Soccer fans, prepare for sensory overload. The 2014 World Cup is right around the corner and like the NCAA’s March Madness tournament, it’s about to live on all your televisions, computers, and radios. Over the next month, 32 teams will square off for international football supremacy and bragging rights for the next four years.
2014’s iteration of the massive tournament took its talents south of the equator to sunny and tropical Brazil. For American viewers this means no waking up at 2AM to catch the US Men’s National Team in action since Brazil is just one hour ahead of EST. Unfortunately — for your bosses at least — you’ll have to take in all the soccer action from the comfort of your own work desk.
And you thought you had a slow March?
With 64 total matches on tap for the upcoming tournament — 5,760 minutes of action, plus stoppage time! — get prepared to hear a whole lot of “Ole!” chants. To help you keep track of all the chants, penalty kicks, and highlight-reel bicycle kicks we’ve found the best ways to take in the World Cup online. What follows are streaming sites, radio feeds, and the web pages devoted to covering the upcoming soccer tournament. So get comfortable, put on your candy cane striped USMNT jersey, and set up a second screen at work; it’s World Cup time.
For a quick list of all the group stage matches visit FIFA’s interactive match calender. For an easy-to-read schedule complete with all broadcast stations and times, check out Wait But Why’s simple breakdown.
Though ESPN is championing the bulk of World Cup coverage, its sister station ABC plans to stream games during the weekends. The Watch ABC site isn’t available everywhere, but it takes just a few seconds to check your availability through the site. If offered, you’ll have access to the same video feed, announcers, and matchups airing on ABC on Saturdays and Sundays.
ESPN, ESPN 2, and ABC will stream all 64 matches of the World Cup for unprecedented coverage. Cable subscribers have access to all 64 of the matches through ESPN’s streaming service Watch ESPN. ESPN’s streaming content is accessible via smartphones, tablets, Xbox Live (with an Xbox Live Gold membership), Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. To top it all off, the legendary Ian Darke is ESPN’s head game-caller for the entire tournament.
While ABC/ESPN have the English-language broadcast rights in the US, Univision owns the Spanish-language broadcast rights for all the World Cup games. They plan to show 56 live matches and have 24 hour content rolling out to viewers the day the tournament starts. Though the content streams in Spanish, Univision is delivering more content out of Brazil than any other domestic network not named ESPN or ABC. Fans have unlimited access to Univision’s content until the final rounds when you’ll need a paid subscription to continue viewing.
Both ITV and BBC are European based services though each site offers a wealth of World Cup content. BBC Sport features a wide variety of videos and coverage, though to no surprise it’s mainly themed around England’s national team. In addition to the planned 31 streamed games, BBC also offers a slew of live coverage and highlights. ITV Player is like Hulu for the UK though it does require a proper UK zip code to watch. It plans on streaming 34 total World Cup matches including 20 group stage games and 14 knockout stage matches.
Next page: More resources for watching the 2014 World Cup…
Questionable streaming sites
There exist a wide variety of online streaming sites which grant access to many live sporting events. Even though these sites provide largely unrestricted streaming, keep in mind that most come packed with spam and pop-up windows. This can be frustrating for most users but with some patience you’d have access to every World Cup game. We don’t recommend heavy use of these streaming sites as even the slightest miscalculated click can infect your computer with a nasty virus.
Once you find these streaming sites on the Web you’ll notice the deep selection of games available to you, though you often sacrifice access for quality. Sites like First Row Sports, Justin.tv, or VIPBox Sports are some of the most popular when it comes to streaming sporting events online. While these might be of use, the hassle of avoiding spam and dealing with low quality playback often make these services more of an inconvenience than a help.
Note: As a rule of thumb never click on any link which asks you to download any HD Players, update your streaming software, or to install any “required” media players. These are often just spam links which could infect your computer with viruses.
For anything and everything Brazil 2014, look no further than FIFA’s official website. It’s an excellent source for match times — it even syncs up with your local time — and information on every team in the tournament. Clicking on a matchup shows the results of the two team’s head-to-head matches played, goals scored in those matchups, and shows the “Man of the Match” once the World Cup game has concluded. A perfect resource for keeping up to date on all the happenings in Brazil.
Created using the Shorthand program, the FourFourTwo World Cup guide is a beautifully constructed online information manual. The site features in-depth analysis of each team, its key players to watch, the top players in the tournament, and information for each venue. Even with the large amount of information, navigating the site is a breeze as well as a load of fun.
Like everything else on the smorgasbord-style site Reddit, an abundance of interesting content exists for soccer fans. While it’s all user-generated, the site relies on a number of moderators to assure the information shared is relevant, newsworthy, and fitting. Users may post links to various streaming sites, keep the page updated with current scores, and might even post pictures of the World Cup games themselves. It’s a worthwhile resource for all things soccer, but be careful: you can easily waste an entire weekend perusing the site.
Sometimes listening to game action via a radio creates excitement far beyond a video feed. Listening to the announcer’s voice fluctuate with what’s happening on the pitch as it crescendos to an incredibly long “goooooooooooooooooal” is priceless. ESPN’s radio site plans to broadcast all 64 matches of the World Cup and the best part is it’s free.
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