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How to follow the World Cup without actually watching

By Sarah Klein

Around the world, no-one is getting any work done. Not now that there is a steady diet of two or three vuvuzela-backed World Cup matches every day for a month.

The Wall Street Journal calls it “the quadrennial month-long productivity drain” and reports the U.K. alone will lose around $1.45 billion due to worker absence or idleness during these four short weeks.

Unfortunately for U.S. soccer fans, many of the games are during regular work hours. But not everyone can sneak away on a two-hour lunch break to take in a game at a nearby pub, or brazenly watch ESPN’s live-stream as the boss strolls by!

However, if you can’t watch live, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with what’s happening. Check out some great apps, sites, and downloads that will help you follow the World Cup action.

Online

Twitter has become a veritable source of breaking news, and sports is no different. Twitter is aggregating all the live tweets about the World Cup, so you can watch as they stream down the screen, sorted by the current game, or by your country of choice.

Facebook, too, is abuzz with soccer talk. The World Cup on ESPN page has over 450,000 fans and posts regular updates that draw hundreds of comments. The page includes an application that saves your selections so it can alert you when your favorite teams are playing and which of your friends plan to watch along with you.

On your desktop

E-Link Solutions has created a downloadable widget for your Mac or PC, simply called South Africa 2010. The free download shows the results for all games, statistics across the groups, and the upcoming schedule.

Perhaps one of the most impressive World Cup web sites is MARCA.com’s Especial Mundial or World Cup 2010 Special Edition. Developed for a Spanish-speaking audience, the home page is an interactive dial, which lets you select information by date, venue, group or team. The site also features up-to-the-minute game action, team news, photos and more.   

You can also try syncing your Google calendar with the World Cup schedule. Simply browse the calendar topics available and search the soccer category for the World Cup or the specific teams that you want to follow. The calendar will show live updates of scores. (Here’s a how-to.)

On your phone

There are numerous apps in the iPhone store that can help you follow the action. The E-Link Solutions tracker also has an iPhone app for $1.99, which upgrades automatically in real-time. ESPN has the free 2010 FIFA World Cup app that shows you a timeline of the action, score updates, and a text and visual summary. And Fox Soccer Channel’s free Ticket to South Africa offers up-to-the-minute scores and standings, as well as photos, videos, and news.

Soccer fans with Android phones can download the World Cup 2010 – FotMob or World DroidCup, both of which are free.

Or you can go app-free and sign up for a text alert from the New York Times by texting your favorite team’s name to 698698. They’ll send you about three messages per game with breaking news and updates on your team.

It may not be the same as watching live, but your boss will thank you!



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