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You can argue whether to call it soccer or football, but as far as the World Cup goes, there's no debate — no single sporting event in the world captures more passion or attention. Here's all the tech you need not to miss a single second of the action:

IF YOU'RE WATCHING FROM THE COUCH

ABC and ESPN are your best friends for World Cup broadcasts, covering all 64 matches between ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC through July 13. If you're looking to watch all the early matches, you'll need a cable or satellite subscription for ESPN's coverage, but everyone will be able to watch 10 of the best matchups on ABC for free, including the final title match. You'll also be able to catch the matches on your smartphone or tablet via the WatchESPN (iOS, Android) and Watch ABC (iOS, Android) apps.


KickTV on YouTube will help you fill your time between the fast-paced matches with team profiles, interviews, and as much World Cup content as you can fill your face with, and it's all free.

Are you maybe a little bit too obsessed with the World Cup? Well the social network built for sports lovers, Sportslobster, is a great place to check in on all your favorite athletes. The site's Fanzone offers all kinds of behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and player back-stories throughout the month-long event.

No cable? No problem. If you've cut the cable cord, you can watch all of the games over-the-air with an antennae like Mohu Leaf.

CHECKING SCORES ON THE GO

Unless you talked your boss into giving you time off of work for the World Cup madness, there's a good chance you'll be busy with life stuff during at least part of the tournament. That's where your smartphone comes in, with apps from FIFA, ESPN, and theScore.

All three will have your live scoring updates on lockdown, but that's not all they offer. FIFA's official app is a great place for dedicated soccer fanatics to check in on all the latest news and team-centric info, the ESPN World Cup app is filled to the brim with video highlights and analysis from ESPN's experts, and theScore is a super customizable feed of stories and in-depth stats that are catered to you. If you don't want to miss a thing, be sure to have all three of these free apps in hand.

IF YOU'RE TRAVELING TO BRAZIL

How much do you love the World Cup? Do you love it enough to take a mini vacation all the way to Brazil to catch the fast and frantic action first hand? If so, you're not alone, but while the event will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, embracing your techie side can make it even better.

Want to make sure your pet sitter knows where the fish food is, or need to tell your neighbor to remember to check your mail while you're away for the big games? The Ringo calling app (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) is an ultra-simple way to connect with your family half a world away for a bargain price. Rather than simply connecting you to the other party and then charging you huge international calling fees, Ringo assigns a local number to each of your contacts, letting you skip massive charges like magic. The best part? You don't need an Internet connection to use it.

Traveling to a new country means lots of confusion, and a change in languages is never easy to swallow. So if you're heading out for breakfast before a heated World Cup showdown and you absolutely need to know how to ask the waiter to put onions in your scrambled eggs, Twitter will be your new best friend. One Hour Translation is offering a slick, free service for anyone who needs a professional translation done quick via Twitter. You can simply tweet @OHT with your translation request and One Hour Translation will convert it to your native language in no time.

PRETEND YOU ARE THERE

Ok, so your dreams of competing in this year's World Cup have been dashed by too many burritos and not enough skill — but that's OK, you can still train your heart out for the next World Cup tournament, and the Adidas MiCoach smart ball ($299) will help you get there.

Filled with a litany of sensors to track every roll, kick, and bounce, the MiCoach ball sends all kinds of data right back to your smartphone to help you hone your skills. The instant the ball leaves your foot you can see speed, spin, trajectory, and other detailed readouts so you can see exactly where you need to improve.

But the MiCoach app doesn't just feed you data, it also feeds you motivation. You'll get coaching tips and advice that focus on the weakest aspects of your game. Will it help you land on a World Cup field? Probably not, but you'll definitely be the most impressive athlete at your local public park, and that's something to be proud of.

And hey, once you've given the MiCoach ball a good workout, you can still hit up McDonalds, pick up an order of fries and the new McDonalds Gol! app and play a few rounds of virtual soccer right on your table top. You've earned it.

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY's digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at techcomments@usatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly.


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