Football fever is about to sweep the nation once again as the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia. The Australian soccer team - the Socceroos - limped to the qualifying line, overcoming some pretty dismal performances along the way to qualify as one of the World's 'Best 32' teams. They've got some tough competition in the first Group Stage, taking on France, Denmark and Peru. How will they fare? Let's not discuss, let's just hope. Here's when and where to catch every game the Socceroos play in at the World Cup, live and free!
What Is The World Cup?
The cup of life! This is the world! Now is the time, don't ever stop. It's the biggest soccer tournament in the world, a quadrennial showcase of the world's best soccer nations who've undergone months and months of tough qualifying matches to make it to the top 32. They then compete in a month long tournament that culminates in the World Cup Final.
It's also a chance for everyone to get their vuvuzelas out of the cupboard and make as much noise at insane hours as possible.
This year, the tournament takes place across Russia. The theme song is performed by Will Smith and it's a bit of a stinker.
More importantly, Australia will be competing after really stretching out their qualifying campaign with some up-and-down performances. They edged out Honduras late last year to make their way to the biggest of big dances. I don't, personally, have a lot of faith in the campaign lasting a long time, but I have hope - and with nothing to lose, perhaps they'll be able to really shake things up in Group C against some high quality opposition.
When Do Australia Play At The 2018 World Cup?
We're guaranteed three matches in Russia this year, with our Group Stage matchups being pretty difficult. There's not a huge likelihood that we'll get out of the round of 32, so - for now - we've just listed the first three games which take place on Saturday June 16, Thursday June 21 and Wednesday June 27. The time slots aren't too bad, considering - but that last game, vs Peru (and probably the one we're most likely of sneaking some sort of point from) will be at midnight on the east coast. The west coast will be laughin' - having all the games in primetime slots!
Here's the three Australia World Cup Group Stage matches and their local times:
Matchday 1: France vs Australia 8pm AEST, Saturday June 16
- Perth, WA: 6pm
- Darwin, NT: 7:30pm
- Adelaide, SA: 7:30pm
- Brisbane, QLD: 8pm
- Sydney, NSW: 8pm
- Canberra, ACT: 8pm
- Melbourne, VIC: 8pm
- Hobart, TAS: 8pm
Matchday 2: Denmark vs Australia 10pm AEST, Thursday June 21
- Perth, WA: 8pm
- Darwin, NT: 9:30pm
- Adelaide, SA: 9:30pm
- Brisbane, QLD: 10pm
- Sydney, NSW: 10pm
- Canberra, ACT: 10pm
- Melbourne, VIC: 10pm
- Hobart, TAS: 10pm
Matchday 3: Peru vs Australia 12am AEST, Wednesday June 27
- Perth, WA: 10pm (June 26)
- Darwin, NT: 11:30pm (June 26)
- Adelaide, SA: 11:30pm (June 26)
- Brisbane, QLD: 12am
- Sydney, NSW: 12am
- Canberra, ACT: 12am
- Melbourne, VIC: 12am
- Hobart, TAS: 12am
If you're supporting another team - the entire World Cup Schedule can be found at the FIFA World Cup 2018 website. The link is right here:
How To Watch The 2018 World Cup Live, Online And Free In Australia
All Socceroos fixtures will be available on SBS - of course - for those with those bizarre contraptions we call "TVs". You can access the entire schedule of games that SBS will be broadcasting here, because not all of them will be available on the network. However, Australia fans will be content knowing they won't miss a second.
If you're not all about that free-to-air TV life, then you do have other options. That same broadcast schedule for SBS will also be available to live stream online at SBS' World Game website. From June 4, a dedicated FIFA World Cup app will also be available that will have access to every single game - when that link is available, we will get it to you - but it will only have SBS' match of the day for free.
If you want the ability to see the entire tournament - all 64 games - you're going to have to go with Optus Sport, who gained the rights to the World Cup this year. A monthly subscription to Optus Sport will set you back $14.99/month and gives you a whole host of options to stream. Subscriptions are available here.
You can find the Optus Sport app on both app stores:
Plenty of not-so-legal options will no doubt exist, but for Australian fans, there doesn't seem much reason to invest in those. Always worth keeping an eye on Reddit if you're looking to get involved in discussions about the matches - and Twitter, too.