The 2018-19 European club season ended Saturday with the UEFA Champions League final, but there's no rest as we've got four international men's tournaments -- the UEFA Nations League (June 5-9, ESPN and ESPN2), the Copa America (June 14-July 7, ESPN+), the Gold Cup (June 15-July 7) and the Africa Cup of Nations (June 21-July 19) -- and the Women's World Cup (June 7-July 7) over the next six weeks. We've got a serious East Coast bias in the times below, but adjust accordingly. Here's what you need to know so you can plan your summer.
The days to binge-watchJune 9
The day kicks off with the Women's World Cup as three powerhouses -- Italy, Brazil and England -- take the field for their tournament openers against Australia (7 a.m. ET), Jamaica (9:30 a.m. ET) and Scotland (noon ET), respectively. It'll be a particular test for England, who are expected to challenge for the title and can't afford an early slip-up to their northern neighbors. In the middle is the UEFA Nations League (2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN) final as one of England, Netherlands, Portugal or Switzerland will emerge victorious.June 11
It's a strong day for the Women's World Cup as the defending champion U.S. women kick off their campaign with what should be a winnable game vs. Thailand (3 p.m. ET). Will Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and the rest of Jill Ellis' strong squad begin with an emphatic victory? Earlier in the day, the underdog Netherlands faces New Zealand (9 a.m. ET) as it hopes to spring a major upset in France this summer.June 18
A good day to sleep in and prepare for a long night in front of the TV. First up, Marta and Brazil complete their group-stage games in the Women's World Cup against Italy (3 p.m. ET) before the Selecao men take the field against an impressive underdog, Venezuela, in the Copa America (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+). Don't expect a break, though: The U.S. men begin their Gold Cup campaign against minnows Guyana (10:06 p.m. ET), with Christian Pulisic & Co. expected to get the new era underway with a win.June 22
The U.S. famously missed the 2018 World Cup after losing at Trinidad & Tobago in November 2017; this marks its first shot at revenge over the Soca Warriors in the Gold Cup group stage (8:06 p.m. ET). You'd expect them to get it, too, based on the early going under Gregg Berhalter. Before that, you can catch Brazil in action against Peru in the Copa America (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+) as well as the start of the Women's World Cup round of 16, with games at 11:30 a.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET to keep you going. (Hungry for more? MLS has five matches on tap on ESPN+, including Cincinnati vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. ET.)June 29
It's getting serious in all four big tournaments as this day has a whopping eight games to keep an eye on. You've got two Women's World Cup quarterfinals (9 a.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. ET), a Copa America quarterfinal (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+), two Gold Cup quarterfinals (7:06 p.m. ET, 10:06 p.m. ET) and three African Nations Cup games, including Cameroon vs. Ghana (1 p.m. ET). Stay hydrated and remember to stretch at regular intervals! Eight games not enough? There are nine MLS matches on the air, including Minnesota vs. Cincinnati at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN, champions Atlanta vs. Montreal at 5 p.m. on ESPN+ and a nightcap with San Jose vs. LA Galaxy at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.July 2
Three competitions reach a crucial point as we get a semifinal in the Women's World Cup (3 p.m. ET), Copa America (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+) and Gold Cup (10:36 p.m. ET), along with four African Nations Cup clashes (two at noon ET, two at 3 p.m. ET) to round out their group stage.July 7
We're calling this "The Day of Finals," as winners get crowned in the Women's World Cup (11 a.m. ET), Copa America (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+) and Gold Cup (9:15 p.m. ET). Plus the African Nations Cup hits the round of 16 with two games in the mix, but that obscures the most tantalizing point: We could see two U.S. teams lifting trophies in the span of 12 hours. How often does that happen?July 19
Just when you think you've finally relaxed following that six-week stretch of world-class international soccer, along comes the latest installment of El Trafico, Major League Soccer's red-hot rivalry between O.G. franchise LA Galaxy and newcomers LAFC (10 p.m. ET, ESPN). This one should be a doozy as a pair of MVP front-runners go head-to-head: Zlatan for the Galaxy and Carlos Vela for LAFC. Remember Ibra's MLS debut, which happened to be in this fixture? Yeah. Buckle up for what promises to be a wild ride.
Worried about keeping up from day to day? Our scores page will have you covered for kickoff times, results and match reports from every single game: Click here
U.S.-Mexico rivalry resumes
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is a bit of a Groundhog Day tournament: There's some fun action in the group stage, but in the end, Mexico (seven wins) or the USA (six) takes home the prize. (Only one Gold Cup has been won by another nation, when Canada shocked the continent in 2000.) Given the power of their animosity at times through the years -- dos a cero, anyone? -- it's a driving force for North America's top competition. Yet this year's edition could be intriguing given that both teams look a lot different in 2019.
There's no Carlos Vela or Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez for Mexico, meaning Premier League star Raul Jimenez, who managed double-digit goals for Wolves this season, will lead the line. Equally, the U.S. will have veterans such as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore but pin most of its hopes on the electrifying Christian Pulisic, who has wrapped up his Borussia Dortmund career and joined his new club, Chelsea.
