After a gruelling qualification process lasting more than three years, the men’s football World Cup is here. 32 teams have made it to Qatar for the first ever winter staging of the tournament, although the hosts are controversial for a variety of reasons.
Holders France are among the favourites, but face fierce competition from the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain.
We also shouldn’t rule out England, who made it to the semi-finals at Russia 2018. The US and Wales are in the same group but not expected to go deep into the tournament, while fellow group members Iran are considered outsiders.
Here’s everything you need to know about watching the World Cup live – wherever you are in the world.
Which World Cup matches are on TV?
Every single World Cup game is being broadcast live in the US and UK. Here are all the matches from the first round of fixtures:
Sun 20 Nov
- Qatar vs Ecuador – 8am PT/11am ET/4pm GMT
Mon 21 Nov
- England vs Iran – 5am PT/8am ET/1pm GMT
- Senegal vs Netherlands – 8am PT/11am ET/4pm GMT
- USA vs Wales – 11am PT/2pm ET/7pm GMT
Tue 22 Nov
- Argentina vs Saudi Arabia – 2am PT/5am ET/10am GMT
- Denmark vs Tunisia – 5am PT/8am ET/1pm GMT
- Mexico vs Poland – 8am PT/11am ET/4pm GMT
- France vs Australia – 11am PT/2pm ET/7pm GMT
Wed 23 Nov
- Morocco vs Croatia – 2am PT/5am ET/10am GMT
- Germany vs Japan – 5am PT/8am ET/1pm GMT
- Spain vs Costa Rica – 8am PT/11am ET/4pm GMT
- Belgium vs Canada – 11am PT/2pm ET/7pm GMT
Thu 24 Nov
- Switzerland vs Cameroon – 2am PT/5am ET/10am GMT
- Uruguay vs South Korea – 5am PT/8am ET/1pm GMT
- Portugal vs Ghana – 8am PT/11am ET/4pm GMT
- Brazil vs Serbia – 11am PT/2pm ET/7pm GMT
When is the next US match?
The US begin their tournament against Wales on 21 November. The match kicks off at 11am PT, 2pm ET or 7pm GMT.
When is the next England match?
England play Iran earlier on the same day – 21 November. Kick-off is at 5am PT, 8am PT or 1pm GMT.
How to watch the World Cup in the US
Fox Sports has exclusive rights to the World Cup in the US, with matches broadcast on both the main Fox Channel and Fox Sports 1.
It’s worth checking if these channels are already included in your cable subscription. If not, you can sign up via any of the following:
- DirecTV – from $69.99
- Dish – from $69.99 per month
- FuboTV – from $69.99 per month
- Hulu – from $16.98 per month (with ads) or $23.98 per month (no ads)
- Sling – from $20 per month for first month, then $40 per month thereafter
- Vidgo – from $59.95 per month
Some of these services offer a free trial, so it’s worth checking before you subscribe. But even so, paying for just one month will cover the whole tournament.
All of the channels are available across all your devices, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more.
How to watch the World Cup in the UK
In the UK, coverage of the World Cup is split between the BBC and ITV, with both showing the final.
They’re free-to-air channels so don’t charge a subscription fee, although you’ll need a TV Licence to watch live. This costs £159 per year, but there’s no way to pay monthly.
Both the BBC and ITV make live coverage widely available. Aside from on the TV, they’re also available online and on most mobile devices.
Can you watch the World Cup in 4K?
Yes, although there are caveats. The BBC has confirmed that it’ll be showing all the live games broadcast on BBC One in 4K HDR – including via BBC iPlayer. ITV hasn’t said whether it’ll be showing matches in 4K.
Fox Sports will broadcast every game in 4K HDR on your TV, but that’s not what you’ll get when streaming. Instead, it’ll be an upscaled version of the 1080p feed – this will be better than regular 1080p, but still not proper 4K.
Of course, you’ll need a TV (or computer, or even phone) that’s capable of outputting at 4K to actually see the benefit.
How to watch the World Cup outside the US or UK
If you’re based outside the US or UK, it’s worth checking which broadcaster has the rights to the World cup in your country. For example, it’s SBS in Australia, TF1 and beIN Sports in France and Viacom18 across the Indian subcontinent.
However, if you’re just visiting another country, accessing your UK-based subscription makes sense.
Until the end of 2020, it was pretty easy for British viewers to watch TV while outside the UK when travelling to another EEA member state. The providers had to allow customers to view content by law but Brexit means that’s no longer the case.
Now you’ll need to use a VPN (virtual private network) to set your location to the UK to unlock the content. The same applies to US viewers wanting to watch the Premier League beyond what is shown on American networks.
Our pick is NordVPN, which also tops our overall best VPN round-up due to its ease-of-use, security features and excellent value for money.
- How to watch the Premier League live
- How to watch the Champions League live
- How to watch the Europa League live