The waiting is finally over. Last night, the 2014 World Cup finally got underway as hosts Brazil beat Croatia in the opening fixture of arguably the most famous sporting event on the earth.
It's safe to say football fans across the world will be glued to their screens for the next month or so, but it won't just be TVs that have caught their attention. A growing number of supporters are choosing to watch games through the internet and this means they are following their team on their computer, tablet and other devices.
In many ways the World Cup will represent the growing link between football and the internet, as the tournament is set to receive extensive online coverage in the UK. All of the games will be streamed lived through the BBC and ITV websites, with an extensive amount of online content also set to be published, ranging from video highlights to match reports and interviews.
It's safe to say the internet has become an increasingly important part of the average football fan's life and there's plenty of ways the web has enhanced the beautiful game. We take a look at some of these below.
Staying on the ball
The internet has usurped TV, newspapers and magazines as the world's number one source of information. Whether it's keeping up with the latest signings on transfer deadline day or finding out what was said at the big match press conference, the web is the first place to look for all the important news and information.
Social media is becoming a vital component of everyday life and the football world is no exception. Facebook and message boards provide the perfect place to talk with other supporters, while Twitter makes it possible to follow and even interact with players and pundits.
For those people who don't quite make it as a professional footballer or manager, the next best thing is to fulfil their dream through a computer game. Be it Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer or Football Manager, the internet helps to take these titles to the next level by allowing players to test their wits against others from all around the world.
One of the biggest ways the internet has influenced the football world is betting. The online betting market for the sport has become huge, with the instant connectivity provided by the web making it possible for people to place bets from their own home while watching the game.
The web also makes it easier than ever for fans to show their support by purchasing their club's latest shirt and other merchandise. A far greater choice tends to be available online and prices are cheaper a lot of the time too.
Of course, to make the most of the benefits of being an online football fan, a fast and reliable connection is required - something Avonline can help with.