ESPN Kicks Off Pair Of World Cup Features

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup less than 40 days out, ESPN is kicking it up a notch in front of the world's most popular sporting event.

The English-language Cup rights-holder in the States, which has been running hard with its Bono-U2-led marketing campaign, today will unveil preview vignettes of all 32 squads competing for the championship in South Africa from June 11 through July 11. Each vignette, voiced by Beninese-American actor Djimon Gaston Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Amistad), looks at the team and the nation involved and include an X-and-Os analysis of the side's strengths and weaknesses. 

The content, which will air during SportsCenter, begins with a look at the host nation, followed, appropriately enough by Mexico on Cinco de Mayo. Ghana, France, Uruguay, Spain, Hnduras and Switzerland will air from May 6 through May 11, respectively.

On May 3, ESPN began its "I Scored A Goal" project -- debuting in ESPN2's First Take -- featuring interviews with most of the 34 men who have scored a goal in the FIFA World Cup title match. Argentine Mario Kempes, who scored a pair of goals in the host team's 3-1 win over The Netherlands, was first up. Today, ESPN will showcase France's Emmanuel Petit (1998), West Germany's Paul Breitner (1982) on May 5, Brazil's Amarildo Tavares de Silveira (1962) on May 6  and Italy's Roberto Boninsegna (1970) on May 7.
ESPN officials aspired to get all of the men who have scored in the FIFA final, but said previously that they had encountered difficulty in gaining some interviews as some would only participate in exchange for compensation.