Today: 19.07.2018
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23:36
18.07.2018

Fox Sports hasn’t missed the US during ‘most exciting’ World Cup.

What would this World Cup be without one more viewing obstacle? Thanks, England. The event seemingly has captured fan interest in the U.S., despite the fact it has been dealt blows at nearly every turn. There is the time difference between Russia and the United States, which means most games are over by the time...
Time: 20:47     Date: 12.07.2018
Last US Sport News: Fox Sports hasn’t missed the US during ‘most exciting’ World Cup. NY Post 24 - US News

The event seemingly has captured fan interest in the U.S., despite the fact it has been dealt blows at nearly every turn. There is the time difference between Russia and the United States, which means most games are over by the time fans have returned home from work. There were the Round of 16 eliminations of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, when the stars had Portugal and Argentina a game away from a head-to-head showdown. And then, on Wednesday, the love-’em or love-to-hate-’em English squad spoiled what would have been a dream final against France when it blew a 1-0 lead to Croatia.

And, of course, the biggest challenge of all was the United States not qualifying for the world’s premier soccer tournament.

“What we lost was an opportunity here stateside to carry the momentum from 2014 to capture the type of attention that we see for the Olympics from the casual fan,” SiriusXM FC host and former Olympic defender Brian Dunseth said.

Even with all that, Fox — in its first shot taking over the World Cup from ESPN — has seen its share of ratings successes.

Germany beating Sweden in the final minutes; Russia’s late header against Croatia to force penalty kicks; England breaking its penalty-kick curse after Colombia’s late equalizer — on and on it has gone.

“For me, this is the most exciting World Cup that I’ve ever seen and obviously been a part of,” said Fox Sports analyst and former U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola, who has been in Russia throughout. “From the drama on the field to the fact that we’ve realized now that the difference between the so-called ‘top teams’ and the so-called ‘lesser teams’ — the gap is so small and makes it so much fun to watch. And I think that’s why we’ve seen so many games maybe not go the way we predicted from the start. The drama and the level of play have been outstanding.”

Dunseth credits the increased visibility of European domestic leagues, which are now broadcast regularly on major cable networks, such as NBC Sports and Fox Sports.

“I think with media and social media there’s a now been a streamline of information that is readily available to soccer fans for any of the major European leagues.” Dunseth said.

“I think soccer is so much more available and the general fan base is so much more aware and on top of everything. For this World Cup, I think the curiosity of watching the best of the best and the national rivalries captured our attention. Again, though, we missed out on an even bigger opportunity with the U.S. not being a part of it. Because that momentum, that wave is something that is incomparable to anything else in the World Cup.”

France is the lone pre-Cup favorite to survive the carnage and will now go up against a Croatia squad, led by Luka Modric, that went to extra time for all three of its elimination-round victories. France is not short on star power with Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe leading it to five wins and one draw.

“Looking at the rosters, there’s no doubt there’s a bunch of superstars on that French side,” Meola said. “They’re a very young team. This is the golden generation though for Croatia, and this is the last time we’ll see this particular group in the World Cup whereas we will see this French team a few more times. They looked so good the other night, and I would have to say we give the edge to France. One, because they’re a little bit more fresh and, two, because I think they have a few more difference-makers up top.”

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