Silva and Van Nistelrooy join ESPN for World Cup

The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Gilberto Silva, who helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, and veteran Dutch player Ruud van Nistelrooy will work as studio analysts during ESPN's World Cup coverage.

The network said Saturday that the duo will appear on pre-match, halftime and post-match shows, as well as World Cup-themed news and information shows throughout the month-long tournament that begins June 12.

Silva and van Nistelrooy join a mix of former pros and national team players working as analysts, including Americans Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman, and Michael Ballack of Germany, Steve McManaman of England and Santiago Solari of Argentina.

The network will announce specific assignments later.

ESPN is going soccer-specific for a new version of its ''30 for 30'' film series starting in April.

Two feature-length films and six 30-minute documentaries make up ''30 for 30: Soccer Stories.'' Ten vignettes about Brazilian culture also will be sprinkled throughout the network's World Cup programming.

Among the shorter films is ''Maradona '86,'' about the Argentine soccer star who captained his nation to victory that year. Hollywood producer Brett Ratner switches to the sports world to direct ''Mysteries of the Jules Rimet Trophy,'' about a Nazi plan to steal the sports prize from Italy during World War II.

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