ITV has unveiled its squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia along with its plans for covering the tournament – including a star-studded on-screen line-up of some of football’s biggest names ahead of kick-off on June 14th.
Joining presenter Mark Pougatch on the plane to Moscow to lend their experience and expertise to ITV’s tournament coverage will be Gary Neville and regular pundits Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Ian Wright and Lee Dixon as well as England women’s striker Eniola Aluko, former French international Patrice Evra, Celtic and Sweden legend Henrik Larsson, Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, former Croatia and West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, and Euro 2016 final referee Mark Clattenburg.
ITV is looking forward to bringing viewers a veritable borscht of football with all the action, drama, colour and atmosphere from across Russia. Presenter Jacqui Oatley, reporters Gabriel Clarke and Seema Jaswal, commentators Clive Tyldesley, Sam Matterface, Jon Champion and Joe Speight as well as co-commentators Glenn Hoddle, Ally McCoist and Iain Dowie will also be on the ground and in the stadia throughout the tournament.
The excitement has been building with the on-air launch of ITV’s 60-second promotional trail, which encourages fans to ‘forget the past’ reflecting on the victory in 1966 and subsequent tournament failures which have both burdened with expectation and haunted the England team and fans for decades, and their preconceptions, and to focus on the potential for glory this time.
ITV will have a studio base overlooking St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow to bring home to viewers the impact of the tournament in front of one of Russia’s most iconic backdrops. The team will also criss-cross the vast expanse of the country to deliver build-up, live coverage and analysis of some games from in and around the stadia in the various host locations to give viewers a taste of the tournament.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “Excitement is building for what we hope will be a great World Cup. We have put together a terrific team of pundits who will provide their expertise, insight and unique perspective to bring the tournament to life for our viewers. Our coverage, which kicks off with the opening game, will bring you the very best action and analysis from Russia.”
The tournament begins on ITV with coverage of the opening ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, followed by the opening match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia on 14 June, along with England’s final group game against Belgium.
A number of mouth-watering fixtures from the opening stages of the tournament will be shown on ITV, including all three of Brazil’s group games. ITV will have first and second pick of the round of 16 and first pick of the semi-finals. Both ITV and BBC, who share the coverage, will show the final.