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Believe it or not, FIFA isn’t just a video game series put out by EA. No, you ignorant sluts, FIFA actually stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and every four years, FIFA puts on the most important sporting event in the world: the World Cup.
“Most important?”, you ask? I know, it’s hard to believe that despite a complete lack of Budweiser and pickup truck commercials, football (soccer to us), is the most beloved, most watched, and most played sport in the world and not just a pastime reserved for suburban kids and their overbearing, minivan-driving moms.
But it’s not just the sport that makes World Cup great. It’s got that Olympic vibe of the world coming together, but distilled down into one sport and the passion surrounding it. So let’s take a moment from our inward-looking culture and see how the rest of the world plays. Moe and I have put together this list of resources for you to keep up with scores, news, and other World Cup info. If you have more, feel free to post them in the comments below.
On the Web
Official World Cup Site: This is the most obvious, isn’t it? FIFA.com has transformed into an “all World Cup, all the time” site, giving you match times, stats, video, history, and pretty much everything else you can ask for. In addition, they have a handy little PDF schedule for you to print out. Granted, you’ll have to do some time zone math, but if you want to know local times, just hit the Match page and click the icon to convert it to your local time. Nifty, eh?
ESPN: Most of the games will be shown on ESPN, though the games more relevant to the United States will be shown on ABC. Check this site for more news as well as airing times and stations. You’ll also find replays, news, and a lot of other cool information.
ESPN3.com: Not near a television? Stream the World Cup live over at ESPN3. It’s a bit laggy at times, but otherwise it works really, really well.
On the Go:
ESPN 2010 World Cup iPhone App: Featuring live scoring, tournament stats, brackets, this handy – and FREE – app gives you nearly all the World Cup info you could ask for on your phone.
Many apps (like Sports Tap) have this feature, but if you’re not near a television or a radio, this app displays a field graphic showing positions, timelines, and more. It’s not quite as up-to-the-second as the football graphic in Sports Tap, but it’s a very nice feature if you’re out of the loop and want to keep track of a game.
For $8 you can get more customized information, but based on user reviews, you may just want to skip that.
EA Sports FIFA World Cup 2010: In between games, why not sit down and create a World Cup of your own? EA’s FIFA has always been a decent series, and while there are video game football/soccer alternatives, this one is “official”. So if you’re looking to get an authentic experience, it’s your only way to go.
Adidas Jabulani Official Match Ball: Speaking of an “authentic experience”, why not get off your ass and play a bit of footy with the official ball of the World Cup. Of course, this will set you back about $150, but fuck it, right? Why puss out with some Target-bought ball when this is the biggest sporting event in the world!
From the site:
“JABULANI, meaning “to celebrate” is the 11th adidas World Cup ball featuring 11 different colors representing the 11 players in every team, the 11 official languages of South Africa, and the 11 South African communities. The colorful design brings together the tremendous diversity of the country in harmonious unity.”
And Just Because…
Major League Soccer: Hey, guess what? There’s probably a Major League Soccer club in your area and you don’t even know it. But you’d probably be even more surprised to find out that MLS fan attendance exceeds NHL and NBA combined. Okay, as Timberwolves fans that stat doesn’t really surprise us, but still. So if you wind up digging the World Cup action, hit the MLS club page and look for a team in your area. Who knows? Maybe someday the States will figure out what the rest of the world is up to.