How to watch the World Cup online, on TV, on mobile, in 4K and from abroad | Apps & Software
The FIFA World Cup is well underway, with several teams having made their way through to the knockout stages. England have been on good form, although they still face their greatest test so far when they play Belgium. There have been some shock exits from the competition too, with Germany going out of the group stages for the first time since 1938.
Today’s live World Cup matches – 28 June
The Germans are out! After their shock exit yesterday, the path to glory may have just become a little easier for England. We’ll find out exactly what Gareth Southgate’s squad is made of when they take on Belgium later this evening.
When the BBC is showing matches on BBC One only, you also have the chance to watch the World Cup in 4K (BBC 4 games aren’t available) – read below to find out more.
- Senegal vs Colombia – 14.30 BST (kick off 15:00), BBC One
- Japan vs Poland – 14.45 BST (kick off 15:00), BBC Two
- England vs Belgium – 18:15 BST (kick-ff 19:00), ITV
- Panama vs Tunisia – 18.15 BST (kick off 19:00), ITV 4
The World Cup dates, groups and rounds
- Three games live per day from Saturday 16th for eight days
- The knock-out rounds after that last until the final on 15 July
The opening ceremony kicked off the summer of football on 14 June at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, quickly followed by the opening match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, which finished 5-0 in the hosts’ favour.
That was the only game on Thursday but now it’s full steam ahead with three games per day at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm BST until Sunday 24 June.
Then between 25-28 June there are four games per day, two at 3pm and two at 7pm. These are the final group games which take place at the same time.
Then it’s onto the round of 16 (32 teams start the tournament) with two games per day between Sat 30 and Tue 3. These take place at 3pm and 7pm BST.
The quarter-finals are on Friday and Saturday 6-7 July at 3pm and 7pm BST, with the semi-finals at 7pm on the 10 and 11 July. The final takes place at 4pm BST on 15 July.
There’s also a third-place playoff on the 14th July, but nobody ever cares about that.
Watching the World Cup on TV in the UK
- Coverage split between the BBC and ITV
- No pattern to who is covering what, unfortunately
Watching the World Cup in the UK is mega easy. That’s because it’s one of the“crown jewels” of sport– events that have to be available on free-to-air TV under UK law.
The BBC and ITV will be sharing the coverage as usual, with all the games live on BBC 1, ITV or ITV 4. Evening highlights will also be available around 10.30pm. This programme will usually be on the channel that hasn’t shown a game that evening (the same channel may have shown games earlier in the day).
The BBC is covering England’s first two games for the first time ever, while ITV is taking England’s final group game against Belgium. As a result, ITV will have first and second pick of the round of 16 and first pick of the semi-finals. Both ITV and the BBC will show the final. Lord knows why ITV bothers doing this, but it does.
The BBC’s punditry team features Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Neville and Alex Scott while ITV has a major coup with Sky man Gary Neville’s analysis.
Watching the World Cup online and on your phone
- BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub apps the places to go
- TV Catchup app a good backup
In the UK, all the games will be shown live on BBC iPlayer or the ITV Hub as will the highlights shows. The BBC says it will stream all the BBC games in HD.
Expect packages of highlights to be available from both broadcasters’ websites, too, and expect goals and short highlights to be available on their respective Twitter and other social accounts (for the games they have the rights to).
This World Cup will be more defined by readily-available short-form video than ever before. There’s also FIFA’s own Twitter account and YouTube channel as well. The BBC says it will also post daily World Cup stories on Snapchat and Instagram.
If you’re on your phone, you can watch the games using the iPlayer and ITV Hub apps. The BBC Sport app will also be an invaluable resource for highlights. if you have any issues, have the TV Catchup app downloaded. It’s only for live stuff, but can help out when official apps have problems.
Archive games are also available via FIFA’s YouTube channel where you can watch ‘as live’. England fans might want to look away now.
Watching the World Cup from anywhere
- Many countries have free arrangements
Most countries have host broadcasters and you can find a complete list of World Cup 2018 broadcasters with over 200 countries covered. Like the UK, many countries have free arrangements for the tournament.
In the USA, Fox has the rights to the tournament with the games split between Fox and Fox Sports 1. You can also stream the games via Fox Sports Go. In the US, Fox will also show game clips on Twitter.
Following the World Cup on Twitter and via personal assistants
- Google Assistant and Siri are geared up for the tournament
Naturally, Google has full fixture details if you search for them as well as details of all the squads and players. And you can ask Google Assistant for the latest information as well.
There are stacks of great accounts to follow on Twitter – pick up some of our favourites from this Twitter list of the best.
In addition to the countries already supported – naturally including the US and UK – Apple has also added Siri support in Brazil, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, Turkey, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Israel. You can ask Siri for scores, stats and team lineups.
The Apple News app has a Spotlight section highlighting World Cup stories while Apple Music is also featuring playlists for each of the 32 participating nations.
Watching the World Cup in 4K HDR
- You can watch the games in 4K HDR if your TV is on the BBC list
- You will need a quick internet connection to get the full resolution
After several experiments with 4K HDR streaming via BBC iPlayer, the BBC has announced that all the games it has rights to will be available in 4K on the iPlayer using the HLG version of HDR.
This service is very much experimental and will only be available to a set number of users on a first-come, first-served basis – somewhere in the region of “tens of thousands” according to the BBC. All footage will be shown at 50 frames per second.
The stream will be available via the iPlayer app on certain 4K HDR compatible TVs. The BBC has provided a list of these TVs. If you’re depending on getting access, you’ll need to ensure your set is on there.
The Ultra HD stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins – it will be displayed until the trial is full for that match. Note that you won’t be able to rewind or restart the stream!
Note that whether you can get complete unadulterated 4K depends on your internet connection. For the full 3840 pixel Ultra HD, you’ll need at least a 40Mbps connection. That means if your connection is below that, you’ll get a downgraded version – 2560 pixel Ultra HD.
You will probably need a 20Mbps and above connection to get the trial. It may be possible with a slightly slower connection, but we just don’t know.
Find out more: How to stream the World Cup in 4K with BBC iPlayer
Listening to the World Cup 2018 on radio and via podcasts
- Everything is on BBC Radio, so the BBC iPlayer radio app is your friend
- Some top podcasts are available with new episodes almost daily
BBC Radio 5 Live will have Mark Chapman and Kelly Cates covering the tournament and there will be live commentary of every single game on either 5 Live or sister station Sports Extra available online, via DAB digital radio or via the BBC iPlayer Radio app.
Robbie Savage will also be presenting a weekday World Cup Breakfast Show which we’re sure will be music to the ears of Nicky Campbell devotees.
There are also stacks of great World Cup podcasts. The Guardian’s Football Weekly, The Times’s The Game and 5 Live’s World Cup Daily will be producing shows after every match day in Russia. All have preview shows ready for download right now.
The Times has enlisted Sky Sports News presenter Natalie Sawyer to present during the tournament.
Experiencing the World Cup in VR
- Available for various VR headsets as well as Apple and Android devices
Yes, the BBC Has launched a VR app (BBCSportVR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018) that will enable you to watch each match as though you’re sitting in the stands. The BBC’s work here is experimental, but it’s interesting regardless.
The app is or will be available for iOS, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR.
For more on this check out: You can watch the World Cup from your own private VR box