2014 FIFA World Cup: The Beautiful Game
Let’s be honest, the FIFA World Cup is the biggest party on the planet. Garnering more than 1 Billion viewers in 2010, with more poised to tune into this year’s edition — sports history is in the making. With all eyes on soccer’s top talents, what better country is there to host the “World’s Game” than soccer’s spiritual home — Brazil.
But like me, you may not be one of the fortunate 2.3 million ticketholders making their journey to Rio de Janeiro. Not to worry, here are some tips for you and your friends to make the most of the 2014 World Cup:
1. Choose a team/teams to follow
Ever since I can remember I have been a fan of “Die Nationalmannschaft” — Germany’s national soccer team. Growing up, supporting them has had its fair share of ups and downs, with heartbreaking results in the past two cups. I have high hopes for them this year though. If you don’t already have a country to follow, I recommend choosing one or two and following the drama that ensues. Chile, Uruguay and Belgium are good picks if you cannot decide between the powerhouse teams and will surely bring some excitement to the cup.
2. Have a World Cup party with friends
Every four years my friends and neighbors all gather to watch the beautiful game together, each bringing some kind of delectable side dish to share with the group. Bringing together friends, football and food is always a winning combination. And why not change it up and bring some kind of international food? The World Cup is a conflation of cultures, why not have a conflation of cultural cuisine?
3. Games to watch
All 64 games will be televised on either ESPN or ABC. The opening round of the cup has a handful of thrilling matches; make sure to tune in to at least one of these to catch a glimpse of the glory:
1. Brazil vs. Croatia 6/12, 3:30 p.m. E.T. (ESPN)
The opening match features host country, and five-time champions Brazil taking on a very experienced Croatia. With the social unrest in the country, the Brazilian National Team has a large weight to carry and must impress the home crowd.
2. Spain vs. Netherlands 6/13, 3:00 p.m. E.T. (ESPN)
This is the much anticipated rematch of the 2010 World Cup final (Spain won 1-0). Let’s see if “The Orange” of Holland — often regarded as the “greatest team to never win the World Cup,” can take down the reigning champions.
3. England vs. Italy 6/14, 5:30 p.m. E.T. (ESPN)
England hasn’t won a World Cup since 1966 and with a recent bad spell in international play is the underdog pitted against continental rival and four-time World Cup victors, Italy. Regardless, the passionate fans on both sides will be plenty entertaining to watch as much as the match.
4. Germany vs. Portugal 6/16, 11:30 a.m. E.T. (ESPN)
The clash of the giants. Three-time champions Germany, featuring a world-class array of mid-fielders in Mesut Özil, Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger will take on an exciting Portuguese side lead by the “World’s Greatest Player” Cristiano Ronaldo. If you’re at work, make sure to at least catch the first half during lunch!
5. USA vs. Ghana 6/16, 5:30 p.m. E.T. (ESPN)
Our home team fell short in extra time to the “Black Stars” of Ghana in the round of 16 of the last cup. Let’s see if we can get a critical win against them before taking on the rest of the “Group of Death,” which includes #2 ranked Germany and #3 ranked Portugal, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo.
4. Where and how to watch
- On TV: ESPN, ABC, UNIVISION
- Stream: Xbox Live, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV
- Mobile: Watchespn.com app (for iOS and Android) streaming all 64 games to your mobile device
And if you’re a soccer player like me or any kind of athlete — water can be your enemy. That’s why I always protect my iPhone 5s with the OtterBox Preserver Series. It’s a blessing for athletes. Sporty, waterproof and super rugged, it even comes with a lanyard that makes it easy to strap to my wrist when taking pictures or videos at games.
My prediction for this World Cup final is a Brazil vs. Germany final with the latter taking the coveted trophy. What are your predictions? Write them in the comments below!
Check out our very own Otters having some footy fun here: