This Thursday sees the start of the 2018 World Cup. If you're hoping to watch, listen, and immerse yourself into the game, read on… 

This Thursday, Russia and Saudi Arabia will meet in the  opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 32 teams will compete over the course of a month to become world champs, but with so many games – and so many ways to catch up – how will you choose to keep up with all the latest footy action? Here are your options…

Watch

Thankfully, no one broadcaster has sole rights to televise the World Cup – it’s always good to have options. That means there aren’t any pesky paywalls to overcome, but TV coverage is split between the BBC and ITV, which means you’ll need to flick between the two to catch all of the games.

For the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, head to ITV on 14 June at 4pm. After that, it’s best you check the ITV and BBC World Cup pages for game details and schedules. As for the final? It’s always broadcast on both channels.

If you’re looking to stream it online via laptop or desktop, both broadcasters will be streaming live, with additional commentary and camera angles, which is always a hoot.

If you’re not going to be plonked in front of the box for the matches, you can easily watch the games when you’re away from home on your mobile device, thanks to our most reliable network ever.

Because the games are shown on the BBC and ITV, you’ll just need to download the app for each to be able to stream the action. Fortunately, both apps are available on iOS and Android:

BBC iPlayer | iOS, Android, FREE

ITV Hub | iOS, Android, FREE 

Both apps also offer Chromecast support, too, which means you’ll be able to beam the footage straight from your phone to any Chromecast – handy for those without a traditional TV setup.

But what if you want to feel like you’re really there? Virtual Reality to the rescue!

Yep: the BBC will be broadcasting the World Cup through the dedicated BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app. It’s currently yet to be released, but we’re reassured it will be before the games start.

Free on Apple, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR, the app places you in your very own luxury private box in a Russian stadium where you can watch entire live games, or previous games highlights, from the comfort of a virtual BBC Sport sofa. Bliss! All you’ll need to get going is a smartphone-compatible headset viewer.

Listen

With a Vodafone Red Entertainment Plan*, you can enjoy up to 24 months of Spotify Premium for free with your Vodafone contract, so there’s never been a better time to enjoy free music.

And that’s great, because football is all about the anthems. Well, besides the actual sport, that is. Remember Three Lions, Vindaloo, and who can forget The Anfield Rap? So many memories!

For this year’s tournament, there’s The Official Album of the 2018 FIFA World Cup that’s full of top footy tunes. Live It Up is the official song for this year’s World Cup, featuring Nicky Jam, Will Smith, and Era Istrefi. Check it out:

But what if you like your anthems more traditional and more national? Thankfully, Spotify has a whole playlist dedicated to national anthems. Stand up, wipe away those tears of pride  and hum along:

Podcasts are great for discovering peoples’ opinions and passions about certain topics, and there are plenty out there with a football focus that you can listen to now, during, and after the FIFA World Cup has come to a close. Here are a couple of our faves:

By Association is, of course, all about football, but more than that, it’s about the human connection behind the beautiful game. In a recent episode, for example, James Parkinson spoke to David Goldblatt about football, politics & Russia in 2018.

Born in London over a decade ago, The Football Ramble provides a fresh perspective on the sport in an informative, yet entertaining way, covering football from yesteryear to today.

And, when all else fails, good old fashioned radio always has your back. Specifically, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will have all the coverage you need, and you can tune in on your phone via the BBC’s iPlayer Radio app.

Download

When it comes to an event like this, it’s always a good idea to go straight for the official app for anything, well, official. That way you know you’re getting correct information, no misinformation, and that everything’ll be updated in a timely fashion.

With FIFA’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ app – available on both iOS and Android – you can keep up-to-date with all the important news the moment it happens. You’ll also have access to exclusive videos and photos and info about the 32 teams playing in this year’s tournament, making it a true one-stop shop.

Feel like you could do better than the guys on the pitch? Why not show what you could do with the FIFA Soccer: FIFA World Cup mobile game?

Officially licensed, this tie-in brings near console-quality gameplay and graphics to your phone alongside a surprisingly deep set of managerial features. It’s the perfect go-to game during half time.

So there you go: with so many options to stay up to date with the World Cup, you’re all set for a month of footy fun!

Double your data! With Pay as you go Big Value Bundles.

*Entertainment: Available on 12- and 24-month Red Entertainment plans. Compatible device with internet connection required. Sky Sports 1&2 only and Sky Sports News HQ only. Content may vary. Entertainment will automatically renew after initial 12/24 months unless cancelled. NOW TV Entertainment Pass: available for Red Entertainment customers. Access to the NOW TV Entertainment service will automatically renew at £7.99 per month (or the then current Sky retail price if different) after the initial 12/24 months unless cancelled. Retail price paid includes the cost of the Red Entertainment plan and the NOW TV Entertainment Pass. Offer not available in conjunction with other NOW TV Entertainment Pass offers. NOW TV Account set up with debit/credit card required. 18+. UK only. Content streamed via BB/4G. Full terms at vodafone.co.uk/entertainment-packs.