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FIFA World Cup 2014 is finally here, this is the one month where sleep becomes overrated, and football fever is at an all time high. Sure, staying up all night watching the game might not exactly be a form of sports for the spectators like you and me, but it happens only once in four years, so we don’t have to have an excuse right?

Long live football, and long live coffee!

Stadium Astro #OlaBola World Cup Party
Stadium Astro #OlaBola World Cup Party

Last weekend the good people at Astro threw the Stadium Astro #OlaBola World Cup Party just for the football fans among the bloggers. The venue was at Hongdae Moon, located at the rooftop of One City Mall, also one of the taller buildings at this side of USJ.

This was my first time to this relatively new mall, and I really like the concept of having restaurants and hang out places located on top of tall building with great view and unhindered, natural wind.

our hosts Reuben Kang and Jun Yong
our hosts Reuben Kang and Jun Yong explaining the apps

Our host of the day were the duo of pint-size funny man Reuben Kang as well as Astro Supersport TV Host and Miss Malaysia Tourism 2012/2013, Jun Yong.

They did a mighty fine job introducing to us the various Stadium Astro and Astro on the Go, Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup and OlaBola Football Predictor mobile applications that are specifically created just for FIFA World Cup 2014  which I will elaborate later in this same article.

OK, abang Nara and I did not win the football prediction game
OK, abang Nara and I did not win the football prediction game

After a bit of explanations, the real fun begins. Together with a few other bloggers, I was invited to play a couple games on the stage with the hosts.

Abang Nara and I partnered up with Jun to go against another team in playing the Ola Bola Football Predictor game.

the venue at One City Mall had quite an awesome view too
the venue at One City Mall had quite an awesome view too

Ola Bola Football Predictor is a pretty interesting application you can use during the actual World Cup game itself.

For example, during crucial events such as free kicks, corners, and penalty kicks, you make predictions on the outcome of those events to accumulate points when you get it right. The champion of Football Predictor gets to bring home a foosball table!

The game is free on Apple App Store / Google Play Store

the Astro apps you should check out

Of course, that isn’t the only mobile applications available from Astro for this World Cup season. There are a few more you should definitely check out if you’re a football fan.

Astro on the Go, watch from anywhere and not just the living room
Astro on the Go, watch from anywhere and not just the living room

First and foremost, Astro on the Go, an application that features all 64 FIFA World Cup matches live on your mobile device (iPad, iPhone, and Android devices) as well as on the web.

30 of the 64 LIVE matches will be available for free for all Malaysian while customers can purchase single games on pay per view basis for RM6 each as well. You don’t need to be confined to the TV to watch the games live, you can literally be anywhere with an internet connection.

Astro on the Go is free for download on Apple App Store / Google Play Store and via my.astroonthego.com 

Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup app
Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup, check out all the stats!

For the more serious fans, there’s Astro GO 2014 FIFA World Cup application and web player.

This is one serious application for Astro Football Pass customers where all 64 LIVE matches are shown through 6 multi-camera feeds. You can basically be your own producer/director, choosing whichever angle/replay, and check all the match statistics and information in real time. In fact, there are over 4,000 Video On Demand Clips in the app.

Naturally, the application can be found on Apple App Store / Google Play Store and web player via StadiumAstro.com.

Stadium Astro application
Stadium Astro application

If you’re a fan of fantasy football, check out the Stadium Astro Fantasy #OlaBola Edition. You can be a football manager and create your own dream team, transfer player, join leagues, and earn points and rewards based on your player’s performance during the World Cup.

Stadium Astro

Stadium Astro

The best thing is that you stand a chance to win actual prizes if your team comes up on top. Check it out at fantasy.olabola.stadiumastro.com. The website works both on mobile devices and on your computer.

Whose side will you take?
Whose Side Will You Take?

For something a bit more fun and less serious, head on to olabola.my to use the Whose Side Will You Take web application. Here you can make a face-painted photo of yourself and set it as your Facebook profile photo and be a part of the largest face-painting drive in Malaysia.

I’m going Dutch! So what’s your team?

It is 2014, the year of FIFA World Cup. The good thing – awesome football action participated by 32 countries in the world. The not so great thing – you have to stay up all night catching the best actions. The greatest thing – you can actually win a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and watch the game in person!

win a trip to world cup 2014

Now personally I’ve gone through a lot of online competitions, many of them requires a hand eye coordination practise that you’ll never use again, or requires taking photos of yourself in silly costume/situations/poses that you might not want anyone else to see 5 years later.