Both rivals have new managers in 2019 -- MLS Cup winner "Tata" Martino for Mexico, former Columbus Crew boss Gregg Berhalter for the U.S. -- and will be hoping to begin the road to the 2022 World Cup with victory in the Gold Cup. Anything less will be considered a failure.
You can track all the CONCACAF Gold Cup action -- from June 15 to July 7 -- here including fixtures, features, match reports and more: Homepage
Will Messi or Brazil finally win?
Lionel Messi is no stranger to silverware. He has won just about every major title for his club as well as five Ballons d'Or, a prize awarded to the player of the year in all of soccer. And yet the one thing to elude the GOAT is a trophy for his country, Argentina. He has been to four finals with the Albiceleste -- three Copa Americas plus the 2014 World Cup -- and lost them all. (He does have an Olympic gold medal, but that's a JV accomplishment.) With 65 international goals and 41 assists, it's not for a lack of trying.
Standing in his way this time, we presume, are Brazil, who are equally desperate to end a frustrating streak of futility on the international stage. The Copa America hosts (watch all the action on ESPN+) see themselves as the home of superior soccer and yet hosting events hasn't really gone their way in the modern era. (The last time Brazil hosted a major tournament, they lost 7-1 to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinal.) The Selecao are under pressure to deliver at home, especially when they haven't gone beyond the quarterfinals since their last victory in 2007. Their prospects became more uncertain in light of the recent news that Neymar, who was accused of raping a woman in Paris last month, will now miss the entire tournament due to an ankle injury suffered in a warm-up game.
Other contenders will be the always dangerous Uruguay, blessed with a hard-as-nails defense and potent attack, as well as two-time defending champions Chile, who are in transition but carry many of the squad that have been here and won it before. Colombia have James Rodriguez and a chip on their shoulders.
The entire Copa America -- June 14 to July 7 -- will be live in the U.S. on ESPN+. Here is where you can catch all the action: Watch here
The end of this USWNT era?
The U.S. exorcised its World Cup ghosts in 2015, reclaiming the title for the first time since 1999. One generation escaped the shadow of its predecessors then, but a similar transition could happen in France this summer. Can this squad be as good as the ones that came before? This summer isn't about the past, notwithstanding an opportunity to win back-to-back titles for the first time and match the World Cup titles won by the rest of the world combined. The question for this team is whether it can stay on top as the rest of the world catches up.
Coach Jill Ellis is at a crossroads, with the established stars such as Megan Rapinoe (150 appearances), Carli Lloyd (271) and Alex Morgan (101 goals in 160 appearances) alongside next-generation talent including Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle and Abby Dahlkemper. Given the generational shift, the U.S. roster will be heavy on first-timers at this level: 11 players of the 23-strong squad will be experiencing their first World Cup. The attempt to maintain the traditional attacking ethos while bringing in the next generation of talent has looked promising at times, as in last summer's Tournament of Nations, and incomplete at others, a January loss to France.
This group -- still No. 1 in the FIFA rankings -- will face a real battle to hold its own against the challenge posed by Germany and England, not to mention the presence of generational talent such as Brazil's eternal striker, Marta, Canada forward Christine Sinclair and Australia's Sam Kerr. Oh, and the hosts are no slouches either, led by the effervescent duo of Eugenie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry.
You can track all the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 action -- from June 7 to July 7 -- here including fixtures, features, match reports and more: World Cup homepage
England's trophy quest continues
It's been a long time since the Three Lions won anything -- go all the way back to the 1966 World Cup -- and the hope had been that this current crop of talent would finally add to the dusty trophy cabinet in this summer's first-ever UEFA Nations League finals (the semifinals and third-place game on ESPN2, the final on ESPN). Much of the squad that came within minutes of reaching last summer's World Cup final is here, including Manchester City's MVP, Raheem Sterling, while leading scorer Harry Kane should be back to full fitness having been out of action since mid-April following a serious ankle injury. They're a young team -- no player has more than 50 national-team appearances -- and with the likes of Liverpool's tyro defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, fearless winger Jadon Sancho and cheeky playmaker Dele Alli in tow, coach Gareth Southgate were expecting to emerge from this four-team finals with a prize.
Unfortunately, they couldn't get beyond the Netherlands in the semifinal, a team still finding its footing with young talent but blessed with plenty of individuals -- Frenkie De Jong, Matthijs De Ligt and Memphis Depay, to name just three -- who made the difference in Thursday's 3-1 defeat after extra time. Sunday's final still has plenty of fireworks as hosts Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo (who scored a hat-trick against Switzerland in the semifinal) and his eventual successor, Joao Felix, take on the Dutch.
The UEFA Nations League finals -- June 5 to June 9 -- can be seen in its entirety on ESPN2 and ESPN, beginning with Portugal vs. Switzerland on June 5: Watch here
Global stars do battle
The 2019 edition in Egypt has plenty of star power fresh from brilliant seasons at some of world soccer's best clubs, particularly from the Premier League. There's the Liverpool trio of Mo Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Naby Keita (Guinea), Man City's Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria) and Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi (Nigeria) to watch for, as well as Tottenham's all-doing midfielder Victor Wanyama (Kenya).
Seven-time winners and tournament hosts Egypt will be expected to win it all, but don't count out Nigeria (last win: 2013), defending champions Cameroon or perennial contenders Ghana this summer.