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How to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup if you can't make it to Russia

U.S. employers may not be too pleased to hear that most of the games will be on during business hours.
Image: Lionel Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts during the international friendly soccer match between Argentina and Haiti at La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 29, 2018.DAVID FERNANDEZ / EPA

World Cup fever kicks off on Thursday — though some U.S. employers may not be too pleased to hear that most of the games will be on during business hours.

Whether you call it soccer or football, the beautiful game will be on full display in Russia as 32 teams from around the world compete over the next month until the championship match on July 15 in Moscow.

The United States didn’t qualify for the tournament, which comes around every four years, but there are still plenty of reasons to watch.

When to watch

Many of the games will be between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. Head over to the FIFA World Cup website for a rundown of who's facing off in the group stages. The schedule also takes into account what time zone you're in, so there's no need to do the math.

Where to watch

FOX Sports has exclusive English language television rights in the United States. Telemundo, which is owned by NBCUniversal, will broadcast the games in Spanish. Even if you don't speak the language, the excitement of the announcer shouting "GOOOOOOOOOOAL!" is too good to miss.

If you don't have cable, there are a number of streaming services that offer one or both of the channels carrying the World Cup. SlingTV's blue tier includes Fox Sports and will run $25 per month, making it the most budget-friendly option. If it's not just the World Cup you're after, other options worth checking out include DirecTVNow, YouTubeTV, Hulu Live TV, and Playstation Vue. Those options start at between $35 to $40 per month.

How to follow along online

If you need to covertly watch it when your boss isn't looking, following along online may be the next best thing. Sure, you can log in through your cable provider and streaming service and put the game on mute, but soccer is always more fun when you have someone to cheer with.

Twitter rolled out a dedicated World Cup hub, where users will be able to get the best video, tweets, and score updates in the iOS and Android app. Telemundo and Google are also partnering to deliver their Spanish language content to YouTube and Google. Anyone searching in Spanish for a match or score will receive highlights, major moments, winning probabilities and lineups.

Virtual reality

The next best thing to being in the stands may be watching in virtual reality. Telemundo Deportes has a free VR app that allows soccer fans to watch live games in 180-degree virtual reality. It will also feature 360-degree content from the opening and closing ceremonies. You'll need to download the app and make sure you have a compatible VR headset, although something as simple as Google Cardboard should do the trick.