But this one, is different.VISA’s new 2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game is something else altogether. It is actually a game that is educational, fun, and rewarding all at the same time.

Before we start, lets ask the most important question.

Visa Financial prizes

So what you can stand to win? That’s the ultimate question isn’t it?

Well, here’s what the Grand Prize includes:

  • round-trip coach class air transportation between Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • participation in a four-day, three-night hospitality program
  • two category two tickets to see a FIFA World Cup in Brazil
  • one US$300 Visa prepaid money card.

The 2nd to 5th placed finalists will each win Sony and Adidas merchandise.

The 6th to 10th placed finalists will each win an Adidas merchandise pack.

On top of that, the entry with the highest score each week will win an BSN Premium Savings certificate (BSN Sijil Simpanan Premium) worth RM1,000.

I hope I captured your attention.

The game itself is fairly straight forward, and I think, rather quite ingenious.

2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game

  • step 1: visit
  • step 2: register and login
  • step 3: click on “Play The Game” and select “Single Player”
  • step 4: ready to start the game
  • step 5: select question difficulty: Hard, Medium, or Easy
  • step 6: answer the questions correctly to advance
  • step 7: score to win
  • step 8: post your score

2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game

I actually learned quite a lot from the questions, such as the meaning of being a “good credit risk”, or how to minimize interests while paying down multiple credits, just to name two.

There’s also a time factor in this game, the faster you answer, the more goals you can score, and thus, more points!

Here’s the scoring matrix:

Financial Football scoring matrix

The contest is on-going and will last until 16 April 2014, so start playing now! The top ten scorers will be invited to compete at the Grand Final on 23 April for a chance to win the trip to Brazil.

To learn more about personal finance, which not only will help you score better in this game, but most importantly, managing your money better in real life, VISA partners with consumer advocates, educators, and financial institutions to develop the Practical Money Skills program.

Check out practicalmoneyskills.com and whatsmyscore.org where you can find great educational resources related to the topic that will help increase your knowledge and awareness, and perhaps send you on a trip to Brazil!

So,  head to http://bit.ly/VisaFFMY and play the game today!

There used to be two options to watch World Cup (or indeed any football matches)

  1. Watch it at home on your TV with Astro (or better still, Astro B.yond)
  2. Go to a local mamak or food court with big projector

Now there’s a 3rd option – watch it online on Astro B.player at www.astro.com.my/bplayer!

Astro B.player
Astro B.player webpage, showing current and upcoming games

To access Astro B.player, simply go to www.astro.com.my/bplayer and register. General public gets to stream 38 World Cup games, and if you’re a Maxis user or an Astro Sports package subscriber can watch all 64 matches online live plus match highlights and replays.

The registration process only takes a few minutes. FAQ can be found here.

Japan vs Paraguay on Astro B.player
Japan vs Paraguay on Astro B.player

Though I am a subscriber of Astro B.yond service (with a new 40″ FHD LCD TV that I recently bought), I decided to try the service for the Japan vs Paraguay in the round of 16 matches.

While not exactly full HD quality like you’d get on the TV, the streaming is surprisingly smooth and the audio pretty much indistinguishable from regular feeds.

highlights and replay on Astro B.player
Highlights and instant replay on Save/Misses

What I also like about Astro B.player is the extra feature they added on the site. You can view highlights, goals, saves/misses, and even check on which players are on cards. This is a feature that you can’t get on the TV as yet. Pretty nifty.

All the more miserable for me as Japan painfully exit the tournament by losing 5-4 to Paraguay in the penalties. Poor Komano missed the only penalty, but the Japs did put up a good fight. All Asian teams are out now, 4 more years I guess.

B.player contest

There’s also a contest in conjunction with the launch of Astro B.player. The mechanic is simple:

  • register with Astro B.player at www.astro.com.my/bplayer
  • watch live games on B.player and click on Share button
  • share the URL on twitter (register yourself and follow me if you haven’t!)
  • remember to include #astrobplayer hashtag
  • Astro will track the tweets, and if it’s awesome you’ll stand a chance to win!

The full mechanics are here, and the prizes include 4 laptops, one 42″ LCD TV, and plenty of movie tickets! Check it out on www.astro.com.my/bplayercontest