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World Cup 2014--the details

Site of the World Cup 2014 final
Site of the World Cup 2014 final
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The greatest sporting event in the world, watched by nearly half the planet every four years, will soon be upon us. World Cup 2014 starts on Thursday and for those lucky enough to be traveling to Brazil, cheers, but for the rest of us there are some critical things we need to know to enjoy the five week tournament while at home. If you follow the links, you should have a great collection of sources to help you follow World Cup 2014.

When and where is the cup held?

The tournament will be held June 12 to July 13, 2014, in twelve host cities in Brazil.

When is each game scheduled?

Here is a great detailed schedule of all the games.

Who carries the games live?

Almost all of the games will be carried, most live, by ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. Broadcasts will start 30 minutes before kickoff and there will be a 90-minute wrap-up show each night of the tournament. Univision will carry almost all of the games in Spanish.

Where are you going to watch the games?

You need a high definition television, a comfortable perch, and your favorite drink, food, ...and friends. If you haven't figured it all out yet, and live in Boston, or Chicago, for example, we have you covered. Look at your local newspaper's website for ideas on where to watch in your area.

What type of ball will be used this tournament?

Each World Cup has its own ball specifically designed for it. The 2014 edition is called the Brazuca, made by German sports manufacturing giant Adidas.

What is goal line technology?

Finally, this cup will be equipped with goal line technology to assist FIFA's selected referees determine if a goal has been scored. The technology consists of seven cameras mounted in each goal mouth of each goal in each of the twelve stadiums used for the tournament. The cameras will record 500 images per second and a computer will analyze the frames. Within a second of a ball's entire circumference crossing beyond the entire goal line the referees special wrist watch will vibrate and flash "Goal!"

Who will participate in the 2014 edition?

Here is some background info on each of the 32 team that will participate this year.

Who is favored to win and what are the odds?

Here are a few interesting perceptions on the way the tournament will progress.

Do they have bracket layouts like in the NCAA tournament?

Absolutely, here is one, and here's another.

Is there really a tournament mascot?

Yes, this year's is named Fuleco.