With the World Cup less than a month away, the Web is starting to buzz with information surrounding the championship.
The Official Word
The official World Cup Web site is run by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and Yahoo UK as a partnership and will want to be any soccer fan's first stop on the Web. The site is packed with information including news reports from major wire services, team and group profiles, the match schedule, photos, video from historic World Cup moments of the past and downloadable games and screensavers. It is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese and can be found at http://www.fifaworldcup.com .
The organizing committees in each country also have their own Web sites which offer information more local to each nation. Available in the same languages as the FIFA site, the site of Korea's KOWOC is at http://www.2002worldcupkorea.org/ and site of Japan's JAWOC, which is in English or Japanese only is at http://www.jawoc.or.jp .
Last Minute Tickets
Any unsold tickets are being offered for sale through the Web via FIFA's last minute ticketing bureau. It is sometimes a little hard to get on, so patience, along with a credit card, are needed. https://www.fifatickets.com .
What The Locals Are Saying
In the run up to the tournament and all the way through you can get an idea of what the local media is talking about, both Cup-related and not, by checking some of the many local news sources online.
Among major newspapers, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo, http://english.chosun.com , the Joong Ang Ilbo, http://english.joins.com have services in English, Japanese and Chinese while the Korea Herald, http://www.koreaherald.co.kr , and the Korea Times, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr offer English editions. In Japan, some of the most extensive coverage is promised by the Asahi Shimbun, which is an official sponsor of the tournament, http://www.asahi.com/english/english.html and the Yomiuri Shimbun is running a World Cup news section, http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/wcup_news/index.htm .
Local news in a broader selection of languages is available via the sites of public broadcasters Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) and Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK). KBS' Radio Korea International offers news and a great insight into the country and culture in 10 major languages, http://rki.kbs.co.kr , and NHK's Radio Japan has Real Audio news and features in 22 languages, http://www.nhk.or.jp/rj/ .
And if you are lucky enough to be traveling to South Korea or Japan to see the games, or if you want to do a little virtual tourism from your PC, there are several good Web sites that show you what else the host countries have to offer. In addition, visitors will want to check back to the FIFA World Cup Web site which has city guides and links to local Web sites.
The official tourism Web site for South Korea, http://www.tour2korea.com , offers just about everything you need including city guides, hotel listings and a guide to Korean festivals and culture. More hotels can be found at the Hotels Korea and Korea Hotels Web sites http://www.hotelskorea.com and http://www.koreahotels.com .
The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is Japan's official tourism gateway with information in 10 languages, http://www.jnto.go.jp , and even more in depth information can be found on the group's special World Cup site, http://soccerjapan.jnto.go.jp . More information can also be found on the Japan Supporter's Guide, http://www06.u-page.so-net.ne.jp/qd6/kohki/ .
Visitors to Tokyo should also check out the Nakata Cafe. Started by Japanese soccer ace Hidetoshi Nakata, who currently plays for Italian Serie A team Palma, the cafe is aimed at foreign visitors and will provide information to help them get around and navigate the sometimes confusing maze that is modern Japan or South Korea, http://nakata.net/cafe/cafe.html .
Nothing But Soccer News
If you live in one of the soccer-mad nations of the world, and especially a country which is taking part in the tournament, you probably won't need to look far to find World Cup news. Out on the Web, a number of the major sports sites have special sectionsSome of them include ESPN Soccernet, http://worldcup.espnsoccernet.com, CNN Sports Illustrated, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/world/2002/world_cup/ , CBS Sportsline http://www.sportsline.com/u/soccer/worldcup2002/ and Soccer.com, http://www.soccer.com.
The BBC has a comprehensive section too with, as expected, an emphasis on England, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/. Australians can check out their own World Cup news-oriented site at http://www.theworldgame.com.au/. Singapore has a news and games-oriented site at http://worldcup.lycos.com.sg/.
The Other World Cup
The FIFA tournament isn't the only championship taking place in Japan and Korea during June. In Fukuoka, in western Japan, teams of robots will compete in Robocup 2002. It is built around the dream of a Japanese robotics expert that, by 2050, robot technology will be at the stage where a robot team can take on and beat the real World Cup winners. Engineers are still a long way from that goal but the Robocup edges them one step closer, http://www.robocup.org.