World class iPhone apps to get you ready for the 2010 World Cup

by David Lister

While World Cup 2010 is still months away, you can already download these iPhone apps to kick-start your enjoyment.

iPhone apps for the "Group of Death"

Group G seems like the early popular choice for most difficult group, as it features two top-five FIFA ranked teams (Brazil and Portugal) as well as Africa’s top team, Ivory Coast. Then there’s the world’s 84th ranked team, Korea DPR (aka North Korea), who apparently made someone mad.

Given the strong competition in this group, it’s important for these four nations to keep up with their foes, which of course they can do on their iPhones.

The World Cup is the latest release of the group, and while it boasts a good deal of information, it’s also the priciest of all ($2.99). It links to Wikipedia pages for player bios and has an awards section, though unfortunately this release is facing an uphill battle unless it lowers its price.

Those who are attending the event may find more use out of Southafrica2010 World Soccer Cup Tracker. While it’s got the same information as many of its competitors, the 99-cent app also has maps and directions to the different venues that are being used.

ESPN 2010 World Cup not only has the most content of any soccer-based news app, but it’s also free. In addition to news, schedules and scores, this iPhone app has information on every World Cup tournament dating back to its formation in 1930. The only downside is the app is focused entirely on the World Cup, so those looking for league and other tournament news will be disappointed.

On the other hand, iFooty World does include news and results on a number of leagues around the world and was recently updated with World Cup 2010 data. There is a free version of the iPhone app that has ads, and if you want stats and commentary, you’ll have to turn to the $1.99 version called iFooty World Plus.

iPhone apps to give the United States hope

American soccer fans seems cautiously optimistic (if that’s possible) with their draw in Group C. It won’t be easy, though, as England is the clear favorite of the group, Slovenia is enjoying its highest ranking since 2003 and Algeria boasts its highest ranking ever.

So while things are set up for the United States to at least advance to the next round, in case things go bad you can always recreate the World Cup.

FIFA 10 ($6.99) and Real Soccer 2010 ($4.99) both allow you to compete in either an international cup or in league play. Each game also has a create-a-superstar mode and they are two of the better sports game for the device, period.

As for which one is better, it’s all a matter of preference. FIFA offers quite a few more teams and players, while Real Soccer is $2 cheaper and offers a free demo version. The games have comparable graphics, with the biggest difference between the two being the game play.

For a vastly different game play experience, you can turn to World Cup Trivia Challenge, a unique take on the quiz app. It includes a World Cup mode in which you answer questions and advance through a tournament-style bracket.

While this one will likely do little for hardcore gamers, it is one of the more interesting trivia apps available. There is a lite version with limited game modes and 50 questions, while the $1.99 version includes more than 600 questions.

iPhone apps for the favorites and the defending champions

Spain, the champions of Euro 2008, will likely enter next summer’s event as the favorites to win it all. Their Group H draw includes potential pitfalls against Chile and Switzerland, though it would be more than surprising to see arguably the tournament’s most talented team not win that group.

Euro 2008 was not as pleasurable for the 2006 World Cup champions Italy, as they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by the Spaniards. The defending champs head Group F, which fortunately for them appears to be one of the tournament’s weaker groups – it’s highest ranked competitor will be Paraguay (No. 30).

But with the tournament not kicking off until next June, those two teams can turn their attention to league play in the meantime.

English Premier League Live Score 2009/10 tracks the world’s most watched league, with features ranging from live scoring and commentary to in-depth stats and news. The $1.99 app also offers push notifications, though if this is a main reason you’re buying the app, just know it costs 99 cents per team.

Speaking of the Premier League, fans of Arsenal will be pleased to know the team has an official app -- appropriately titled Arsenal. It’s not cheap – $4.99 – but with features such as videos and player bios, the team's supporters will not be disappointed.

Liverpool F.C. Match & News Centre offers many of the same features (not to mention the same price) as Arsenal, though obviously focused on Liverpool. This iPhone app is a bit heavier on video, with clips such as classic team moments and the ability to stream last season’s 4-1 victory over Manchester United.

oWorld Software has released apps for a number of leagues, including Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. In comparison to other apps, the Liga iPhone app ($1.99) is pretty limited, as it's simply results, standings and schedules. For those hoping to keep track of those leagues via the iPhone, however, it’s as good as it gets, unfortunately.

Followers of Real Madrid need not worry about that, though, as Real Madrid is anything but limited. The team’s official app, called MyMadrid, offers the same features as the Arsenal and Liverpool apps. The app was originally priced at $2.99, though for a limited time, it is now available as a free download.