Washington D.C. – The world’s biggest soccer event has officially kicked off and World Cup fever is spreading across the globe, including in the United States, whose men’s national team (USMNT) is participating in the tournament for the first time since 2014.
Many bars and restaurants in the United States wave the flags of the 32 countries that play in Qatar in a display resembling a celebration of the United Nations.
And as Team USA prepares to take the 2022 World Cup field for the first time on Monday at Qatar’s Al Rayyan Stadium, excitement is already building for the 2026 World Cup to be co-hosted by the USA. USA, Canada and Mexico.
Here, Al Jazeera looks at the World Cup from an American perspective and answers some key questions about the event.
What time are the games played?
Like other international events taking place outside of the Americas, World Cup games will take place 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 US East and West coasts, that 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, that is, at 10:00 Eastern Time (7:00 Pacific Time).
When does the USMNT play?
Fortunately for American fans, all three USMNT games in the group stage will take place at 19:00 GMT (2:00 pm ET, 11:00 am PT). So there’s no need to set alarms or try to stay up to be awake at dawn. A long lunch break will do.
The USA players will kick off their campaign against Wales on Monday, then take on England on Friday, ending their trip to the group stage in a highly anticipated match against Iran on November 25.
If the USMNT advances to the knockout stages, where it finishes in Group B will determine the schedule of its subsequent matches.
What channels are broadcasting the matches?
Games will be played with English commentary on Fox or its affiliate, FS1.
Telemundo, owned by NBCUniversal, will broadcast the games with commentary in Spanish. Some games will also be on the Spanish channel Universo.
How can US viewers stream games?
Don’t worry, you have many possible streaming options.
NBC’s Peacock streaming app includes Telemundo, which broadcasts all the 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 additional cable subscription.
Where do the big watch parties take place?
Cities across the US will have public parties to watch, and some are even changing regulations to accommodate the tournament.
With the growing popularity of the sport, soccer bars now dot the maps of major cities across the US Regular sports bars are also likely to adjust their hours and broadcast the games.
In the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, the city council approved an emergency measure to allow classified establishments to open 24/7 for the World Cup. Special permits will also allow bars to serve alcohol during the day and night, except between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
In Washington, DC, the US opener against Wales will be broadcast in a park on Dupont Circle, in the heart of the city. The Welsh embassy is co-sponsoring the event, and organizers will hand out mock medical notes diagnosing attendees with “football fever” to allow them to miss 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 its chapters across the country.
The clock just struck midnight in Hawaii, so…
MATCH. 🇺🇸 vs 🏴 🏴 🏴 🏴 🏴 🏴 🏴
—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 from the Armory at Seattle Center. the los angeles galaxy it is also hosting events at various locations in Los Angeles.
Both West Coast cities are set to host games in the 2026 World Cup.
Will US officials attend the games?
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, already in Qatar for bilateral talks, will watch the USMNT game against Wales at Al-Rayyan Stadium on Monday, the State Department said.
Traditionally, the heads of state of the nations that reach the final attend the exhibition game. While it may require some rescheduling work at the White House, many American fans can expect President Joe Biden to make a trip to Doha next month.
Departing for Doha, Qatar, to launch the fifth annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue and cheer @USMNT as they take on Wales in the first @FIFA World Cup in the Middle East. The United States is committed to our longstanding friendship and strong partnership with Qatar. pic.twitter.com/LGOxUXJVK1
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 21, 2022