By November, most of the 32 nations competing for the 2014 World Cup, which returns to Brazil for the first time since 1950, will have qualified. Brazil is the home of “joga bonito” (play beautiful) – the beautiful game – as it became known under the dazzling displays of Pele, Socrates, Zico, Garrincha, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and today’s starlet Neymar.
Whether you’re a World Cup novice or have been closely following qualifications for the past two years, your smartphone or tablet gives you a portal to learn more about the players, countries and personalities who will set the summer of 2014 ablaze. Here are six apps to get you going:
ESPN ScoreCenter is an incredibly complete app for your soccer needs. You can follow as many leagues as you want to get scores, updates and stats in an instant. Keep your eyes out for the official World Cup app from ESPN and ABC. You’ll get the lowdown on everything you need to know once the tournament has started.
Did you know U.S. Soccer is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year? The U.S. Men’s National Team has qualified for every World Cup since 1990 – six consecutive tournaments. This year, U.S. Soccer has an official app to get you ready and raring to support the red, white and blue. It gives users access to the U.S. Soccer digital magazine. With beautiful pictures and stories about the team, coaches and players, you can get yourself in the know before the first whistle blows in Brazil.
Now that you’ve whet your appetite and want to learn more about the world’s game, try checking out The Football App to connect with leagues, teams and fans around the world. It’s an immersive experience that gives you all the news you’d expect along with analysis and a unique fan zone to catch the social banter.
Brazil Radio Player (iOS)
Throwing a viewing party for the matches with your friends? Spice it up samba style with the Brazil Radio Player app to get authentic music from all over the host country. And this is the first time in years the World Cup isn’t being played in a distant time zone – Brazil is only one hour later than East Coast time. Throw a World Cup party!
Brazil’s Recipes (iOS)
Now that you’re throwing a party, you might as well stock it up with some special delights from Brazil. Learn how to cook cakes, scones, stews and rice dishes … all with that special Brazilian flair. This app includes 66 recipes to help you feed your guests the best Brazilian flavors as they watch the games.
If you want to feel like you’re part of the action on the field, at least virtually, you can be with the FIFA 14 mobile game. Build your own fantasy team and select their style of play, formations and more. With touch controls you can move each player around the field and make them pass and shoot as you compete against other teams.