Forget the crippling 13-hour time delay. Forget the fact that Toronto The Good has refused to allow bars to sell booze past 2 am. For that matter, forget the never-ending Stanley Cup playoffs. On Friday, when more than a billion people settle in to watch the World Cup opener between France and Senegal, it will officially become soccer season. Football fans have been waiting four years for this, and while the tournament's location in Japan and Korea means that post-game street parties outside your favourite Brazilian restaurant might be curtailed somewhat, this is still the greatest sporting event on the planet.
But even though it's a truly global event, the World Cup isn't a particularly modern one, at least when it comes to its online presence.
There are no Internet video broadcasts or Web radio feeds of matches -- not because of lack of demand, but because the organizers of the tournament can't decide how to charge for rights.
A highlights package is being offered for $20 U.S., but no one knows exactly what you get for your money. Given the immense global audience for the Cup, the restrictions on online broadcasting seem terribly short-sighted.
Nonetheless, there are hundreds of unofficial World Cup Web sites, discussion groups, betting forums and live score services to keep you completely up to date on the tournament's hourly scandals, high drama and mounting injuries.
The soap opera accompanying big matches like the June 7 clash between England and Argentina is already heating up, and while Canadian participation in the Cup is limited to Calgary-born England midfielder Owen Hargreaves, there's still plenty to cheer about.
Go on holiday for a month, or expect to be tired after getting up at 5 am.
The impressive, surprisingly in-depth official site, which includes constantly updated news stories, player profiles and the mystery highlights package.
The Beeb is ground zero for what's arguably the best World Cup coverage. The tournament preview section is a must for anyone looking to brush up on who the reserve keeper for Cameroon is, and while the focus is understandably on England, the whole world is covered in stunning detail.
One of several World Cup predictors. Guess the scores of every game and you could be $5,000 richer.
If you really think you know the scores, splash out and bet some cash money. Wagers are offered on everything from the scores to the time of the first goal and the first player to be sent off.
Why worry about little things like work when you're trying to plan your World Cup viewing? Clothing company Umbro has an entire Web site dedicated to skipping off work during the tournament, including an official-looking doctor's letter you can present to your boss.
Instant updates on scores, plus a play-by-play text commentary in case, for some reason, you're chained to your computer at 5 am.
A site dedicated to bug-eyed, no-nonsense referee Pierluigi Collina. Get on his bad side at your peril.
With five African teams in the Cup this year, including Cameroon and their sleeveless shirts, this site dedicated to African football is a must-visit.
Officials in Japan and Korea have taken extreme measures to limit the powers of soccer hooligans. If things do get violent, it'll be reported here. firstname.lastname@example.org