At 1:30 p.m. Sunday on ABC, the month-long World Cup will come to an end with Spain and the Netherlands facing off in the final. By every measure -- ratings, production and entertainment value -- ESPN has exceeded expectations in their coverage of the 2010 World Cup.

The soccer community and the casual fans haven't given such high marks for World Cup coverage on an American broadcast since NBC's broadcast of the 1966 final -- the first time a Cup final was aired in the U.S.

Soccer fans are a tough group to please but the gang at ESPN who took their lumps for 2006 World Cup coverage have learned from their mistakes and put together a first class broadcast.

Thursday morning via conference call from Johannesburg, I spoke to ESPN Executive Producer Jed Drake and lead play by play man Martin Tyler about how they felt things have gone in South Africa.

From a production standpoint you have to be pleased with the networks World Cup coverage?

Drake » "When you draw things up years in advance there is a vision of what things will look like and then to see things fall into place is just great. The 200-plus person production team that worked with us here has outdone themselves. Everyone of our on-air talent has stepped up and has been amazing. What is satisfying is that the ratings have been good and the viewer feedback has been so positive. This is a labor of love for all of us so to know that viewers liked our work is so very special."

Martin did you have any idea that American fans would be so supportive of your work as the lead play by play man?

Tyler » "To be honest I don't read reviews -- good or bad -- till after the World Cup Final, so I am simply there calling the games. Look, at the end of the day, if the games are not compelling then it does not matter who the broadcaster is or what country they are from. We have been blessed with games that have been exciting, full of drama and certainly had their share of controversy. I expect that the final will not disappoint us and that both Spain and the Netherlands will be putting a grand show for all of us and I am honored to be calling the game."

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!