After four long years of waiting, the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is finally upon us, and this year’s finals tournament promises to be one of the most-watched television events in history.
The teams that have qualified for the Finals will now fight it out for supremacy on the biggest stage of the world’s biggest sport between now and July 16, and you can catch every minute of the action live on free to air or streaming to a mobile device using the information provided below.
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Preview
The inaugural FIFA World Cup took place almost 90 years ago, when Uruguay hosted (and won) the historic event. Since then, it has taken place every four years, and has developed itself into easily the most sought-after trophy in soccer, and probably world sport. In this time, Brazil have highlighted their dominance of the sport, winning five of the 20 World Cup’s to date. Italy and Germany sit just behind with four victories, with the latter of these teams having finished in the top 3 in each of the past four World Cup editions.
Germany are the defending champions after they beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time back in 2014. According to FIFA, this game was the single most watched sporting event in history, with over 1 billion viewers tuning in around the world. Heading into the 2018 tournament in Russia, Germany had shared favouritism alongside Brazil but failed to qualify for the Knock-out stage. Spain, after winning their first ever FIFA World Cup back in 2010, are another team expected to feature at the business end of the tournament, as are France, who have also won just a solitary World Cup
There will be no shortage of exciting matches during the 2018 World Cup in the Round of 16, but chief among them is France vs Argentina at midnight on Sunday July 1. France headed into the tournament as one of the top chances to take it out, while Lionel Messi’s presence makes Argentina a dangerous prospect for any side. Two days later, tournament favourite Brazil will take on Mexico in another exciting midnight match up. Brazil will be widely expected to get the job done, but the plucky Mexicans have already shown they are capable of taking it to some of the best teams in the world during this tournament.
Watch or Stream the World Cup in Australia
Unlike in past years, where every FIFA World Cup game was shown on SBS, this year the tournament will be broadcast across a couple of different channels. Initially, SBS had planned to show 25 matches throughout the tournament, leaving Optus with exclusive rights to 39 of the 64 games. This meant that if you weren’t already a member, you needed to pay a small fee to receive access to Optus Sports if you want to watch the matches not broadcast by SBS. However, thanks to a streaming issue at Optus though, all of this has changed.
Optus World Cup Live Streaming
Optus will broadcast all 64 games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup LIVE, including every match of the Finals. Initially, 39 of these games were due to be shown only by Optus, so you needed to sign up to Optus Sports. As a result of Optus streaming issues in the early stages of the tournament however, there will be no fee charged for those wanting to use this platform, and SBS will also now be televising ALL remaining Finals matches live on Free to Air TV.
All Optus Sport content can be accessed on any iOS and Android devices through the Optus Sport app, meaning you can stream the World Cup live online from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. The Optus broadcast will also be available through Google Play and the Apple App Store, as well as through Yes TV by Fetch if you have the set-top box, allowing you to catch the biggest games on your big screen TV. On top of all this, on-demand World Cup replays of every single game will also be available. This Optus option will be offered free until August 31, with the telecom giant having waived their $14.99 AUD a month fee so that fans can enjoy the entire experience at no cost.
SBS World Cup Free to Air
The traditional FIFA World Cup free to air broadcaster in Australia, SBS, might have lost rights to several of this edition’s games, but thanks to Optus’ streaming issues they will be showing a majority of them anyway. Aside from the first week of the tournament, SBS televised virtually every group match live, and have recently committed to broadcasting every game for the rest of the tournament. This means you’ll be able to watch all of action in the knockout phase without needing a subscription of any kind.
These matches will, of course, be available LIVE and Free on your television, but you can also live stream the World Cup finals and other games through SBS’s website, The World Game, or via the World Cup app. The app is available for download on all iOS and Android devices, meaning you can watch the biggest games live on your mobile phone or tablet, while The World Game website will allow you to stream them straight to your PC or Mac.
LIVE World Cup TV Fixtures – Round of 16 (AEST)
|Sat 14 July||LIVE: Belgium v England||11.55pm||SBS/Optus|
|Mon 16 July||LIVE: France v Croatia||1.00am||SBS/Optus|
Shown as Sydney time, adjust for regional differences.
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World Cup Finals TV Fixtures
|July 7||W49 v W50||12:00 AM|
|July 7||W53 v W54||4:00 AM|
|July 8||W55 v W56||12:00 AM|
|July 8||W51 v W52||4:00 AM|
|July 11||W57 v W58||4:00 AM|
|July 12||W59 v W60||4:00 AM|
Third place Play-off
|July 15||L61 v L62||12:00 AM|
|July 16||W61 v W62||1:00 AM|