The broadcast schedule for the 2010 World Cup has today been confirmed, with the BBC and ITV announcing an agreed split of matches.
As part of the deal, ITV will broadcast England's first two group-stage games, against the USA and Algeria, as well as the opening match between South Africa and Mexico on June 11th.
England's first two games - taking place on Saturday June 12th and Friday June 18th - are both 7:30pm kick offs, and are expected to attract huge television audiences for ITV.
Following those ties, England coverage will switch to the BBC, who will pick up England's third group game against Slovenia on Wednesday June 23rd. Should Capello's team progress past the group stage, the BBC will then have first pick of the last-16 and quarter-final stages, enabling it to show at least two more England games.
England haven't progressed to the semi-final stage for two decades, but if it were to happen, the round-of-four tie would be shown by both the BBC and ITV.
The World Cup final, scheduled to take place at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on July 11th - a month after the competition gets underway - will also be broadcast on both channels, irrespective of which teams are featured.
Both the BBC and ITV have already confirmed that the vast majority of the 64 World Cup games will be shown in high definition on either BBC HD or ITV1 HD. However, due to the condensed schedule earlier in the competition, eight group-stage matches are expected to be shown in standard definition on BBC interactive or ITV2, ITV3 or ITV4. The BBC and ITV will also stream their games live on the Internet.
Commenting on the split of games, BBC head of TV sport has said "the BBC are very happy with how the TV split of matches for the World cup has been resolved."
"The BBC has some of the most appetising of the group fixtures, and will be showing live every England match from their final group game onwards, so we hope to be with them for a long and successful campaign. The BBC will aim again to capture the very best of the biggest event of the year across all its outlets, on TV, on radio and online."
ITV's controller of sport Niall Sloane, meanwhile, has stated that "we're delighted that ITV will kick off coverage of this summer's World Cup and that England's two opening games will be shown live on ITV1 in peak time."
"There is no bigger event on UK television or online than the World Cup and ITV will be at the heart of the action from the first kick through to the final whistle."
With the majority of the UK expected to be able to tune in to the 2010 World Cup in high definition via Freeview or other providers, analysts are predicting a surge in TV sales in the weeks leading up to the event. Prior to the 2006 World Cup, UK consumers were found to be purchasing a flat panel TV every 1.7 seconds in the week leading up to kick off.
The complete group-stage schedule for the 2010 World Cup is detailed in the below table.
|Friday, June 11||1500||South Africa v Mexico||ITV||Johannesburg Soccer City|
|1930||Uruguay v France||BBC||Cape Town|
|Saturday, June 12||1230||South Korea v Greece||ITV||Port Elizabeth|
|1500||Argentina v Nigeria||BBC||Johannesburg Ellis Park|
|1930||England v USA||ITV||Rustenburg|
|Sunday, June 13||1230||Algeria v Slovenia||BBC||Polokwane|
|1500||Serbia v Ghana||ITV||Pretoria|
|1930||Germany v Australia||ITV||Durban|
|Monday, June 14||1230||Netherlands v Denmark||ITV||Johannesburg Soccer City|
|1500||Japan v Cameroon||BBC||Bloemfontein|
|1930||Italy v Paraguay||BBC||Cape Town|
|Tuesday, June 15||1230||New Zealand v Slovakia||BBC||Rustenburg|
|1500||Ivory Coast v Portugal||ITV||Port Elizabeth|
|1930||Brazil v North Korea||ITV||Johannesburg Ellis Park|
|Wednesday, June 16||1230||Honduras v Chile||ITV||Nelspruit|
|1500||Spain v Switzerland||BBC||Durban|
|1930||South Africa v Uruguay||BBC||Pretoria|
|Thursday, June 17||1230||Argentina v South Korea||ITV||Johannesburg Soccer City|
|1500||Greece v Nigeria||BBC||Bloemfontein|
|1930||France v Mexico||BBC||Polkowane|
|Friday, June 18||1230||Germany v Serbia||BBC||Port Elizabeth|
|1500||Slovenia v USA||BBC||Johannesburg Ellis Park|
|1930||England v Algeria||ITV||Cape Town|
|Saturday, June 19||1230||Netherlands v Japan||ITV||Durban|
|1500||Ghana v Australia||BBC||Rustenburg|
|1930||Cameroon v Denmark||ITV||Pretoria|
|Sunday, June 20||1230||Slovakia v Paraguay||BBC||Bloemfontein|
|1500||Italy v New Zealand||ITV||Nelspruit|
|1930||Brazil v Ivory Coast||BBC||Johannesburg Soccer City|
|Monday, June 21||1230||Portugal v North Korea||BBC||Cape Town|
|1500||Chile v Switzerland||BBC||Port Elizabeth|
|1930||Spain v Honduras||ITV||Johannesburg Ellis Park|
|Tuesday, June 22||1500||Mexico v Uruguay||ITV||Rustenburg|
|1500||France v South Africa||ITV||Bloemfontein|
|1930||Nigeria v South Korea||BBC||Durban|
|1930||Greece v Argentina||BBC||Polkowane|
|Wednesday, June 23||1500||Slovenia v England||BBC||Port Elizabeth|
|1500||USA v Algeria||BBC||Pretoria|
|1930||Australia v Serbia||ITV||Nelspruit|
|1930||Ghana v Germany||ITV||Johannesburg Soccer City|
|Thursday, June 24||1500||Slovakia v Italy||ITV||Johannesburg Ellis Park|
|1500||Paraguay v New Zealand||ITV||Polokwane|
|1930||Denmark v Japan||BBC||Rustenburg|
|1930||Cameroon v Holland||BBC||Cape Town|
|Friday, June 25||1500||Portugal v Brazil||BBC||Durban|
|1500||North Korea v Ivory Coast||BBC||Nelspruit|
|1930||Chile v Spain||ITV||Pretoria|
|1930||Switzerland v Honduras||ITV||Bloemfontein|