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With the 2010 FIFA World Cup set to kick off June 11, Yahoo! Sports is the latest media company to prep offerings for soccer fans. ESPN is already putting its considerable weight behind the cup, which it has the exclusive television rights to, so Yahoo! has put its focus on making results and news easy to find while also creating some interactive elements that hardcore will enjoy.

At the heart of the offerings is a toolbar, which will deliver real-time scores, news and other updates from the games in South Africa.

Yahoo! will also insert World Cup information into its search results, including photos, videos, schedules and news, making for one less step between someone looking for World Cup information and the content itself.

On the interactive side, Yahoo! is launching a game, the Yahoo Penalty Shootout, which lets fans face off in a virtual kick-off competition. Top players will win tickets to four premiere sporting events, each year, for the next four years.

As has become the norm for sporting events, there will also be a robust fantasy game, for players that are statistically minded.

The press release, with more information about Yahoo!’s coverage, is after the jump.

Yahoo! Innovates for the World Cup

Yahoo!’s Coverage Gives Fans a Chance to “Kick-It” Online, Offline, and On-The-Go for the World’s Largest Sports Event

Today Yahoo! announced an innovative content program to bring World Cup coverage to life online and offline for its users around the world. As part of the broad program which includes a dedicated and highly customized World Soccer “channel” on the global Yahoo! network, Yahoo! will provide fans with complete coverage of the tournament including customized content across multiple platforms, innovative new products, and special events across the globe.

As hundreds of millions of soccer fans prepare for the world’s biggest sporting event, Yahoo! is launching its first global initiative, which features microsites, compelling mobile experiences, fantasy games, and Yahoo! Search tools for more than 20 countries in 12 languages.

Yahoo!’s position as a technology leader continues as it applies innovation to this year’s biggest sporting event:

· Yahoo! Toolbar with World Cup Coverage: Real-time scores, schedules and breaking news, all of which fans can have by downloading the Yahoo! Toolbar with World Cup coverage. The toolbar can be customized with a country-themed skin to support any competing team.

· Fantasy Soccer for World Cup: Yahoo! Sports World Soccer 2010, a pick’em style fantasy soccer game, which lets fans select winners for each match of the World Cup at us.wc.fantasysports.yahoo.com/world-cup. This is Yahoo!’s largest global launch of a fantasy product. Fans can play the game in 22 countries in 11 languages.

· Yahoo Penalty Shootout, an online game that allows fans to face off in a virtual penalty kick competition. Fans in more than a dozen countries will be able to play the game at sports.yahoo.com/soccer/world-cup/ starting at the end of May. Soccer fans will be able to compete with friends, other fans, and sworn soccer rivals from around the world for a chance to win the Yahoo! Sports Pass, tickets to any four premier sporting events in the world per year for the next four years.

· New Shortcuts in Yahoo! Search results which will launch in more than 25 markets throughout the summer. These Shortcuts will provide rich information such as photos, videos, schedules, live scores, stats, team information and news, right on the Search results page.

· Predictalot from Yahoo! Labs, a fun experiment that puts the “wisdom of the crowd” about the World Cup to the test. Predictalot lets fans in every country make millions of interesting predictions, like “How many teams from Europe will advance to the quarterfinals? or “Will a country that has never won before win it all this year?”

· Yahoo! Mobile: Later this month, Yahoo! will launch a comprehensive mobile site covering the World Cup 2010, providing up to the minute scores, schedules, standings, news, player profiles and more. The site will be available in 40 markets, covering 13 languages and accessible across more than 4,500 types of mobile devices. Simply visit http://m.yahoo.com/worldcup from your phone to keep up to date on the latest.

· Customized Experiences for PC: Yahoo! enables fans to get breaking news, scores, player stats, live commentary, and video from Yahoo! Sports, the No.1 online sports destination. Yahoo!’s coverage includes:

· On-the-ground reporting from South Africa by award-winning writers Dan Wetzel, Martin Rogers, and Les Carpenter.

· “World Soccer Roundup,” a daily video news show that will recap top stories and give information on upcoming World Cup events.

· Dirty Tackle, a leading soccer blog from editor Brooks Peck, and contributors Richard Whittall and Ryan Bailey.