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ESPN President John Skipper says England in 'shambles' before World Cup

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - ESPN President John Skipper predicts a difficult World Cup for England.

Speaking Friday at an event to discuss his network's coverage of the tournament in Brazil, Skipper said England was in "shambles" and cited ticket sales figures released by FIFA showing that England lagged behind the United States and Australia.

"I don't know if they're in shambles, but if you read the British newspapers, the level of confidence that they're going to have an impact in this tournament is pretty low," Skipper said after the event. "That's all I was referring to. And I love the word 'shambolic.' I was trying to get that in."

ESPN announced Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be among its studio analysts in Brazil. Then managing Wigan, Martinez worked for ESPN at the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship.

Martinez will be with the network from the start of the tournament through around July 7, according to ESPN Senior Vice-President Jed Drake.

"He has to bail for the start of the Premier League," Drake said.

An ESPN promotional advertisement released Friday titled "Global Issues" ends with a reference to England's dismal penalty-kicks history in major tournaments — it has lost six of seven shootouts.

The ad, created with Wieden + Kennedy New York, includes a German butcher, a taxi driver from Ivory Coast and an Italian barber discussing the World Cup. It ends with a man with a British accent in a business suit talking in an elevator.

"If it goes to penalties, we are doomed," he says.

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