CBC providing wall-to-wall coverage

A television camera is placed on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 13, 2014....

A television camera is placed on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 13, 2014. (REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

Fred Rinne, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:06 PM ET

While Canada won't have a pitch presence in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the event certainly will have its usual fragrant flavour in this country.

There's nothing quite like a World Cup; the way it resonates with our multicultural heritage, unlike any other country in the world.

And this time, it is CBC's show to share across the land on more platforms and in more ways than it ever has before.

Paul McDougall is the executive producer of CBC's FIFA 2014 coverage which will capture the world's most popular sporting tournament from the first kick between host Brazil and opponents Croatia on June 12, right through to the final in Rio on July 13.

"Covering a World Cup in Canada is unlike any other sporting experience," says McDougall. "Everyone is engaged; they have their teams ... from the little bar outside of Winnipeg to communities across the country, the bar in Little Italy in Toronto... just because Canada doesn't have a team, the passion for the game still resonates. It's wonderful."

CBC veteran hosts Scott Russell and Andi Petrillo will anchor from studio with longtime broadcaster Nigel Reed, international players John Collins of Scotland (Hibernian, Celtic, AS Monaco, Everton and Fulham) and renowned Canada keeper Craig Forrest (West Ham, Ipswich, Chelsea). Canadian women's team head coach John Herdman rounds out the Toronto team.

The beauty of this event, says McDougall, is the one-hour time-zone variance from Brazil to North America.

"We haven't seen this kind of advantage since probably USA '94," says McDougall.

Petrillo will host the morning show and game while Russell will host the afternoon and early evening games which Scott will host. A daily wrap-up show will summarize the day's action and preview the next day's games.

BBC commentators including Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson, Jonathan Pearce, Simon Brotherton and Steve Bower, will bring their usual expertise to Canadian soccer fans.

BBC/ITV has added a star-studded group of colour commentators on-site as well, including Martin Keown, Phil Neville, Danny Murphy and Robbie Savage.

"To put three or four play-by-play crews on the ground in Brazil just did not make sense," McDougall said.

But there will be a Canadian presence on the ground to bring a unique perspective to our nation's viewers. Brenda Irving, who was in Brazil for the 2013 Confederations Cup, will be roving the main venues during the event filing feature stories. David Amber will be rooted at Copacabana Beach in Rio doing the same.

Because of the wall-to-wall coverage of games, some of the matches will migrate to Rogers Sportnet platforms as broadcast partners for the event.

This is a moving target in some ways, says McDougall, primarily because there is a real chance that the culmination of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the opening of the tourney overlap.

It is a classic case of "check your local listings."

The increasing growth of social media and multi-platform coverage options is very much in play for the CBC and the tournament in general.

Online viewers will have an option of customizing camera angles and replay options; the ability to isolate on star players with a variance of 6-10 specific and unique looks.

"You can actually go back and look at the same goal from a half-dozen angles at least, so it's very user-friendly," says McDougall.

"We're really looking forward to bringing this unique celebration of soccer to Canadians in ways it has never been done before."

RUSSELL READY FOR MARATHON

A veteran of six major international soccer tournaments, including South Africa 2010, Scott Russell is a familiar face and voice for Canadian viewers.

The affable broadcaster has a genuine love and appreciation for the beautiful game and looks forward to the marathon ahead of him.

"Absolutely, it's about pacing and routine," Russell said.

"I'm a runner and I live in the (Toronto) Beaches area, so each morning I'll get up and run into the studio, we have a dressing room and shower and such, and I'll watch the morning show with Andi (Petrillo), tee up the afternoon and the rest of the day and do that essentially every day for 31 days," he laughs.

Russell said he is looking forward to a month of amazing story lines.

"No European team has ever won this thing in South America and I think it will be tough this time too," he said, with the caveat that if any European team has that 'swagger,' it is likely the Germans.

"I think with (Bastian) Schweinsteiger, (Mesut) Özil, Miroslav (Klose), (Lukas) Podolski, (Thomas) Müller, they are probably the best hope, but I still think we're looking at a South American team," said Russell.

If there is a surprise team out there Scott, who might that be?

"I really think the Americans can make some noise here. They have solid goaltending, (Toronto FC's) Michael Bradley is an amazing midfielder, and Landon Donovan can't even make the squad, so it will be interesting to see what Jürgen Klinsmann can do here," he said.

Having said that, pressed for a pick, Russell agrees with the assessment of many pundits -- a Brazil/Argentina final in Rio.

"Lionel Messi is an amazing talent," he said. "But I have to like Brazil to win, Neymar, Hulk, and Fred..., a lot of pressure but I think they'll do it."


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