It’s a major event every four years, and it gets people around the world watching intensely. No, not the Olympics, not the ever-contentious US presidential elections, and not your favorite action-franchise sequel. It’s the World Cup, the preeminent men’s soccer tournament where 32 international teams battle it out over a month of matches for a big gold trophy and bragging rights as truly the world’s best team. This year, the tournament officially gets started June 12th with a match pitting host country Brazil against Croatia, and runs to the championship match on July 13th.
Serious fútbol fans have likely stocked up their mobile devices and browsers with everything they need to follow the trophy quest. If you’re new to the sport or just starting to follow it closely, you can find everything you need to know to keep up with the Cup on the Internet. Several third-party apps for following the sport are available in your local app store, but the people running the show (and the TV networks that will be broadcasting the event) have a bit of an edge when it comes to news, photos, and videos from the matches.
For example, FIFA, or Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is the sport’s governing body and offers its official mobile apps for Android and iOS on its site (shown below). The FIFA site also has a PDF of the match schedules you can download of you like hard copy.
For those watching the international news, it should be noted that FIFA is having its share of controversy these days with allegations of match-fixing in the 2010 World Cup played in South Africa, and bribes made to FIFA officials to vote for Qatar as the host of the 2022 tournament. Social unrest over the cost of hosting the tournament and treatment of indigenous people are making headlines in Brazil as well, but the country’s leaders say the games will go on safely.
Here in the States, ESPN and its assorted sibling networks will be carrying the tournament in full. According to Sports Illustrated, “All 64 matches of the World Cup will be broadcast live and in high definition on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 in English, and on Univision broadcast and cable networks in Spanish.”
If you aren’t home or near a sports bar to watch, all 64 matches on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ABC will also be available on computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices through WatchESPN. If you’re not familiar with it, the WatchESPN app (shown below) is a TV streamer and you can get it for Android and Kindle Fire devices, Roku set-top boxes, iOS gadgets and the Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV box and Windows 8. (You do need a cable subscription and login from your service provider to make full use of the app.)
ESPN has also spiffed up its website for the occasion, rolling out its ESPNFC.com to cover the 2014 World Cup and other international football matches. And where you’ve got desktop, you’ve got mobile apps, at least for the major platforms. You can get the ESPN FC app (shown below) for Android, iOS, Ovi, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. The UK versions are here.
The Univision Deportes app for Android (shown below) and iOS promises live streaming and 24/7 World Cup coverage, as well as other international league play after the big event. You can use the app in either Spanish or English.