It's that time again! The FIFA World Cup begins today with a 10 a.m. CT kickoff from the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow where host country Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. The best games of the first few days will definitely be Portugal v. Spain on Friday, June 15 and Germany v. Mexico on Sunday, June 17.
Unlike the World Cup in Brazil a few years ago, the start time for the group stage games are a bit harder to accommodate here in America due to the time difference, so here's a handy chart on how to watch, listen or stream all the World Cup games in the US.
All times in Central Time Zone
For the first two matchdays of the Group Stage, most days will see three games take place at either 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. CT., with the exception being today's opening match and Saturday, June 16 when four games will be played at 5 a.m., 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2 p.m. Once the third matchday hits on Monday, June 25, the format switches to four games a day, two at 9 a.m. and two at 1 p.m. This is done so that every team in a group plays at the same time for their final group match.
The first Knockout Stage starts Saturday, June 30 and will see two games played each day at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. until the July 4-5 break. The Quarterfinals will be July 6-7 with games at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Semifinals will follow on July 10-11 with a single game per day at 1 p.m.
The FIFA World Cup Final will be played Sunday, July 15 at 10 a.m. with a third-place match taking place the day before, Saturday, June 14 at 9 a.m.
Fox is the official carrier for the World Cup in the US so all games will be shown in English on Fox and Fox Sports 1. You can also catch the games in Spanish on Telemundo and NBC Universo. Check your local carrier and listings for channel numbers and availability.
One of my favorite things about the World Cup is that it's an easy way to celebrate our individual culture and heritage. Use this time to get to know the people around you and celebrate not just soccer, but the rich heritage we have from all around the world. Living in Houston, I can walk into any pub on a matchday and see people wearing jerseys and t-shirts from teams all over the world. Take the time to get to know them. That's the brilliance of the World Cup.
I'll be cheering for England and Belgium this year (a bit awkward since they were drawn in the same group) but if you don't yet have a team that you follow, try this handy World Cup Quiz from FiveThirtyEight to find out who you should cheer for.
Let us know who you'll be rooting for in the comments below!!