How to Watch World Cup Soccer in the U.S. for Free -- Legally

Photographer: Elsa/Getty Images
Clint Dempsey of the United States celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Michael Bradley as Joao Pereira of Portugal looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between the United States and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil.

It isn’t always easy cutting the cable cord. Most countries offer full World Cup soccer broadcasts for free. In the U.S., Disney, through its ESPN network, wants you to pay.

But for the devout cord-cutter unwilling to pay even for the best television (I’m looking at you, Game-of-Thrones hackers), there is an answer. This one is free and legal, and you don’t have to jump through a bunch of computer-security hoops to do it.

Here’s the trick:

Step 1: You can get crystal-clear streaming video through Univision, which offers the games on its website for free. The only drawback is that the network only owns the Spanish language rights. Not so great if you’re mono-lingual like me. Here’s the direct link.

Step 2: You can get equally clear streaming English audio through ESPN radio available on the web here. The only drawback is that the audio doesn’t quite line up with the video on Univision. On my work computer, the ESPN audio was about two minutes behind.

Pro Tip for syncing audio: Univision’s “pause” button is more like the “pause” on a DVD player than on a live program. When you unpause it, the video resumes where you left off. So if you want to sync, wait for the announcers to read off the game clock (they do this regularly), and then pause your video until it catches up. For precision adjustments, there’s also the “Lento” button. Lento means slow, as in slow-motion.

Got a better way to watch? Share in the comments below.

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