World Cup: Meet US team, test your goalkeeping skills with USA TODAY’s interactive, augmented reality features

As defending World Cup champions and the world’s No. 1 team for much of the past three decades, the U.S. women make it look easy.

But is it? Now is your chance to find out.

USA TODAY has released two augmented reality experiences for the World Cup, including its first gaming interactive, “Make the Save.” There’s also “Meet the Team,” which introduces each member of the 23-person team and provides information on the Americans’ next match and their standings within their group.

The World Cup begins Friday in Paris, where France takes on South Korea. The Americans open play June 11 vs. Thailand in Reims, France, with other Group F games June 16 (Chile in Paris) and June 20 (Sweden in LeHavre). The final is July 7.

“We wanted to provide an immersive way to learn more about the US women’s team  throughout the lifecycle of this year’s World Cup,” said Ray Soto, director of emerging technology for USA TODAY. “We have seen how much AR informs and entertains users … and keeping consumers engaged throughout the World Cup experience really builds excitement.”

“Make the Save,” introduces you to starting goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, then gives the viewer the opportunity to try and block penalty kicks. The speed of the shots gradually increases until they reach 80 mph, mimicking live-game action.

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In “Meet the Team,” viewers can click on a player’s photo and see where she’ll play on a virtual soccer field. A thumbnail sketch provides more information about her and why she was selected for the World Cup team. A graphic showing the U.S. team’s latest results and next game will be updated throughout the monthlong tournament.

“Make the Save” and “Meet the Team” is USA TODAY’s latest AR interactive, following the popular “Oscars AR: The costumes and creators” and “The City,” an investigative storytelling podcast. To see the World Cup experiences, download the latest version of  the USA TODAY mobile app and click from mobile devices to view on Android and iOS, or find it within the USA TODAY Sports section.


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