One day in the life of an international football fan

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There's nothing quite like match day in a major tournament, is there? For one, it's a day when all the usual club allegiances are forgotten and the whole country finds itself on the same side, creating that big game buzz, knowing that come the end of the day you will most likely be feeling one of two emotions – euphoric or inconsolable.

From the first cup of coffee or tea, the build-up is under way, as everything gravitates towards kick-off when the drama that will unfold – and you just know there's going to be drama.

In these days of total connectivity, your first stop might be Twitter to check out the mood among the players in the camp, read the latest on injuries and catch up with interviews.

CHIANGMAI,THAILAND - APRIL 4, 2015: Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send

Then, along with all the hype on the TV and radio, there are dedicated podcasts to tuck into, where arguments about team selection and formations get thrashed out alongside plenty of banter, especially if the draw sees nearby countries going head-to-head.

Among the best are The Guardian's Football Weekly hosted by James 'AC Jimbo' Richardson (which becomes a daily podcast during the tournament), BBC's Radio 5 Live and The Times's The Game hosted by Gabrielle Marcotti.

Once you're up to speed with all the news and debate, and you've glanced at the wall chart for the thousandth time to analyse all the win/lose/draw permutations, the priority turns to where and how to watch the match.

Essentially you've got four options, three of which are a little cheaper than the final one: home, pub, fan park or actually at the game. At home you get to dictate the terms, gather your crew together early, maybe organize a pre-match bbq before settling in for the main event on TV. You're guaranteed a perfect view of all the action and can rest easy knowing your expert tactical analysis of the game will be heard only by friends and family.

Watching football match

The pub can be fantastic, anarchic fun but you need to choose wisely. Big screen, obviously, but the key is to get your seating right. You don't want to arrive hours early to secure a table, only for a man mountain to stand directly in your line of sight five minutes before kick-off. Do a recce a few days before (it's an excuse for a drink, right?) and check with the landlord to see about whether it's possible to reserve a table and where you'll get the best view.

Fan parks are as close as you'll get to feeling like you're actually there at the game, and they can be a good option with families, what with a huge cinema-sized screen and a festival atmosphere – magic shows and face-painting for the kids, and maybe some live bands to keep you entertained before and after kick-off. Drawbacks inevitably revolve around the weather, namely the risk of finding yourself in the middle of an almighty downpour.

If you are lucky enough to have tickets for the game itself, then the schedule is simple. The universally-accepted pre-match routine is thus: sharing a few drinks, buying unhealthy food either outside or inside the ground, finding your seat via several unhappy laps because you are a bit late and missing the first goal.

Then, finally, we get to the game itself. The nerves, the anger, the heartbreak, the delirium – and hopefully a goal or two to celebrate. After 90 minutes (or 120 minutes, or 120 minutes and penalties...) you're likely to be hoarse from all the shouting.

Depending on the result, you'll either feel utterly drained and want to crawl off somewhere to nurse your wounds, or you'll feel remarkably energized and looking around for ways to keep the victory vibe going. Just remember, whatever the result, there's always the next game. And if not the next game, the next tournament.

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