When 32 squads of 11 take to the pitch this June in Brazil, countless story lines are sure to emerge. Will host and odds-on favorite Brazil break their recent slump and win the tournament for the first time since 2002? Does the middling U.S. team have a prayer of advancing out of Group G, dubbed by some as the "Group of Death?" Do any of the underdogs - Australia, Costa Rica, and South Korea - have an upset victory up their sleeves?
These potential story lines, of course, are a whole lot more fun to watch live than to read about the next day. If you lack a cable subscription or don't own a TV, don't fret - we've got a breakdown on how to get you World Cup fix online.
WatchESPN - for those with cable
To access World Cup programming, you'll have to provide proof of your cable or satellite subscription. Service providers that allow subscribers to watch online are: AT&T U-verse, BEK TV, BendBroadBand, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Yadtel Telecom.
Not a Cable Subscriber? That's OK.
If you don't currently pay for cable or satellite TV it's still possible to watch the World Cup online for free, and it doesn't involve begging friends and family for their login. UK-based broadcast companies BBC and ITV are set to stream all of the World Cup online, but there's one catch - only viewers in the UK can access streams.
Luckily, there's a way around this. To access BBC's iPlayer and the ITV Player, you need to alter your IP address using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. There are plenty of VPN servers out there, and while many offer free access, some have restrictions on the amount of data that can be accessed.
...wait a second - is this legal?
While the U.S. government has stated it would like to crack down on geo-blocking - the process of using VPNs and other tools to access content not available in some countries - there's currently no legal precedent on using VPNs to access out-of-country content. Until there is, nothing is stopping you from watching the World Cup online through a VPN.
Which VPN should I use?
There are a TON of VPN servers out there, both free and paid, but I've found the most effective to be TunnelBear. It's been proven to work when streaming BBC and ITV programming, and for your first 500MB of data, it's free. After 500MB - which will probably get you through a few World Cup matches - TunnelBear is $4.99 per month, which is truly a bargain given its quality and ease of use. Once installed, simply create an account and select which country you'd like your IP address to be (select the UK to access BBC and ITV). You'll be watching World Cup soccer in no time.
¿En Español? Try Univision!
If you happen to be a Spanish speaker - or don't mind watching World Cup Broadcasts in Spanish - you can stream the first 56 matches of the World Cup on Univision's website. No credentials or subscription are needed, and the stream boasts solid picture quality and virtually no lag or interruption issues. And, hey, even if you don't understand half of what the commentators are saying, GOAAAAAAL! is the most universal word this side of no.