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How to follow World Cup beyond live TV


Published:   |   Updated: June 26, 2014 at 12:22 PM

There has been surgering interest in the U.S. for World Cup soccer during the Americans’ first two games in Brazil. However, both matches kicked off at favorable times for watching on television back home.

The Americans’ group finale today is smack in the middle of the workday. The match against Germany, which could determine whether they advance to the knockout round, started at noon.

Every World Cup game is being shown on television (ESPN, Univision) and online in the U.S., but many will require a cable or satellite TV subscription, even for Internet streaming. What if you don’t have one?

Good news: In 2014, there are more apps and other options than ever before. As the World Cup transitions into the knockout stages, here’s a look at how to keep up on everything to do with the tournament in Brazil, including today’s U.S.-Germany match.

UNIVISION STREAMING

To stream games online using ESPN’s website or app, viewers need a cable or satellite TV subscription. It’s not enough to have Internet service through the cable provider.

But there is another way to watch for free – legally.

Spanish-language channel Univision is World Cup games for free on its website and Deporte app. The commentary, of course, will be in Spanish.

Keep in mind, games on Univision will require a cable or satellite subscription once the quarterfinals begin on July 4.

RADIO

ESPN Radio and Sirius XM are broadcasting all games over the radio. In Tampa, WDAE (620 AM) will have the game. Sirius requires a satellite radio subscription.

This might be handy if you are watching the game on Univision but want to hear English-language commentary, though Internet streams can run a minute or so behind the broadcast.

APPS

There is a wide array of smartphone apps to help World Cup fans.

The official FIFA app for Apple and Android phones gives you real-time updates of all games, updated rankings, photos and video highlights and selected tweets from FIFA and others.

If you’re looking for a source outside the sport’s governing body, check out Forza Football, Vubooo’s World Cup 2014 and World Soccer Finals for Apple and Android devices, and in some cases Windows phones as well. You don’t get live video, but the apps offer lineups, game statistics, live updates, rankings and video highlights.

These apps offer similar information, but they are all free so you can try them all and see which you like best.

MEDIA SITES

ESPN’s website is chock full of stats and video highlights that you can access even if you don’t have cable. Many news sites, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, offer live blogs of all of the games, offering insights and commentary. This can be a useful way to keep up, especially now that two games are going on at the same time.

A favorite live blog is from The Guardian. It provides an insightful running commentary, along with a heavy dose of snarkiness and an ongoing debate about which country’s national anthem is the best.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter is displaying World Cup scores on its home page. All but two teams have official accounts, and 300 players are on Twitter. Use FIFA’s Twitter account @FifaWorldCup. Clicking on the official Twitter hashtags, #WorldCup and #WorldCup2014, will take you to Twitter’s hubs for the event.

Facebook has an official World Cup section called “Trending World Cup.” It includes the latest scores, game highlights and a feed with tournament-related posts.

Google has been doing a different Google Doodle on its main search page each day. One memorialized Paul the Octopus, an octopus that predicted World Cup winners until his death in 2010.

Google also has special Street View pages that highlight the painted streets of Brazil and the inside of all World Cup stadiums. The figure that guides users through Street View now has a white T-shirt and a soccer ball.

A dedicated Google Trends page showcases all trending topics related to the World Cup. Also, when you search for anything related to the World Cup, including just the name of a country in the tournament, stats and other information appear in a graphical box up top.

HIT THE BAR

Even if you have a TV, the best way to watch the World Cup is with other fans. Ask local bars and restaurants where and when the games will be shown. Many in the Tampa area will be packed for today’s game. You may need to get there early to find a spot.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, this is about the only way you can watch live video with English commentary in the U.S.

So do your research, and you might find some unexpected places nearby showing the games – and find out which neighbors are fellow fans.

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