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How smartphones have blown up the World Cup experience

Brasil 2014 is set to be watched, filmed, followed and even recreated on a sea of smartphones this year. Here’s how you can get the most from the World Cup with your trusty mobile, including virtual Panini, free gambling and re-runs of classic matches.

Roughly half of all football fans are set to follow the Brasil 2014 World Cup using their smartphones, but they won’t just be watching England capitulate and self-destruct on the small screen. Smartphones are a gateway to the World Cup universe, a way to vent about the most shocking moments, recreate the best goals and even take a trip back in time with Panini stickers and re-runs of the very best matches of yester-year.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Here’s how to get the most from Brasil 2014 with your smartphone, starting with the basics – how to watch every match on your smartphone.

How to watch the World Cup live on your mobile phone in the UK

Brasil 2014’s 64 matches will be split across ITV and the BBC. That means you’ll need the BBC iPlayer app (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) and the ITV Player app (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) installed on your smartphone to watch all the games.

We’ve seen conflicting reports online about whether you can stream World Cup matches live on the mobile apps, but the BBC has confirmed that you definitely can, and we’re just waiting to hear back from ITV (but it looks like you can).

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

If you want greater interactivity, the BBC Sport app not only allows you live streaming, it also gives you access to alternative commentaries, a choice of two player cams and full highlights.

Check out our full World Cup 2014 schedule with channels and kick-off times.

An alternative app is TVPlayer, available for iOS, Android and Amazon Kindle Fire. This nifty app allows you to stream live TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, etc. and it gets the Recombu thumbs up for ease of use. But like iPlayer and ITV Player, it’ll only work if you’re in the UK.

And if you’re a Sky Go customer, you can watch ITV’s live games through the mobile TV service.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

How to catch up with the World Cup on your mobile phone in the UK

Of course, with many matches kicking off late evening, you might fancy grabbing an early night and catching up the next day instead. With both BBC iPlayer and ITV Player you can stream matches once they’ve aired, so you can enjoy them during your lunch break instead (England fans replace ‘enjoy’ with ‘regretfully tolerate’). Note that the BBC Sport app doesn’t let you watch old matches, only stream live ones.

And if you’re a busy guy/gal and don’t have time to watch entire matches, the BBC is putting out a ten-minute ‘World Cup Breakfast’ highlights reel every morning. You can watch it on the iPlayer app on your morning commute.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Reminisce with the greatest World Cup matches on your mobile

The BBC also revived the best World Cup matches from past tournaments, with BBC World Cup Rewind. And you can watch these classics on your mobile for a little while longer, until they expire.

Head to the iPlayer app and search for World Cup Rewind and you can enjoy a couple of classics, such as England vs West Germany in the 1990 semi-final. Worth it for the awesome old-school presentation alone.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Bash the pundits/players in real time

Enjoying the World Cup isn’t just about watching the games any more. Sport viewing is now a highly social experience, and people around the globe will be furiously typing their thoughts and emotions into their phones as the games play out before them.

As well as the usual Twitter outbursts and breakdowns, you can voice your displeasure at Rooney’s hair or the referee’s apparent lack of vision by logging onto the BBC’s World Cup page. You can hurl abuse at the Beeb’s pundits and other ‘experts’, check out tons of stats (it’s been precisely twelve seconds since Suarez did a spectacular double-flip dive) and so on.

You can also vent on SportsYapper (iOS, Android), a popular social app that’s now partnered with talkSPORT. It’s basically Twitter for sports fans, and it’s easy to use – just select your favourite team in any league or cup and you’ll see updates from like-minded fans. Sweary rants are censored (which means you’ll be seeing a lot of ****s) and there’s lots of funny throw-away one-liners to enjoy (our favourite today being ‘is Jordan Henderson just a glorified hod carrier’).

Want to remind everyone how well your star player’s doing? PiPsports’ app (iOS, Android) lets you overlay you sporting snaps with the latest goal information and player stats. Even once the cup’s been held high and football’s not at the forefront of everyone’s minds (if that’s even possible), the app also lets you grab info on a myriad of other sports too, such as Forumla 1 and cricket.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Collect a virtual Panini album

Ahh, Panini. The glorious high when you tear open a pack to find that elusive Ginola staring back at you. Or the crushing despair when you see you’ve got yet another bloody Seaman.

The Panini trading cards were a great way to empty your parents’ savings accounts, but now we’ve all grown up, we can indulge our need to collect ‘em all without spending a penny, thanks to the Panini Online Sticker Album app (iOS, Android). You get five free virtual packs a day to open, and can swap with footy fans across the globe. Presentation is as slick as you’d expect, with plenty of facts and figures to learn, so you can look like a proper smartarse down the pub.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Recreate the finest World Cup 2014 moments on your mobile

If incompetent overpaid over-privileged footballers get your hackles up, why not prove you can do a better job with a mobile footy game?

On iOS you can bag Fifa 14 and First Touch Soccer 2014, which both rock fantastic graphics and neat touch-oriented control schemes. Championship Manager 14 is available on iOS and Android, and just as much of a time sink as ever. And we still have big love for New Star Soccer, also available on both platforms.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Bet on the World Cup 2014 results…for fun

If you fancy betting on the World Cup results, but don’t want to throw all your savings at gambling companies advertised by Ray Winstone’s enormous face, you can do it for pure fun instead.

World Cup Guru (iOS) is a free app that lets you predict the winners in every game, and scores you against your mates, to see who’s got the best crystal football (see what we did there? Yeah, okay, sorry). There’s a big ol’ leaderboard for braggers rights, and best of all, you won’t lose a penny.

World Cup 2014 Brasil 2014: watch matches live on your mobile phone, bet with fun apps and play the best footy games

Let us know how you’ll be using your smartphone to enhance your World Cup experience, in the comments below.

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