How to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup
After four years, the men’s football World Cup has rolled around again. This year’s event will take place in Qatar and 32 teams from around the world, including the United States and current favourites, Brazil, Argentina and France, will battle it out for the coveted golden trophy.
The first match of the tournament between the host country and the national team from Ecuador starts on November 20 at 7:00 p.m. local time (11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT). After the group games and the knock-out stages, we come to the final on 18 December at 6:00 p.m. local time (10:00 a.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT). There are a total of 64 matches in the tournament, with staggered times.
Whether you’re a seasoned football fan or you want to check in and see what all the fuss is about, there are a number of ways to tune in and watch the games as they happen, or catch the highlights with you. But as you’d expect, FIFA, football’s governing body and main organizer of the event, will have coverage tightly controlled to maximize media revenue streams.
As is usually the case with these global sporting events, licensing rights vary between countries. Here we’ll walk you through the options for US viewers, but you may have similar options wherever you are – just be sure to check your local listings for more information.
How to watch full World Cup games
In the US, rights to broadcast World Cup games live in English belong to Fox Sports, with coverage split between the Fox and FS1 channels. If you have access to these, either through a cable box or a subscription service like YouTube TV or Sling Blue, you’ll be able to watch every game as it happens. If you have a digital antenna connected to your TV, you can get Fox Sports for free.
When it comes to apps, you have a variety of choices. First, there’s the Fox Sports website and the network’s app, available on a variety of devices, including phones, tablets, computers, Android TV, Apple TV and Xbox consoles. Then there are all the apps for services like YouTube TV, which are supported by most of the popular devices and platforms as well as your favorite browser.
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If you want to watch games live in Spanish, you’ll need to tune into NBC’s Telemundo and Universo networks, both of which can come through a cable box or a variety of subscription services (including Hulu). There’s also the streaming service Peacock TV (free until November 24, then $5 a month), which also shows every game live in Spanish. You can get Peacock TV through a number of platforms, including apps for Android, iOS and the Roku streaming stick.
You can also watch full games for free on Tubi, but only after they are finished. This may sound like a bummer, but it may not mean much as the time difference with the Middle East will place much of the tournament in the middle of the night in the US. You can watch Tubi through any browser on your laptop or install the dedicated app on your Android or iOS phone. There are also apps available for other platforms, including Roku devices.
If you are outside the US or happen to be traveling, these apps and services will not work. The best solution is to use a VPN program, which you can set up on your phone and other devices to spoof a US location. However, networks and streaming services know all about VPNs and can often block their access as well. Before you lay down any money, it’s a good idea to take advantage of a free trial of any VPN and see if it will work for your chosen apps.
Other options for watching the World Cup
It is clear that the World Cup organizers want to promote the event as much as possible, which means that outside of full matches, it will be easy to access footage from the tournament and not so aggressively locked by region. Think clips of individual goals and games, or highlights packages that fall outside of the main TV licensing deals.
As we’re writing this ahead of the tournament, it’s not clear how much football action you’ll be able to watch online, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on both the official Qatar 2022 and FIFA YouTube channels. If there are highlights packages after every game, that’s almost certainly where they’ll be. There is already a lot of preview content to go through.
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The same is likely to happen on most social media platforms. You can find official accounts for both Qatar 2022 and Fifa World Cup on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and, in the case of the governing body, TikTok, so you’re likely to see a range of goals and key moments on those accounts too. If you really want to get into the World Cup spirit, there’s also a whole lot on the bird app historical recordings available.
As you’d expect, Google is ready for the World Cup too: just search Google for “world cup” to see a list of upcoming games and recent results. You can click through for details on individual teams, matches and current results in live games. If you’re an Android user, you’ll see one Fix live scores marked under matches, which you can tap to create a live widget on your home screen. This is the best way to stay updated with scores without having to unlock your device.
As is always the case with these events, a quick search for competing team names on YouTube or Twitter is likely to turn up a number of unofficial content while the games are in progress and right after they finish. For copyright reasons, it’s highly likely that this unauthorized material won’t be online for long, so you’ll have to be quick if you want to take a look.
For more information on the tournament, check out the official Qatar 2022 and FIFA websites.