Speaking With Andrés Cantor, Whose “Gooooooal” Call Is the Soundtrack to the World Cup
We chatted with the Argentina-born announcer who became a phenomenon in America during the World Cup in '94
On November 20, the men’s World Cup returns, and with it certain traditions. For countless soccer fans, Andrés Cantor will be an indispensable part of their soundtrack for a month, somebody who links generations, who gives casual fans a reason to celebrate with his iconic, never-ending “Goooal!” call.
In October, InsideHook spoke with Argentina-born Cantor, who was promoting the World Cup for Telemundo and Peacock on top of calling Premier League games.
InsideHook: Where are you in your preparation for calling the games in a month?
Andrés Cantor: Probably at the same stage where the coaches are, which is hoping everyone gets to the World Cup healthy. I have watched enough games of the national teams that I will be covering in about a month. Now I have to wait for the final rosters to be released and then go over the final notes and see if they’ve changed anything in terms of formations, tactics, et cetera. But obviously, I get to watch on the weekend, not only the games that I broadcast from the Premier League, but I get to watch the Italian League, Germany, Spain…to make sure that I get to see the players perform on their clubs and then take notes on how they play in comparison to the national team.
Is that too much soccer?
It’s never too much soccer. I love the sport. I can watch four games or five games a day. I really love it. I always find something very interesting. And it serves also as homework for the major tournaments we cover on Telemundo.
Has the job gotten any easier?
No, to the contrary, it is gotten that much harder. This will be my 12th World Cup. When I started on television it was almost in black and white. It was standard definition. The game was televised with probably no more than eight cameras. Now every World Cup game has 32 cameras. There’s a tremendous amount of detail that sometimes from the booth where I’m at — which is really, really high up — I don’t get to see. Even though it’s awesome to be on-site, you also have the consideration of what people are seeing at home.
When I’m in the booth, I usually like to see the game as my eyes see it. But with the 32 cameras, it’s really hard because there’s so much detail that usually I will miss a couple of thing. It’s gotten easier in the sense that there are many more resources to get information. And the preparation has gotten easier. But in the sense of the play-by-play, it has not. It has really gotten harder.
Many people know you for your goal call. Does it bother you that people know you more for that than for the other things you do as an announcer?
It doesn’t bother me. It’s great to be recognized for the way I call the goal. But I have lots of recognition, [for] the intensity and the passion that I put behind every game that I broadcast and the information that I bring and the analysis I bring my audience. I’m not your regular, typical play-by-play guy that will just give out the names. I’m very opinionated on air. I analyze the game as much as my color commentator. People do realize that and they appreciate it every time. Obviously, I get, “Hey, aren’t you the goal guy?” And I say, “Yeah, I’m the goal guy.”
To get to that goal they have to be watching, so I’m happy for that.
How do you keep that passion up after so many years in the booth?
Because I love the game. Soccer is my life. I breathe soccer. I sleep soccer. I mean, soccer has been part of my life since I was a little kid playing it, trying to make it into the big leagues. The day that I will not be enthusiastic about going into the studio or to the stadium calling a game, I’ll start worrying. For now, give me five games a day and I’ll watch ‘em.
What are your other passions?
In terms of sports, I like the NBA. I like boxing. I like tennis. I like to relax on the beach. I try to disconnect from time to time whenever I can, even though, when I’m away, I’ll probably find a place to watch a game or a tablet to watch a game here or there. I can’t disconnect fully.
Does it bother your friends and family that you have one eye on the game?
They are so used to it. Even though everyone kind of understands, I have to do Soccer 101. My wife keeps asking me, “Didn’t you watch a game yesterday?” “Yeah. But that was for a different tournament.” And then the next day I watch another game. Again, “Didn’t you watch it yesterday?” “Yeah, but that was Champions League. This is just the league tournament.” Unfortunately, I have missed many gatherings. If I need to stay home to watch a game, I’d rather do it live and take notes and do my homework or if my team is playing I’ll watch it wherever I am. As a matter of fact, I’m watching it now.
Wait, just so I’m clear: you’re talking to me, but you’re watching a game right now?
I’m paying full attention to you, Pete, but I have my Boca Juniors game on in the background. I can’t analyze it for you because I’m talking to you and fully concentrating on the interview, but we’re eight minutes away from winning and one match day away from winning the tournament in Argentina.
For those who are skeptical about soccer what would you say to convince them to try watching a game?
This is a sport that is played with the feet. It’s played nonstop. There are no timeouts. In the NBA, the NFL, you play for 17 seconds and then you take a breather. Here it’s nonstop action from the first whistle until the 90th minute. So I think people need to appreciate what type of athletes they’re watching. They’re incredible athletes to be on the soccer pitch for 90 minutes, and think so fast and it’s so quick. To the haters, if you will, who say, “Oh, it’s a low-scoring game,” I invite you to count every goal by seven. Then a 2-1 game is 14-7 or a 3-1 game is 21-7. Is that low-scoring in football? No.
What’s the one thing about soccer you love the most?
I love the intensity. Pretty much everything about the game. I think it’s rich tactically. And I like the individual skills of the players—the fact that they play nonstop; they’re great athletes. And, obviously, the fandom around the world. I think it’s unsurpassed. I mean, the atmosphere at a soccer stadium, the electricity that you feel when there’s a big game is unrivaled to any sport. I’ve been to the NBA Finals. I’ve been to Super Bowls. I’ve been to the Olympics. Watch an Argentina-Brazil game in a World Cup: You will not get any, any better feeling than that.
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