It’s time to kick off World Cup 2014, and you don’t have to travel to Brazil to be a part of it. A variety of mobile apps will let you stream the games, keep track of matches and players, play a little virtual soccer with other fans online, and even make some noise.
Here’s a roundup of free World Cup and soccer apps we took a look at.
If you’re looking to live stream all 64 of the World Cup matches on your mobile device, you pretty much have one option, and that’s ESPN. The network, which holds the rights to the 2014 World Cup, will allow viewers to watch live matches on its moble app, WatchESPN. But you’ll need to be a subscriber to a cable or dish service that carries ESPN. (On TV, ESPN will carry 54 games and ABC 10, including the final. But all will be available on the ESPN app.) For Android and iOS
If you’re stuck commuting or don’t have access to a TV when players take the field, ESPN’s radio app provides live coverage of every game.You may also want to check out the ESPN FC podcasts, which feature news segments related to the World Cup. The app is free to use but requires users to sign up. For Android and iOS
Seeking to be a one-stop companion app for World Cup viewers, Onefootball Brasil helps fans to monitor their team’s social-media activity while receiving push notifications for upcoming matches. The news section lets you read trending World Cup stories, and the Video section includes press conferences and interviews. Once the World Cup gets underway, the app will feature play-by-play match commentary, game results, and statistics. The app loads fast, is easy to use and, excepting the “powered by Volkswagen” logo, is ad-free. This app is great for those seeking to deep dive into the World Cup. For Android and iOS
FIFA World Cup Brasil
FIFA’s app includes a ranking board and “match-centre” for keeping track of on-going matches and results, as well as an at-a-glance schedule of all the matches. The news section contains updates on the tournament and its participating teams. If you’re a World Cup newbie who wants to bone up on the teams, there’s a quick writeup of each country, with ranking, history, key players, and more. For Android and iOS
Air Horn, Vuvuzela and Rattle Lite
There are those who will miss the buzzing cacophony of thousands of vuvuzelas at this year’s World Cup. And there are others who will bring it back virtually. Put yourself among the latter group with this app, which also lets you blow a virtual air horn and shake a rattle. (Be sure to crank up the volume for ringers and alerts in your iPad’s Sound settings.) Alternatively, you can try out Caxi and Roll (free for the iPad), which provides you with a caxirola, the official noisemaker of the Brazilian tournament. The caxirola has been banned from the matches, because FIFA says fans have a habit of throwing caxirolas on the field when they’re not happy—so now you have a leg up on the people actually at the game. For iOS
FIFA 14 by EA Sports is the official mobile game of the World Cup. Soccer fans can play against online players or the computer. Overall, gameplay is smooth and the graphics look crisp, though the inability to change camera angles proved annoying. The interface is well-designed, but navigation felt sluggish at times. Additional content is unlockable via purchase or by completing challenges, but at least the World Cup schedule is available right off the bat. At a whopping 1.3 GB, you may want to use your Wi-Fi connection to download this game. For Android and iOS
The official Major League Soccer app, MLS Matchday provides schedules and score results for American teams. While free for most of its content, MLS Live, its streaming feature, requires a $15.99 per month subscription. But save your money: Because of ESPN’s World Cup blackout dates, footage from Brazil will show up only 48 hours after the games are over. Use this app for its coverage of the U.S. national team and game highlights. For Android and iOS
Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.