Mexico-New Zealand World Cup Qualifying Playoff Series Caps 15 International Matches on ESPN Networks
USA at Scotland on ESPN2 and WatchESPN, Friday at 2:55 p.m. ET
Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 13, ESPN networks will combine to air 15 FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff and friendly matches in the week ahead from the CONCACAF and UEFA regions. Highlighting the schedule is the much-anticipated matchup between Mexico and New Zealand - the playoff series that pits the fourth-ranked team in CONCACAF vs. the Oceania champion - with the winner advancing to next year's World Cup in Brazil.
The first leg of the home-and-home series will be played Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and WatchESPN. Mexico is in danger of missing the World Cup for the first time since 1990, when it was disqualified for using overage players in a FIFA qualifying youth tournament. Commentator Fernando Palomo and analyst Alejandro Moreno with reporter John Sutcliffe will call both matches from the host countries - November 13 (Mexico City) and November 20 (Wellington).
Additionally, Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States Men's National team visit Scotland in a friendly on Friday, Nov. 15 (2:55 p.m., ESPN2 and WatchESPN). Commentator Ian Darke and analyst Taylor Twellman will describe the action with Alexi Lalas in the studio. Also this week across ESPN networks, Portugal and Sweden face off in a UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff that will showcase two of the world's top players - Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. ESPN Deportes will show a few additional matches on tape delay.
ESPN FC, ESPN2's soccer studio program (M-F at 5:30 p.m.; Sunday at midnight), will offer news and analysis of the international games played across the next FIFA match dates. Highlights:
· Wednesday, Nov. 13: Post-game highlights and analysis of Mexico-New Zealand with Moreno in Mexico City. Additionally, former French international and 1998 FIFA World Cup champion Frank Leboeuf will preview France's World Cup qualifying playoff with Ukraine.
· Thursday, Nov. 14: Darke and Twellman will be in the studio to preview the slate of World Cup qualifying playoff matches on Friday as well as the USMNT's friendly against Scotland.
· Friday, Nov. 15: Reaction to the World Cup qualifying matches in Europe with Twellman, Steve Nicol and Leboeuf, and a preview of the second leg of New Zealand-Mexico with Moreno in New Zealand.
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network(s)
Wed, Nov 13
3:30 p.m. Mexico vs. New Zealand ESPN / WatchESPN
Thu, Nov 14
3 p.m. Belgium vs. Colombia ^ ESPN Deportes / WatchESPN
Fri, Nov 15
2 p.m. Iceland vs. Croatia WatchESPN
2:45 p.m. Portugal vs. Sweden ESPN Deportes / WatchESPN
2:45 p.m. Ukraine vs. France WatchESPN
2:45 p.m. Greece vs. Romania WatchESPN
2:55 p.m. Scotland vs. USA ^ ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Sat, Nov 16
4 p.m. Equatorial Guinea vs. Spain ^ ESPN Deportes / WatchESPN
Tue, Nov 19
2 p.m. Romania vs. Greece WatchESPN
2 p.m. South Africa vs. Spain ^ WatchESPN
2:15 p.m. Croatia vs. Iceland WatchESPN
2:30 p.m. Netherlands vs. Colombia ^ WatchESPN
2:45 p.m. Sweden vs. Portugal ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / WatchESPN
3 p.m. France vs. Ukraine WatchESPN
Wed, Nov 20
1 a.m. New Zealand vs. Mexico ESPN / WatchESPN
^ Friendly Match