game analyst for the men’s World Cup on American television as part of Fox Sports’ coverage of the 2018 event in Russia.
On Wednesday, Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reported Fox’s announcing teams, including Wagner with Derek Rae. The other top pairings include John Strong and Stu Holden as well as JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola.
Fox’s coverage will be a marked contrast to British voices that dominated ESPN’s telecasts of the past two tournaments.
JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola will be Fox’s only other crew based in Russia and will call the host nation’s opener against Saudi Arabia on June 14. Strong and Holden start with the Spain-Portugal game the following day and will work the final on July 15.
The other four crews will broadcast from Fox’s studios in Los Angeles, where Wagner will be paired with Derek Rae, who broadcast the last two World Cups for ESPN. The other crews are Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones, Jorge Perez Navarro and Mariano Trujillo, and Mark Followill and Warren Barton.
Rae (Scotland) and Barton (England) are the only British voices. Perez Navarro, on loan from ESPN Deportes, and Trujillo form an all-Mexican pairing. While born in Scotland, Holden grew up in Texas and made 25 appearances for the U.S. national team from 2008-13 in a career shortened by knee injuries.
Here’s a look at the complete list of commentators and where they will broadcast from, per Blum:
John Strong and Stu Holden (Russia)
JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola (Russia)
Derek Rae and Aly Wagner (Los Angeles)
Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones (Los Angeles)
Jorge Perez Navarro and Mariano Trujillo (Los Angeles)
Mark Followill and Warren Barton (Los Angeles)
“It wasn’t that I set out to end up calling a men’s World Cup match, but my path has led me here now and I’ll be extremely proud doing it,” Wagner told the AP. “Hopefully I can prove it’s about my effort and my work and my passion and my commitment and my love for the game that comes through when I call the match as opposed to it having anything to do with being the first female.”
She earned 131 caps for the USMNT and helped the team win a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.
Meanwhile, Blum noted Fox World Cup executive producer David Neal wouldn’t directly comment on whether the United States’ failure to qualify for the tournament led to cutbacks that will see four of the six tandems stationed in L.A. rather than the host nation.
“You have to adjust to your circumstances, and this is what works best for us now given the circumstances,” he said.
The 2018 World Cup will run from June 14 through July 15 in Russia. All 64 matches will be shown live on American television with 38 games on Fox and 26 on Fox Sports 1.