It's been 4 long years since Italy gloriously hoisted the FIFA World Cup and proclaimed themselves the kings of soccer (football, futbol, calcio, etc.). There’s a deep field of 32 teams who will be vying for the 2010 crown and, while you can never count out old stalwarts like Brazil, Italy, and Germany, many countries have a legitimate shot at the trophy and their place in soccer immortality.
What's different this time around? Well, this is the first World Cup to take place in the continent of Africa. Many of the players and coaches have changed throughout the years. But, as far as my fellow iPhone enthusiasts are concerned, the biggest difference is that this is the first World Cup to take place since Apple's miracle device was born. There are several cool apps for just about everything these days, and the World Cup is no exception. Here are 4+ apps that every soccer fan should have on their iPhones over the next month of soccer nirvana...
FIFA World Cup
If you want a game that has all the pomp and circumstance of the tournament, EA’s FIFA World Cup does a good job of incorporating all those elements. As the only officially licensed game, FIFA World Cup lets you choose from 105 different countries on the quest to qualify for the competition and capture the trophy. There’s also a Captain Your Country Mode, where you become a virtual pro on your favorite team and try to guide them to victory. FIFA World Cup may not be the greatest game of soccer that you’ll play, but it has all of the official stadiums and requisite fanfare of the world’s greatest sporting event, including some amusingly blocky-looking fans. Soccer enthusiasts may also want to try X2 Soccer 2010 for perhaps a better simulation of the game, and Soccer Superstars for a more arcade-like approach. Neither have the spectacle of the World Cup license, but they are amongst the best soccer games in the app store at this time. Keep an eye out for Pro Evolution Soccer as well, as the legendary series will soon be making its debut on the iPhone.
ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup
ESPN is the official home of the World Cup in the United States, and is offering an iPhone app that can be used to follow all of the latest happenings. Included in the free app is News, Live Scores, Schedules, Video, Stats, History, etc. For a robust $7.99 more, ESPN is promising Live Radio Streams of all the matches, timely in-game video highlights, expert analysis, premium alerts/notifications, and live play-by-play commentary. It remains to be seen if the upgrade is worth a purchase, but it is nice to have all this information included in a handy & attractive app. As an alternative, the Associated Press is offering a World Cup specific app for all of the latest soccer news, and Univision, the official Spanish language provider of the World Cup in the United States, is offering a comprehensive app of their own. It wasn’t that long ago when Univision was the only place to watch much of the best soccer, including the World Cup. Now where can I get a sweet Andres Cantor “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL!” ring tone?
World Cup Trivia Challenge
Want to show off your stunning, yet normally useless amount of World Cup knowledge? World Cup Trivia Challenge lets you do just that in a surprisingly good game. Choose your side and play through a trivial facsimile of the World Cup including qualification, group stage, and the knock-out stage. Better yet, take on your friend at the bar in a head-to-head match of true fandom. Get 3 multiple choice questions right and you score a goal, but every wrong answer counts towards your opponent's tally. Go back and forth in a timed match to see who scores the most goals, with a tie game going to a true/false penalty shootout. World Cup Trivia Challenge is a modest game, but it has some clever ideas and is just fun. It's a great time-waster between matches, and an excellent way to score some hard-earned bragging rights.
The most important app for this World Cup, however, is hands-down Vuvuzela 2010. If you don't know about vuvuzelas before this World Cup, you will very shortly. A vuvuzela is a type of horn used by soccer fans, and it is especially prominent in South Africa. The crowds in South Africa will be blaring these horns during every second of every match. It may very well end up being one of the most distinguishing and memorable characteristics of the tournament. The deep, droning sounds of hundreds of vuvuzelas is reminiscent of a swarm of bees, just louder and more obnoxious. There were calls to ban the horns for the World Cup, but they'll be there and they'll be ever-present. If you don't get to pick one up for yourselves, Vuvuzela 2010 does a great job of replicating the experience. Just pick the color of your horn to match your favorite team, turn up the volume as high as it can go, and shake or tap your phone. The effect is pretty genuine, and quite amusing. You might not be able to be at the World Cup in person, but Vuvuzela 2010 brings you that much closer. I suggest blaring it when people least suspect it, for maximum effect.
So, now that you and your iPhone will be prepared for the 2010 World Cup, who's going to win? European champions Spain may be the prohibitive favorites, but I'll go out on a limb and say England takes out Argentina in the finals. Okay, I put like zero thought into that, but it would be an interesting final (remember the Falklands?). Besides, England has an Italian coach, so that can’t be bad. Who do you think will go all the way? Post a comment if you have an opinion, or if you've found some other useful apps that all World Cup lovers shouldn't be without...
Oh, and Go USA! Forza Italia! Viva Oranje!