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How and When to Watch the World Cup in the U.S. — T.V. and Online

Yahoo Tech

For complete World Cup 2014 coverage visit Yahoo Sports and follow @YahooSoccer

How can I watch the Opening Ceremony?

The Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo will host the Opening Ceremony, which will be broadcast live in the U.S. on ESPN3 at 2:15 p.m. ET. To catch the action online or on your phone — expect performances from Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and a whole host of samba dancers, capoeira performers and Salvadorean drummers — you can go to WatchESPN.

How can I watch games live?

Viewers in the U.S. can watch every game on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. An entire schedule that shows which game you can find on which channel is available here. Yahoo will have you covered with daily analysis, highlights and news if you are at work or can’t watch for any other reason.

Can I watch all the World Cup action online?

Cable subscribers can watch games and coverage online as a live stream on WatchESPN.com and WatchABC.com, and also from the affiliated smartphone and tablet apps (which can be found here and here, respectively).

Be careful: There are plenty of sites claiming to stream World Cup games for free without a cable subscription. But many of them are fake, and downloading files from those sites may infect your computer with malware. Sticking to ESPN, ABC, or even Univision (for Spanish programming) is the safest way to go. And if you must seek illegal methods, never download any files from those sites, regardless of the free high-definition streams they promise.

When does the tournament start? 

Kicking off at 2:15 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST on Thursday, June 12, the Opening Ceremony will highlight the host nation’s culture and diversity. It will be followed by the opening match betweenBrazil and Croatia at 4 p.m. EST/ 1 p.m. PST. ESPN will televise both events. 

Where can I find a TV schedule for the World Cup? 

The majority of the games will be aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Forty-three of the tournament’s games will be shown on ESPN, while ESPN2 will broadcast 11. The 10 remaining matches can be watched on ABC, including the final. A full schedule with all times and the respective TV channel is available here.

What are some of the must-see games? 

Below are some of the most promising group stage games:

Friday, June 13 — 3 p.m. EST/noon PST — Spain vs. Netherlands

Saturday, June 14 — 5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST — England vs. Italy

Monday, June 16 — noon EST/9 a.m. PST — Germany vs. Portugal 

Monday, June 16 — noon EST/3p.m. PST — Ghana vs. USA

Tuesday, June 17 — 3 p.m. EST/noon PST — Brazil vs. Mexico

Wednesday, June 18 — 3 p.m. EST/noon PST — Spain vs. Chile

Thursday, June 19 — noon EST/9 a.m. — Colombia vs. Ivory Coast

Thursday, June 19 — 3 p.m. EST/noon PST — Uruguay vs. England

Friday June 20 — 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST — Switzerland vs. France

Sunday, June 22 —12:00 p.m. EST/9:00 a.m. PST — Belgium vs. Russia

Monday, June 23 — 3 p.m. EST/9:00 a.m. PST — Netherlands vs. Chile

Monday, June 23—4 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. PST — Croatia vs. Mexico

Tuesday, June 24 — 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. — Italy vs. Uruguay

Wednesday, June 25 —12 p.m./9 a.m. PST — Nigeria vs. Argentina 

Thursday, June. 26 — 12:00 p.m. EST/9:00 a.m. PST — USA vs. Germany

[RelatedSee the full schedule here]

The knock-out phase will feature many games that should not be missed.

The round of 16 will take place from June 28 to July 1, with two games daily. One will be played at noon EST/ 9 a.m. PST and the other at 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST.

The knock-out phase then continues with the quaterfinals being played on Friday, July 4, and Saturday, July 5, with two games daily. One will be played at noon EST/ 9 a.m. PST and the other at 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST

The semifinals will all be played at 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST on Tuesday, July 8, and Wednesday July 9, respectively.

Play for third place will be Saturday, July 12, at 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST

The final will take place Sunday, July 13, at 3 p.m. EST/noon PST 

Which Twitter feeds should I follow for World Cup highlights?  

Here are some good Twitter handles to help you catch and follow all the World Cup action: 

@yahoo sports @yahoosoccer (for the latest news on the World Cup) 
@mrogersyahoo (Yahoo Sports soccer expert)
@danwetzel (Yahoo Sports columnist ) 
@josemourinhotv (Chelsea manager and Yahoo! global soccer ambassador)
@brooksdt (Dirty Tackle editor) 
@RyanJayBailey (Dirty Tackle blogger in Rio for the World Cup) 
@Cristiano (Portugal forward and arguably one of the two best players in the world)
@ussoccer (U.S. national team) 
@FIFAWorldCup (official site of the World Cup) 
@NationalEngland (England national team) 
@miseleccionmx(Mexico national team - Spanish)
@DFB_Team (German national team) 
@clint_dempsey (USMNT player)
@J_Klinsmann (USMNT coach)
@DaMarcusBeasley (USMNT player)
@aronjo20 (USMNT forward) 
@neymarjr (Biggest talent on Brazil’s squad) 
@luis16suarez (Urugauy’s striker, one of the most explosive attackers in the tournament) 
@andresiniesta8 (Spanish and Barcelona midfielder)

How do I avoid spoilers? 

Many diehard World Cup fans will try to stay away from any spoilers before watching the highlights or recorded games, but since we’re in the age of social media feeds and breaking news, this will be everything but a cakewalk.

If you really want to remain oblivious, you’re going to have to shut off your radio on your way from work and disable any social media for the duration of the tournament, especially Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google Plus, etc.

If this seems like a lot of sacrifice, you can temporarily organize your newsfeed and hide the statuses of people who post about news events frequently and those you know to be sports fanatics.

If you’re a Twitter fiend, be sure to use TweetDeck to track hashtags and keyword searches in the midst of reading about completely unrelated topics and turn off tweets that contain certain words. Under settings, choose “Global Filter.” Then type in “World Cup” or certain teams and games so you can be sure to avoid any social media cheers or moans about any country’s performance.

Finally, dumb down your smartphone. Delete apps that will automatically post results, and be sure to turn off those spontaneous news alerts.

Who are some of the stars to watch?

Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo are the two superstars everyone is excited to see at the tournament. But there are plenty of other stories revolving around national icons. Here are some of them:

Neymar can become the host nation’s hero. Hopes are high that Brazil’s very own Messi (that’s at least what many Selecao fans expect him to become) will rise to the challenge and lead the country to their sixth World Cup.

[Related:2014 World Cup - Top 32 players to watch in Brazil]

Uruguay’s striker Luis Suarez had an astronomical season, leading the Premier League in goals and just barely missing the national title with his Liverpool squad. He is one of the favorites to become the tournament’s top scorer.

With injuries hampering many of the German star players, many eyes will be on forward Thomas Mueller. He can slip into many different roles on the field and was one of the biggest breakthrough stories in South Africa.

On the defensive side of the ball, expect experienced players such as Champions League winner Sergio Ramos of Spain, as well as World Cup newcomers such as Brazil’s David Luiz to make some splash.