Washington, DC — The world’s best soccer event has officially begun and World Cup fever is spreading across the world, including in the United States, whose men’s national team (USMNT) is taking part in the tournament for the first time since 2014.
Many bars and restaurants in the United States raise the flags of all 32 countries and play in Qatar at an event similar to a United Nations celebration.
And as the US squad prepares to conquer the 2022 World Cup field for the first time on Monday at Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar, the excitement is already mounting for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted jointly by the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Here, CNN Breaking News looks at the World Cup from the perspective of the USA and answers a few key questions about the event.
At what times are the games played?
As with other international events outside America, the World Cup matches will take place at unconventional times for US viewers.
Over the next four weeks, the games will start at five different times, between 10:00 and 19:00 GMT.
On the east and west coasts of the USA, this means: 5 AM Eastern Time (2 AM Pacific Time); 8 AM Eastern Time (5 AM Pacific Time); 10 AM Eastern Time (7 AM Pacific Time); 11 AM Eastern Time (8 AM Pacific Time) and 2 PM Eastern Time (11 AM Pacific Time).
The final will take place on Sunday, December 18, at 15:00 GMT, which means 10:00 AM Eastern Time (7:00 AM Pacific Time).
When is the USMNT playing?
Luckily for American fans, all three USMNT group stage games take place at 19:00 GMT (14:00 Eastern Time, 11:00 Pacific Time). So you don’t have to set alarms or try to stay awake to be awake at dawn. A longer lunch break is enough.
US players will start their campaign against Wales on Monday and then face England on Friday to finish their group stage trip in a highly anticipated game against Iran on November 25.
When the USMNT reaches the knock-out stage, it will determine where it will end up in Group B, the schedule of its subsequent games.
Which channels will the games be broadcasted on?
The games are played with English commentary on either Fox or its subsidiary FS1.
Telemundo, owned by NBCUniversal, will air the games with Spanish commentary. Some games will also be shown on the Spanish-language channel Universo.
How can viewers in the USA stream games?
Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of potential streaming options.
NBC’s Peacock streaming app includes Telemundo, which airs all games. Fox and FS1 are also available on various streaming platforms, including YouTube TV, Hulu+ Live TV, and fuboTV. Some of these services offer a free trial, but most require a paid subscription or associated cable subscription.
Where do the big watch parties take place?
Public watch parties are being held in cities across the US, and some are even changing regulations to accommodate the tournament.
As soccer or soccer is becoming increasingly popular, soccer bars now grace the maps of major cities in the USA. Regular sports bars are also likely to adjust their schedules and broadcast the games.
In the state capital Washington, DC, the city council passed an emergency measure that allows qualified facilities to be open 24/7 for the World Cup. Special permits also allow bars to serve alcohol throughout the day and night, except between 4 and 6 in the morning.
In Washington, DC, the opening game between the USA and Wales will be broadcasted in a park in Dupont Circle in the heart of the city. The Welsh Embassy is co-sponsoring the event, and organisers will hand out medical parodies diagnosing participants with “soccer fever” so they can skip school or work.
In the meantime, American Outlaws, a fan group that supports US men’s and women’s soccer teams, will be organizing guard parties in its chapters across the country.
The clock has just struck midnight in Hawaii, so…
GAME DAY. 🇺🇸 versus 🏴.
Are you yourself
Still not sure where you’re watching? Check out the plans for our chapters here. https://t.co/3MnlydrOOH pic.twitter.com/c0jjlgqyyc
— AO (@AmericanOutlaws) November 21, 2022
Some Major League Soccer (MLS) teams also host their own spectator parties and invite fans to join in. The Seattle Sounders will broadcast Monday’s game at Seattle Center Armory. The LA Galaxy also organizes events at multiple locations in Los Angeles.
Both cities on the West Coast are expected to host 2026 World Cup matches.
Will US officials attend games?
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is already in Qatar for bilateral talks, will watch the USMNT appearance against Wales at Al Rayyan Stadium on Monday, the US State Department said.
Traditionally, the heads of state who make it to the final take part in the showcase game. While it may take some rescheduling at the White House, many US fans may be hoping that President Joe Biden will take a trip to Doha next month.
Departure to Doha, Qatar to start the fifth annual strategic dialogue between the US and Qatar and cheer on @USMNT as they face Wales at the first @FIFAWorldCup event in the Middle East. The United States is committed to our long-standing friendship and strong partnership with Qatar. pic.twitter.com/lgoxuxjvk1
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 21, 2022