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The season of soccer madness is upon us again. For die-hard fans, this period is characterized by late nights, hoarse voices and threats of sacking. The latter is as a result of perpetual lateness or constant absenteeism from work to watch daytime games.
In the last World cup, some companies recognized the need to allow employees to watch matches when the national team was playing. This was based on past experience where high absenteeism from work was noted, as large numbers of staff sneaked out or failed to report to work altogether. If you work for a company that’s this considerate then you are in luck. If you don’t, you have to figure out a way to follow the World Cup in the real-time without getting the sack or doing permanent harm to your businesses.
The following are some cool ways to keep up-to-date with the goings-on in Brazil. Take note that you can also use these methods during the regular soccer season to follow your favorite teams.
Twitter and Other Social Media
It’s a fact; soccer news breaks fastest on Twitter. This doesn’t just happen during regular league matches but at the World Cup as well. In the 2010 World Cup, the Japanese 3-1 drubbing of the Danes set a new world record for Tweets per second, a massive 3,283. During the final that pitted Spain against Italy, Tweets emanated from 172 countries and in 27 different languages.
Clearly, if you can’t watch the game on TV, the next best thing to getting a blow-by-blow account is to turn to social media – specifically Twitter.
So, how do your prepare to follow the 2014 FIFA World Cup via Twitter? Start by using the right tools to follow the most important Twitter accounts and make sure you don’t miss the key hashtags that will dominate the event.
Popular Player Accounts
To follow Brazil 2014, begin by following popular player accounts. Following the top players participating in the tournament will give you access to timely updates sometimes right from the field. It will also give you useful behind-the-scenes insights…the juicy stuff before it hits mainstream media.
Players like Neymar Júnior, Cesc Fàbregas, Andres Iniesta, Danny Alves, Gerald Piqué, Giorgio Chiellini, Ike Casillas and others with high activity on Twitter rarely tweet in English. But, if you are multilingual, you’ll enjoy following them as well.
Take note that there are some big names like Lionel Messi and Mesut Özil who are not active on Twitter. Also know that Italy’s Mario Balotelli and the entire Italian squad have been banned from using social media by the coach during the event as way to stay focused on the game. But, you can be sure their representatives will tweet on their behalf.
Another tip is to search for the Facebook Pages of your favorite players and follow them.
Official World Cup Channels
The next set of important accounts that you need to follow are the official World Cup channels. FIFA has two Twitter accounts @FIFAWorldCup and @FIFAcom. They also have two Facebook pages, FIFA World Cup and FIFA as well as a Google+ account, FIFA World Cup [no longer available].
There are several dozen unofficial Twitter accounts which you may want to check out too, such as:
- @FIFAcomClub (connecting fans)
- @FIFAworldcup14 (unofficial guide to the World Cup)
- @FIFAWorldCupTM (news)
World Cup 2014 Hashtags
Another way to follow Brazil 2014 is to keep close tabs on hashtags from other Twitter users so that you can get involved in discussions without having to follow them. The following hashtags are already popular with more popping up as we count down:
Hashtags will also be crucial to following your team. If your team is participating, find the relevant hashtags using your country’s three lottery acronym. For example, #USA, #ENG and #AUS representing the USA, England and Australia respectively. Once the tournament gets underway, the easiest way to follow the game will be to search for tweets using the opposing teams’ acronyms, such as, #ENGvITA when England meets Italy on 14th June.
Managing your Timeline
Keeping track of all these accounts and hashtags is daunting. For the less experienced Twitter user, it is best to put all the world cup related accounts into one list. Find out how to do this and more by reading our Complete Twitter Guide.
More advanced users can use a social media application like HootSuite to get all your social media World Cup pages, hashtags and streams in one place. HootSuite is available as a Android and iOS application. You may also want to check out how to use Hootsuite as a Twitter hub on Android.
FIFA’s official Brazil 2014 account has also created a public list of all individual national teams taking part in the tournament.
Cool Websites, Tools & Apps
Many of the sites that stream matches during the regular soccer season will be doing so during the World Cup. FIFA.com, Goal.com and ESPNFC.com will all be providing regular updates during the tournament. ESPN FC will be streaming all 64 matches live to US pay TV subscribers across multiple devices. BBC’s sport app will also deliver World Cup streaming to UK Roku boxes.
For more information how to follow soccer online both during the World Cup and after the tournament, please read Dave’s article on super websites for soccer fans.
Ardent fans will undoubtedly want a way to track progress through the group stages. For this, excel spreadsheets will come in handy. I have a found a couple of neat sheets that auto-update the group standings each time you enter the scores and populate the team entries for the knock-out stages. Check out Excely.com and SmartCoder247. You also try these Google Doc World Cup 2014 sheets.
Scenario Building Tools & Wall Charts
If you want a simple visual way to plot the tournaments progress and have fun with your friends or colleagues at work, there are some easy ways to do so.
FIFA has an official World Cup bracket wall chart poster retailing on their website at $14.99.
Soccerwallcharts.com also has a free World cup 2014 wall chart created using excel.These are great to hang on a wall at home or in the office and fill out the scores as the tournament progresses.
Scenario building tools allow you to play around with different scenarios and predict the eventual winner. The UK’s Telegraph Media has an excellent World Cup predictor game as does the FIFA website. You will need to register to play the FIFA Predictor game.
Finally, there are several great mobile apps which you can download and install on your smartphone. There is of course the Official FIFA Mobile App for Android, iPhone and iPad that is available in five languages: English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese.
Android and iOS users can also download the more interactive ESPN FC Soccer and World Cup App. In addition to the same extensive coverage offered by the official FIFA app, the ESPN app will also contain video clips of commentary from sport analysts. As mentioned before, ESPN will stream all 64 matches and US users will be able to watch all matches using this app. The app also has Twitter integration to help you follow the latest World Cup news and gossip right from your smartphone.
Take note that these apps aren’t just useful for the World Cup. After the tournament, you can use them to get the latest headlines, live score updates, photos and videos from football leagues around the world.
Will you be following the 2014 World Cup Brazil? What other suggestions in addition to the above do you have? More importantly, what are your predictions for the tournament? I am rooting for Brazil to get their sixth title!
Let’s have a healthy discussion in the comments below.