Soccer fans across Canada are gearing up for a month-long competition/party as the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off today, with host country Brazil going up against Croatia. If you haven’t seen the cars sporting the window-mounted flags already, high-fived a co-worker wearing the appropriate team jersey, or heard the siren call of the vuvuzela, you soon will. And no, Canada will not be playing (last I checked, we were ranked 100th in the world by FIFA), but our neighbours to the South — ranked 13th— will be there. The problem with the FIFA World Cup is that many of the matches are played during inconvenient times. When you’re at work, for example. You only get so many sick days, so how do you maximize your soccer fix without jeopardizing your career or giving up on things like grocery shopping in favour of being glued to your TV? Look no further than your mobile device.
Your Cable/Internet/Wireless Provider May Be Able to Help
Watch to catch every one of the 64 FIFA World Cup matches, no matter where you are (or what you’re supposed to be doing)?
Your first stop should be your cable/internet/wireless provider. Some companies are offering full coverage of the matches to subscribers through their website and using their own apps. This option is usually free to subscribers and if you have an account, you can catch every minute (or watch replays of matches you missed) on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
Check the CBC
Canada’s national broadcaster may be going through some tough times, but it’s all over the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
CBC has a dedicated 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil website that offers a ton of information about the tournament including game schedules, team standings and profiles of all 32 teams. It’s also streaming all games live online, so you can watch on any device that has an internet connection and a web browser.
CBC also released a FIFA app for iOS and Android that gives you the same live streaming of all matches, plus the ability to choose from six different camera angles for both live play and replay. That is pretty cool. Chances are you’re packing a smartphone or tablet pretty much anywhere you go, so all you have to do is covertly sneak your device onto your desk or a nearby table and all the action is right there. To optimize your viewing experience, you might just want to invest in one of those tablet cases that flips into a stand so you’re not forced to prop it up against your coffee mug.
Stream to Your TV
Have a nice big screen HDTV, but no cable? With the right devices, you can still watch 2014 FIFA World Cup matches in all their glory in your living room.
With the combination of a streaming app on your smartphone or tablet and a streaming device (like an AppleTV or Chromecast) attached to your TV, you can cast or AirPlay the matches from your mobile device to that big screen.
Are you rooting for Portugal? Brazil? Perhaps you think England will overcome its 25-1 odds to hoist the cup? If you have a favourite team, you might just want to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup from that country’s perspective, complete with appropriate commentary.
This is a little more challenging. Broadcasters from many countries are streaming live matches online and through apps, but you will undoubtedly run into a phenomena known as geo-blocking. That means the IP address from your device (whether it’s a PC, smartphone or tablet) gives it away as being in Canada, so you are denied access.
All is not lost, though. Products like SurfEasy VPN (available in mobile and PC versions) don;t just secure your online browsing, they can mask your device’s IP address, allowing you to hit the BBC online and watch to see if England can overcome Italy and then Uruguay and Costa Rica in the battle for Group D supremacy.
Listen to the Games
It may be old-school (like 1930s style old-school), but there’s an alternative to watching World Cup matches while still staying completely on top of everything that’s going on. In fact, this stealth mode may just be your best bet for following along while you’re at work or some other event where being caught watching a game is a no-no.
I’m talking about the modern take on radio —Internet radio. Download your favourite Internet radio app and catch one of many international live 2014 FIFA World Cup broadcasts being offered. It’s a lot easier to look like you’re hard at work, paying attention in meeting or watching a movie with earbuds than trying to sneak glances at a screen.
This one also works great for driving. If your vehicle’s sound system is Bluetooth compatible, you can use your cell-connected smartphone to stream the matches live over Internet radio as you’re driving (better check your plan for data usage and roaming fees before you try this one, though). If you have a satellite radio receiver in your car, then you’re set —no smartphone needed to listen to matches live.
No Internet Access…
If you’re stuck in one of those strange dark spots that lacks a Wi-Fi network and you can’t get a cellular connection, I’m afraid things don’t look good for you. Watching a live feed of a soccer match requires a network connection of some description. However, there are a few things you can do with your smartphone or tablet to stay in the spirit of things.
For example, EA Sports offers FIFA 14 for iOS and Android. If you can’t watch the games in real time, you can at least play them yourself and set up matches that follow the FIFA schedule. According to the folks in Vegas, Team USA is facing 250-1 odds at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Even their coach has gone on record as saying they’re not going to be hoisting the trophy. But with your mad gaming skills and the ability to play with the team rosters (maybe on your version, Landon Donvan doesn’t get cut from the team), you could change the outcome of the tournament —at least virtually.
You could entertain your co-workers by setting up a soccer net in your cubicle (believe it or not, Best Buy carries these in several sizes) and kick crumpled paper at it instead of going with the classic basketball hoop over the garbage bin setup.
When all else fails, there are dozens of vuvuzela apps available, so at least when you hear the distant cheering that signals a goal or a win, you can join in on the revelry.