World Cup websites keep the world connected

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The Independent Football

There is little doubt that the whole world will be watching when football's biggest event kicks off in South Africa on Friday night.

The World Cup is as large as a sporting event gets. Thirty-two nations will be slugging it out over the next month with the action being beamed out across the globe through every media medium available.

At the 2006 event - held in Germany - 26.29 billion people switched on to broadcasts of the event, according to FIFA, world football's governing body. There were 43,600 individual broadcasts, or World Cup matches and/or shows, which spanned some 73,000 hours of coverage and reached more than 200 countries too.

And FIFA is expecting bigger - and better - things this time around with the advent of 3D television coverage, for those with the right equipment and for those who live nearby the digital cinemas which have signed on to broadcast allotted games.

And then of course there are the wonders of the World Wide Web, offering everything from live streaming, through blogs, podcasts and twitters.

Here, Relaxnews suggest five Web-tastic ways to keep up with the action - and more:  the website of the sport's governing body will keep football fans up to date with all the action, while providing videos and photo galleries. Almost as good as being there. the voice of the people started out providing the views of three soccer fans back in 2002, now they have someone from every nation represented blogging from the event. another one put together by the fans, for the fans. It features match reports, blogs and downloads such as team wallpapers as well as applications for those with iPhones. Nothing is left to chance on perhaps the most comprehensive site available, offering everything from live blogs to instantly updated team news, and stadium guides for those lucky enough to be making the trip. Okay, so there's no real live coverage but "The World Cup and Economics 2010"acts as a fascinating companion piece to what is happening out on the pitch and predicts how it will affect the world at large.