The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ will be remembered for the defining moments. Germany ultimately claiming the trophy that had eluded them since 1990, hosts Brazil crashing out to the eventual champions in unprecedented fashion, and Spain’s golden era coming to a humbling conclusion.
The significant moments of the World Cup do not end on the pitch. With the rise and ubiquity of social media, these landmark occasions of the beautiful game are processed by millions of football fans and players themselves around the world through social media platforms. When USA goalkeeper Tim Howard makes 16 saves in a match, the world reacts. When Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal introduces goalkeeper Tim Krul in the last minute of extra time in an unforgettable moment of strategy and mind games, there is unparalleled social chatter.
With the immediacy of social media, most notably Twitter, some of the stand-out moments of Brazil 2014 occurred. The micro-blogging platform itself saw records broken; 672m tweets were sent about the World Cup and an extraordinary 618,725 tweets per minute (TPM) were sent after Germany claimed the trophy and 35.6m tweets (a record for a single sporting event) were posted during the eventual champions’ stunning 7-1 semi-final victory over the hosts.
Millions of football fans around the world also went to Facebook to converse and interact about the events at Brazil 2014. Over 350 million people joined in on the social network, generating three billion interactions (posts, comments and likes). The tournament generated the highest level of conversation for any event in history. During the Final between Germany and Argentina, 88 million people generated 280 million Facebook interactions, making the match the single most-talked-about sporting event in the platform's history.
FIFA.com takes a look at some of the most notable and outstanding moments on social media from the tournament.
Mario Balotelli requests a cheeky kiss, 19 June
If we beat Costa Rica i want a kiss,obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen..
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) June 19, 2014
After England were all but eliminated from the finals following defeat to Uruguay, Italy forward Balotelli had a chance to give the Three Lions a lifeline as his side faced Costa Rica, leading to him requesting a royal audience. As it happened, Costa Rica saw off the Azzurri and ended up topping Group D, while Balo and Co were knocked out by Uruguay themselves in their final group game.
#ThingsHowardCouldSave, 2 July
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) July 1, 2014
USA goalkeeper Tim Howard made a quite incredible 16 saves in his side’s Round of 16 defeat to Belgium, and the performance drew praise from opponents and those around the world on social media. As a result, the hashtag #ThingsHowardCouldSave went viral, with users superimposing images of Tim Howard onto different scenarios in a hilarious and well-natured response to the Everton stopper’s remarkable performance.
David Luiz & James Rodriguez, 4 July
There were touching scenes on the final whistle of the quarter-final between Brazil and Colombia as a heartbroken James Rodriguez wept and was consoled by Seleção No4 David Luiz. The images sparked a warm response on social media, with Luiz himself posting on Twitter and Instagram: ‘Você é um campeão hermano’ (‘You are a champion brother’).
#TimCahilling during Brazil 1-7 Germany, 8 July
— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill) July 8, 2014
The world watched in shock and awe as Germany destroyed the hosts in a devastating first half. A new Twitter record was set for a single event as 35.6m tweets were posted during the game and a new TPM record was also set during that game (580,166, a record broken five days later) when Sami Khedira scored the fifth German goal. One tweet in particular posted during the match, by Socceroos midfielder Tim Cahill, sparked a global craze with users from around the world posting their own shocked images using the hashtag #timcahilling.
Germany win World Cup, Twitter explodes, 13 July
— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 13, 2014
The Final itself was a huge event, with 32.1m tweets sent during the match (second only to Brazil 1-7 Germany), and the moment Mario Gotze scored his winning goal sent ripples throughout the social scene, with 556,499 TPM after the Bayern Munich man’s exquisite finish. That was topped by the final whistle, as a new record of 618,725 TPM were posted after Germany were announced as World Cup champions.
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