The World Cup officially got under way Thursday in Russia, and casual soccer fans in the US might need a disappointing reminder when they check the schedule: Team USA failed to qualify for the first time since 1986. And that, as the AP explains, is a huge challenge for Fox, which reportedly paid $400 million for the broadcasting rights. The story focuses on the mission of lead broadcasters John Strong and Stuart Holden, both 32. "You are acutely aware there are going to be people watching these games that have not watched much soccer in the preceding year, perhaps the preceding four years," says Strong. For those who plan on tuning in:
- The basics: NPR has a good primer for casual and non-casual fans alike of who, what, and when to watch. The favorites are Germany and Brazil, and the tournament won't finish until July 15.