Washington, D.C. – The best football event in the world has officially started and World Cup fever spreading around the world, including in the United States, whose men’s national team (USMNT) is participating in the tournament for the first time since 2014.

Many bars and restaurants across the US fly the flags of all 32 countries playing in Qatar in a display that resembles a United Nations celebration.

And as the US squad prepares to enter the 2022 World Cup field for the first time on Monday at Qatar’s Al-Rayyan Stadium, excitement is already building for the World Cup 2026 that will be hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico.

Here, Al Jazeera looks at the World Cup through an American lens and answers some key questions about the event.

At what times are the games played?

Like other international events held outside America, World Cup matches will happen at unconventional times for American viewers.

For the next four weeks, the matches will start at five different times, between 10:00 and 19:00 GMT.

On the east and west coasts of the US, this means: 5 a.m. Eastern Time (2 a.m. Pacific Time); 8 a.m. Eastern Time (5 a.m. Pacific Time); 10 a.m. Eastern Time (7 a.m. Pacific Time); 11:00 AM Eastern Time (8:00 AM Pacific Time) and 2:00 PM Eastern Time (11:00 AM Pacific Time).

The final will take place on Sunday, December 18 at 3:00 PM GMT, meaning 10:00 AM Eastern Time (7:00 AM Pacific Time).

When does the USMNT play?

Luckily for American fans, all three USMNT group stage matches will take place at 7:00 PM GMT (2:00 PM Eastern Time, 11:00 AM Pacific Time). So you don’t have to set an alarm or try to stay awake at sunrise. An extensive lunch break will suffice.

American players will kick off their campaign against Wales on Monday, then against England on Friday, to end their group stage journey in a highly anticipated match against Iran on November 25.

If the USMNT advances to the Knockout Stage, where it finishes in Group B, the schedule of subsequent matches will be determined.

Which channels broadcast the games?

Games are played with English commentary on Fox or its affiliate, FS1.

Telemundo, owned by NBCUniversal, will broadcast the games with Spanish commentary. Some games will also be shown on the Spanish-language channel Universo.

How can US-based viewers stream games?

Don’t worry, you have many possible streaming options.

NBC’s Peacock streaming app includes Telemundo, which broadcasts all games. Fox and FS1 are also available on several streaming platforms, including YouTube TV, Hulu+ Live TV, and FuboTV. Some of these services offer a free trial, but most require a paid subscription or an associated cable subscription.

Where do the big waiting parties take place?

Cities across the US will hold public wait parties, with some even changing regulations to accommodate them the tournament.

With the sport growing in popularity, football bars are now on the maps of major cities in the US. Mainstream sports bars are also likely to adjust their schedules and broadcast the games.

In the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., the city council approved an emergency measure allowing eligible establishments to open 24/7 for the World Cup. Special permits also allow bars to serve alcohol all day and night, except between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

In Washington, DC, the opening game of the USA against Wales is broadcast in a Dupont Circle park in the heart of the city. The Embassy of Wales is co-sponsoring the event and organizers will be handing parody medical notes diagnosing attendees with “football fever” so they can skip school or work.

Meanwhile, American Outlaws, a fan group supporting the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams, will host wait parties at their chapters across the country.

Some Major League Soccer (MLS) teams also host their own watch parties and invite fans to join them. The Seattle Sounders will broadcast Monday’s game at the Armory at Seattle Center. The LA Milky Way also hosts events at multiple locations in Los Angeles.

Both west coast cities will host matches in the 2026 World Cup.

Will U.S. Officials Attend Games?

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is already in Qatar bilateral talkswill see the USMNT play Wales at Al-Rayyan Stadium on Monday, the State Department said.

Traditionally, heads of state of nations that make it to the finals attend the showcase match. While some reshuffling may be needed in the White House, many American fans may be hoping that President Joe Biden will make a trip to Doha next month.





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