Tony Karon's excellent post should get you started on your path to world cup madness. Next, bookmark Soccer Blog and NYT's World Cup '06 blog or Guardian's World Cup blog [what? no Weekly Standard World Cup blog?] and, via moacir, World Cup Blog - one for every team! Lastly, youtube has all the highlights you will ever want. Let me know if you have a good source of online fun.
At some point in the future, I will reminisce about my world cup watching pasts [saw Sweden-Brazil in the Pontiac Dome in '94!] but for now, I would just like to point out that the lion w/ the gaping mouth football is, indisputably, the most disturbing mascot evah!
FIFA, functioning under new rules that calls for the expansion of the World Cup pool from 32 to 36 teams, drafted in the four top countries that failed to qualify for the competition: Turkey, Ireland, Nigeria and Cameroon. The move was pushed through by officials eager to see the best quality represented at the showpiece of World Football. The news was greeted with relief by the selcted countries, and there was celebration on the streets of Istanbul, Dublin, Lagos and Yaounde. Irish winger Damien Duff hailed the move, as did Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni. "This gives us a chance to show the world how much we've improved," Aiyegbeni said, "I think we could get as far as the semi-finals this time. We're not afraid of Brazil. We're not afraid of anyone." And that was when I woke up, that was when I woke up in the darkness of my bedroom, with an empty and sad feeling in my stomach. The World Cup starts in two days and, to be honest, I can't support any team whole-heartedly, or even half-heartedly. Nigeria is not going. It still seems incredible. Say it ain't so. But that's the reality. Nigeria is not going to be at the World Cup. And Togo is. What will I do with myself over the next four years while I wait?
Via the world cup blogs, I've learned about the "livefooty" site which, as the world cup blog describes, has been beaming friendlies "onto your computers by Chinese pirates via Israel." If you have IE and Windows, you can use one of their streams. I watched a French team that will hobble into the second round fall apart against China yesterday until a pair of flukey gift goals in injury time. They're also working on figuring out how you can spoof your IP to a UK location so that you can take advantage of BBC's free streaming of every match. As the post on youtube and livefooty ends, so will I: "What a great time to be alive."
What's the "soccer" you American chaps keep talking about?