Washington, DC – The world’s best soccer event has officially begun and World Cup fever is spreading around the world, including the United States, where the men’s national team (USMNT) is participating in the tournament for the first time since 2014.
Many bars and restaurants in the United States fly the flags of all 32 countries playing in Qatar in a display commemorating the United Nations celebration.
As Team USA prepares to take the 2022 World Cup field for the first time Monday at Qatar’s Al Rayyan Stadium, excitement is already starting for the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Here, Al Jazeera looks at the World Cup through a US lens and answers some key questions about the event.
What time are the games played?
Like other international events outside the Americas, the World Cup games will be played at unconventional times for US viewers.
Over the next four weeks, matches will kick off at five separate times, between 10:00 and 19:00 GMT.
On the east and west coasts of the United States, this means: 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time (2:00 a.m. Pacific Time); 8:00 a.m. ET (5:00 a.m. PT); 10:00 a.m. ET (7:00 a.m. Pacific); 11:00 AM ET (8:00 AM PT) and 2:00 PM ET (11:00 AM PT).
The final will take place on Sunday, December 18 at 3:00 PM GMT, which is 10:00 AM Eastern Time (7:00 AM Pacific Time).
When does the USMNT play?
Fortunately for American fans, all three USMNT group stage games will begin at 7:00 PM GMT (2:00 PM ET, 11:00 AM PT). So there’s no need to set alarms or try to stay awake to wake up in the morning. An extended lunch break will help.
The U.S. players begin their campaign against Wales on Monday, then take on England on Friday to conclude the group stage with a highly-anticipated game against Iran on November 25.
If the USMNT advances to the playoffs, where it finishes in Group B will determine its next match schedule.
What channels broadcast the games?
The games will be broadcast on Fox or its affiliate FS1 with English commentary.
NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo will air the games with Spanish commentary. Some games will also be available on the Spanish-language Universo channel.
How can viewers in the US stream the games?
Don’t worry, you have many possible streaming options.
NBC’s Peacock streaming program includes Telemundo, which broadcasts all games. Fox and FS1 are also available on several 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 accompanying cable subscription.
Where do the big watch parties happen?
Various cities across the US will have public viewing parties, and some are even changing the rules to accommodate the tournament.
With the sport growing in popularity, soccer bars now dot the maps of major US cities. Regular sports bars will also host their own programming and broadcast the games.
In the nation’s capital, Washington, the city council passed an emergency measure to allow qualifying businesses to open 24/7 for the World Cup. Special permits will allow bars to serve alcohol between 4am and 6am 24 hours a day.
The USA’s opening game against Wales in Washington will be broadcast from downtown Dupont Circle Park. The Welsh Embassy is sponsoring the event, and organizers will provide participants with parody medical records diagnosed with ‘football fever’ to excuse them from school or work.
Meanwhile, the American Outlaws, a fan group that supports the US men’s and women’s soccer teams, will host watch parties at their chapters across the country.
The clock has struck midnight in Hawaii, so…
MATCH DAY. 🇺🇸 vs 🏴.
Still not sure where to look? Check out our chapter plans here. https://t.co/3MnlydrOOH pic.twitter.com/c0jJlGQYYc
— AO (@AmericanOutlaws) November 21, 2022
Some Major League Soccer (MLS) teams also host their own watch parties and invite fans to join. The Seattle Sounders will broadcast Monday’s game at the Armory at Seattle Center. The LA Galaxy also hosts events at multiple locations throughout Los Angeles.
Both West Coast cities are set to host the 2026 World Cup.
Will US officials attend the games?
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is already in Qatar for bilateral talks, will watch the USMNT play Wales at Al Rayyan Stadium on Monday, according to the State Department.
Traditionally, the heads of state that reach the finals take part in the showcase game. Although it will require some rescheduling at the White House, many US fans can hope that President Joe Biden will visit Doha next month.
Qatar departs for Doha to launch and support the fifth annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue @USMNT as they first faced Wales @FIFAWorldCup in the Middle East. The United States is committed to our longstanding friendship and strong partnership with Qatar. pic.twitter.com/LGOxUXJVK1
— Secretary Anthony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 21, 2022