To play in the World Cup, soccer's ultimate tournament, you have to be among the best players on the planet. For the rest of us, Google has a hidden game to simulate the thrill of scoring goals for your favorite team.
The game is available on mobile devices, so you can play it anywhere you take your phone or tablet. Watch out, though, because it can be addictive, and you won't have to get up at 4 a.m. to participate, unlike some of the previous games in Qatar, the World Cup's host for 2022.
- Open the Google app, then search for "World Cup."
- Open Google Search in any mobile or in-app browser, then search for "World Cup."
- Say "World Cup" to Google Assistant, then tap the Google Search button under the results to open the query in the Google app or an in-app browser.
You can also search for specific details, such as "World Cup 2022," "World Cup Scores," "World Cup Schedule," "World Cup Qatar," and so on. If you already know a team you want to play for, search for a specific match with them to unveil a shortcut to that particular game in the Mini Cup.
After the results populate, look for a blue button with a soccer ball icon in the bottom right. Tap that.
If you search for a specific match, you'll immediately enter that game (left screenshot below). Otherwise, the Mini Cup menu will appear with a list of results and upcoming matches; On the "Play" tab, select your matchup (right screenshot below).
After entering the game, tap the flag of the team you want to represent. The playing field, featuring a goal and a cartoon goalie (either a pinkish cat, a blue dog, or an orange frog), will fill most of the top half of the screen. On the bottom half, you'll see a soccer ball.
Swipe up on the ball in the direction you want to shoot, preferably away from the goalie, who constantly moves back and forth in front of the goal and increases its speed with every goal scored. A short swipe will kick the ball gently, and a long swipe will kick it fast. Keep shooting until the goalie blocks your shot or until you kick the ball outside the goal.
At the conclusion, you'll get your score for the game. You can share your score with others, along with a link for them to jump directly into the Mini Cup match. Or you can tap the "Play Again" button to have another go, with subsequent matches tracking your total goals and best score until you exit the game.
In addition, you can see the national score for each team as you play. Of course, this score won't contribute to the outcome of the actual match, but you'll feel like you're helping out. Go, team!
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