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BBC net England's World Cup 2014 opener against Italy

By Robert Jones

Published 11/12/2013

England's first World Cup group game against Italy will be shown on the BBC after the corporation agreed a deal with rival broadcaster ITV, who will show the other two group games.

The broadcasters confirmed the split of matches, with ITV also showing the tournament's first game between hosts Brazil and Croatia on Thursday June 12.

England's opener against Italy on Saturday June 14 was originally scheduled to kick off at 9pm local time, but that was moved as UK and Italian broadcasters were concerned about viewing figures as kick-off would have been at 2am in the UK and 3am in Italy.

It has now been brought forward to 6pm local time.

BBC coverage begins with Spain against Holland on Friday June 13, a repeat of the 2010 final, and the corporation will also have first pick of the round of 16 and semi-finals, whilst ITV has first pick of the quarter-finals.

Both ITV and BBC will broadcast the final on Sunday July 13, which will kick-off at 8pm UK time.

BBC head of TV sport Philip Bernie said: "We're very pleased with our selection of matches which includes England's highly anticipated opening match with Italy and their crucial first knock-out match, if they proceed, and the first pick of the semi-finals."

ITV director of sport Niall Sloane said: "The World Cup begins on ITV for UK viewers next year and we're looking forward to showing live two of England's three group matches as well as two of Brazil's, including the tournament's opening game between the hosts and Croatia in Sao Paulo."

Belfast Telegraph

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