How do I watch the 2018 World Cup

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I want to watch the World Cup. How can I watch it online and on TV?

James, via email

It's World Cup time again... when half the country groans at the prospect of yet more football, while the other half cheers and then groans when England limp out of the tournament. But before that happens, let's puff out our chests and look to the future with hope!

The 21st World Cup takes place in Russia from June 14 to July 15, as 32 teams compete for the coveted Jules Rimet trophy.

How do I watch the 2018 World Cup on TV?

When the FIFA World Cup rolls around every four years, terrestrial TV gets its own back on digital TV for a whole month, as the only way you can watch the tournament live in SD and HD television is on BBC and ITV.


  • You can watch the BBC's 33 live games on BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Four.
  • BBC coverage will be anchored by ex-England international Gary Lineker, with solid support from Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.
  • See England's group games against Panama and Tunisia on BBC channels.
  • The BBC have the first two picks of the quarter-finals, and will show one of the semi-finals and the final.
  • See the BBC's full 2018 World Cup schedule


  • ITV will broadcast its 32 World Cup games on channels ITV and ITV4, including the tournament opener between host Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • ITV coverage will be presented by Mark Pougatch, with pundits including Gary Neville, Ian Wright, Roy Keane and Lee Dixon.
    See England's final group game against Belgium on ITV.
  • ITV get to pick the first two of the last 16 games, as well as the first pick of the semi-finals, the third-place play-off, and will also show the final.

How do I watch the 2018 World Cup online?

Don't worry if you don't have access to live television during the tournament, you won't miss a game via the BBC's and ITV's live-streaming online services:

  • BBC - You can catch all the BBC's live action as it's streamed live at BBC Sport or the iPlayer. Those matches will also be available to watch in crystal clear ultra HD, but you'll need a superfast connection of at least 40Mb to watch at that quality.
  • ITV - Visit the ITV Player services to see ITV's live coverage online.
  • YouTube TV - You can see live games on YouTube TV, but you'll need a paid subscription. You'll also be able to see replays of all the games on YouTube as well as highlight shows and lots of extra 2018 World Cup clips.
  • In VR - You'll be able to watch all 33 matches in virtual reality via the BBC Sport VR 2018 World Cup app. It'll be usable on the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR headsets.

Keep an eye out for a selection of matches broadcast in Ultra HD 4K on both the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.

How fast does my broadband need to be to watch the World Cup?

It's the football fan's worst nightmare when watching a match online… buffering! Did he score? Did he hoof it over the bar? Did he fall over? Who knows.

If you're thinking of watching the 2018 World Cup online, it's important you have broadband that can handle it and won't let you down.

Even though you probably only need speeds of about 2Mb to effectively stream video, for the most reliable connection, best quality picture, and least amount of buffering, we recommend superfast fibre optic broadband - particularly if you catch any of the game in Ultra HD 4K. As watching TV online uses a lot of data, it's advisable you also go for an unlimited package.

And if you decide to watch the World Cup on your mobile, we seriously advise you to connect to Wi-Fi or get a plan with a lot of data.

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