The Last Word

How To Watch The World Cup This Summer

Aside from seeing England lift the trophy, travelling abroad to see your country playing in the World Cup is likely to be on most football fans’ bucket lists.

And while followers of the Three Lions have snapped up more than 30,000 tickets ahead of this month’s tournament in Russia, most of us will settle for following the action on home soil.

Aside from seeing England lift the trophy, travelling abroad to see your country playing in the World Cup is likely to be on most football fans’ bucket lists.

Here’s our guide to making the experience memorable – win, lose or draw.

The time in Moscow is two hours ahead of the UK, so taking in the games doesn’t mean early starts or late-night shifts, like was often the case in Brazil four years ago.

The action gets underway on Thursday 14th June at 4.00pm (GMT), when Russia face Saudi Arabia. England open their campaign against Tunisia the next Monday at 7.00pm. The following Sunday they face Panama at 1.00pm, and then Belgium at 7.00pm the next Thursday.

Another date to pencil in at the group stage is Saturday 16th June, which sees four matches kicking off throughout the day, from France v Australia at 11.00am, through to Croatia v Nigeria at 8.00pm. There are three matches on Friday 15th June, including Portugal v Spain at 7.00pm, while Germany v Sweden brings the curtain down on another hat-trick of fixtures on Saturday 23rd June.

The knock-out stage starts with the round of 16 between Saturday 30th June and Tuesday 3rd July.

The quarter-finals are on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th July, the semi-finals fall on Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th, and the final is on Sunday 15th July, kicking off at 4.00pm.

So, whether you’re planning on getting together for just the England matches, or enjoying marathon international sessions, there’s plenty to aim for.

With the World Cup being broadcast on BBC and ITV, you can guarantee that most of your usual pubs and bars will be showing the matches.

Bierkellers have exploded in popularity during the last five years and they’re perfect settings for live sport. The Bierkeller ‘authentic Bavarian’ brand has locations in Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham, and they’re worth checking out, but we’d recommend booking a table in advance, especially for the England matches.

Named for the former Manchester United striker, Zlatan’s World Cup 2018 Pop Up in London promises a stadium-like atmosphere, live music and, of course, an HD screen as big as the Swede’s ego. You’ll find Zlatan’s Pop Up at Infernos Nightclub in Clapham. Tickets are available from £8.

Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the O2 Academy will be screening every England match across their big screens, while city squares in Norwich, Brighton and Sheffield will also be showing the action.

The World Cup is also a great excuse for a house party or barbecue. You can create your own mini fan zone with flag bunting, available online for next to nothing, or keep things low key and just sub in a couple of spare chairs to boost your lounge capacity.

Beer kegs and dispensers like The SUB, The Perfect Draft and The Philips Draft can add to the party atmosphere, and prices range from £30 to £300, so you can select based on the size of your gathering. Most supermarkets stock mini kegs of many of the most well-known brands, including lagers, ales and ciders, and there’ll be plenty of offers available on cans and bottles.

But there’s more to watching football than the booze. Dust off the barbecue and invite your guests to bring their own food, or, if you’d prefer to order in, we recommend booking in advance – don’t think you’ll be the only people timing their pizzas to arrive at half-time!

If you’re planning a three or four-match session, consider knocking down the sound for a couple of matches and playing some music instead.

While immersing yourself in the stadium atmosphere is important for England’s matches, it isn’t as crucial for Poland v Senegal. And, unless you’re fanatics, you’ll appreciate the respite!

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