Get ready for a summer of soccer. Or football, if you prefer.
In the UK, the BBC and ITV will be sharing television coverage, but even if you can’t get in front of a TV for every match, there are plenty of ways to keep up to date with the action on your smartphone or tablet.
Here are five apps – all free – you need to download before Euro 2016 kicks off.
The BBC’s beloved on-demand service is available across a host of platforms, including your smartphone and tablet – and while it won’t be showing Euro 2016 games live, iPlayer will allow you to catch up with the action afterwards, and in high definition no less. So whether you’re rooting for England, Wales, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, the Beeb has you covered – and if Auntie’s past football tournament coverage is anything to go by, it’ll be doing so in some style this summer.
FourFourTwo Stats Zone
If your love of the beautiful game extends into an unhealthy addiction to the numbers behind it, our very own Stats Zone is the app for you. Powered by leading stat-tracker Opta, it’s a brilliant way to delve into the nuts and bolts of any match. Every shot, pass and foul is tracked (and plotted on an overhead pitch), and you can track the moves of any individual player and see definitively how influential he was. And to top it off, it’ll also follow live games, pushing notifications to your device when anything important happens.
Available for iOS
Overcast is probably the best podcast player for iOS, thanks to features like Voice Boost, which tunes the audio to give clearer sound through the iPhone’s built-in speaker. But, like a Kindle with no books, it’s not much good without some great material – and there are plenty of superb football-focussed podcasts that’ll get you in the mood for Euro 2016 and then keep you informed of everything that’s happening during the tournament. Our recommendations are The Guardian’s Football Weekly (erudite and witty), BBC Radio 5 live’s Football Daily (regular), The Times’ The Game (featuring ever-impressive uber-anorak Gabriele Marcotti) and the Football Ramble (just like being with your mates in the pub).
Some might say ITV’s football coverage lacks the consummate class of the BBC’s, but regardless of where you stand in the Pougatch versus Lineker debate, you’re going to have to tune in to ITV if you want to watch all the matches. As with iPlayer, the ITV Hub is a catch-up service, and it’ll give you the chance to watch (or re-watch, if you’re a true obsessive) highlights of games that have already finished.
A must-download for any dedicated football supporter, Forza Football is the Bayern Munich of live score apps. Set alerts for your favourite team (or teams) or tag matches you’re interested in and your phone will be fed push notifications telling you the lineups, the kick-off, any goals or red cards, and the score at half- and full-time – plus video highlights. Well, there’s no need to let business meetings and family celebrations foil your need for the latest info, is there? There’s even an Apple Watch companion app, so you may not need to pull out your phone at all!