The 2014 World Cup is a matter of months away and FIFA has launched into full swing by releasing official apps for Android and iOS. Whether you’re delighted with the finals draw, terrified of the Group of Death or looking for a slick way to follow club and other global football competitions, the FIFA app is one of the best ways of following next summer’s football..
The app promises extensive World Cup coverage as well as customisable elements for following your favourite club and national teams. Both iOS and Android versions appear identical, though it’s the iOS flavour we’re taking a look at in this particular article.
Just in case you weren’t aware, FIFA are football’s world governing body. They are responsible for organising the World Cup, overseeing regional authorities like UEFA and making headlines with their choice of World Cup venues. If you’re not particularly fond of FIFA, it’s worth noting that an app like this serves as a big loudspeaker for the organisation, as all news therein comes straight from FIFA themselves.
The news is what you first see on opening the app, and it’s decidedly international in nature. Rather than news about football transfers and injuries, you’re more likely to find photo galleries of recent matches, interviews and PR-style massaging of FIFA’s global happenings. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does paint a certain picture of the sport.
The user interface is a bit of a mixed bag. On the iPad, FIFA have chosen to lock the app to portrait mode – a grating experience if you prefer to read in portrait, while the iPhone version handles portrait marvellously. Odd landscape-only options aside, the UI is snappy and modern, with smooth animations and fancy iOS 7 blur effects aplenty.
As you’d expect, World Cup coverage is very strong here. If you’re interested in the competition you can quickly peruse the groups, fixtures as well as the destinations being used throughout Brazil. There’s even a “road to the world cup” style review of the qualifiers and a handy countdown timer for the impatient among you.
Customising The Experience
The World Match Centre is where the official FIFA app really starts to become useful. Despite there being a healthy list of quality football applications out there already, another one isn’t going to hurt. If you granted FIFA permission to access your location information when you first launched it, you’ll already find it populates your World Match Centre with your country’s international team and competition.
You can also manually add favourites using the search box on the Favourites panel. The app allows you to add up to three national teams, three clubs and three competitions, which is somewhat frustrating. Why should it be limited at all, and why specifically three teams? This is only really limiting the usefulness of the app.
If there’s one thing I really love about the FIFA app, it’s how it gives equal prominence to women’s and youth teams as it does the international first teams. When you add a team to your favourites, tap it and swipe left and right between the men’s and women’s first teams, as well as the under 20, under 17 and even futsal and beach soccer scores if available.
Unfortunately, this isn’t extended to lower divisions. In England, only the Premiership is available and in Italy you can only follow Serie A, for example. At least for the teams and clubs that are supported, there’s enough information to be genuinely useful – past and upcoming result and current standings for teams, fixtures and league positions for competitions.
Finally there’s an Explore FIFA section which contains videos, interactive diagrams and information about what FIFA is currently up to. As ever, it’s a lot of good stuff about improving lives through football and sport.
Great, But Not The Best
The FIFA app is worth a shot if only for being packed full of information about your favourite nations, clubs, competitions and the world of football itself. If you’re looking for an app to follow the World Cup, the official offering from FIFA will do the job just fine.Unfortunately the restrictions placed on the World Match Centre and the FIFA-centric news stop me from recommending it as the go-to football app. For that, I’d still recommend one of these apps instead.
If you’re more into playing football than you are following the facts and figures, check out FIFA 14 (the game).
Have you played with FIFA’s new app? Let us know what you think, add your thoughts and World Cup predictions below.
Image credit: PlaceIt