Watching the World Cup...online

With the games scheduled for 12.30pm, 3.30pm and 7.30pm each day, the sad fact is that we might not always be sitting down in front of a TV to catch the World Cup fixtures. Worse still, if you're not in the UK, there might be some dastardly subscription channels that's snaffled all the TV rights for themselves. So what do we do in these nightmare situations? Well, here are a few alternative options and how to watch the World Cup 2010 online (or just follow it if you can't).

Live Streams

Naturally, the next best thing to a big fat HD screen with the footy blazing all over it is going to the slightly less quality live streams beamed out over the Internet, and the good news is that both the BBC and ITV have the rights to do just that on their websites. Huzzah. Of course, if you live live outside the UK, there's a chance you might find yourself blocked. If that's the case then there are some other options.

Bet365 has a history of streaming all sorts of sporting fixtures live on its website and, if it can wangle the rights from ITV and BBC - the wangling is going on as we speak - then it may well be a little easier on border patrol.

ESPN is the rights holder in the US and even if it's not in the mood to show non-Americans live pictures, then you can always fool its sensors with a VPN like AnchorFree Hotspot Shield which will spoof you an IP address from the States.

If none of that lot works for you, then it's over to the illegal and or certainly shady side of things with sites like WatchLiveFootball.tv, Livesoccertv.com and all sorts of others ranging from the clunky to the ridiculous. We understand that football is life. So, obviously do whatever it takes but also make sure you've got a decent anti-virus running. The World Cup is just the kind of opportunity unscrupulous hackers are waiting for.

Highlights

Whether you couldn't catch it live or you just want to relive the moments over and over, there's also going to be plenty of opportunity to watch snippets or whole video recordings of the World Cup 2010 matches after the games have finished.

YouTube will, of course, be a decent place to start but those on the inside line will turn straight to the incomparable 101 Great Goals who will show the highlights of just about any game played at any level in any part of the world at any time. You can bet your bottom dollar it'll be pulling out all the stops in June and July.

There are also, of course, more official channels as well with the BBC showing highlights of all the World Cup games on its dedicated pages as well as entire replays on iPlayer available for 7 days after the matches.

News sites

For football coverage, nothing's going to quite beat Sky for sports news although it's well worth checking the BBC website's stories as well to add a little more colour to things. On top of that there's always the official FIFA website too. Don't expect lightening speeds for the last one but you can guarantee it'll cover every detail from the cheerleaders to which shirts Nelson Mandela is wearing this season.

Probably the most useful site to have book marked over all, though, is News Now under its World Cup category. If you don't use News Now already, it's an aggregator which will pull in all stories from all over the Web about all kinds of subjects but it's particularly good for football. With automatic updates every 5 minutes, it'll have all the World Cup headlines in front of your eyes as soon as they happen.

Blogs

The official news can be oh-so-boring. The real action and humour of following the World Cup 2010 online is going to be found in the blogs in that area where libel doesn't so often bother to look.

The best of the bunch has got to be World Cup Blog. It started in 2002 and has come back every 2 years for the major FIFA tournaments and in the off-season most of the editors are founding working on The Offside. The blog features the usual humour and opinion-centred spin on news as well as some excellent features on everything from World Cup history to players' haircuts.

Another good one to look out for is the stalwart that is Whoateallthepies.tv. They're running a special World Cup section. Good, quirky looking site, great humour; just a shame the picture galleries get too tedious to page load your way through.

On the slightly more official side of things, the Guardian is always worth a look in for football coverage. The Fiver will be banging out World Cup stories as usual and it'll also be the personal touch with Guardian Fans' Network that'll feature blogs, options and tweets from genuine fans of the 32 finalist countries from all over the world. Great for inside knowledge of what it's like to be a different country's supporter.

Desktop Widgets

Of course, heading out to the Web to find your news is rather World Cup 2002, so how about downloading a desktop widget to ensure that the stories come knocking on your door instead?

One classic that's been in place for quite some time now is the BBC's Mini Motty but sadly that's been replaced by a combined news and sports desktop alert. It'll still bring in all the sports news from the BBC but for the purer experience, you might rather opt for FIFA's official South Africa 2010 widget. It'll pull in live scores, the latest news, fixtures and results and you can even set it to filter your favourite team as well.

Your favourites

Let us know if you have any genius ways of following the World Cup news and games online. If it's anything to do with mobile or streaming then Internet on your TV, then just hold your horses until later in the week.

If you enjoyed this article, then head over to our World Cup Week homepage where you'll find a collection of features getting ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.