What have we learned from this year’s World Cup?
This summer’s tournament ended with Germany emerging victorious, and in doing so, they became the first team outside of South America to win on South American soil. What other information can we take from the 20th edition of football’s greatest international competition? In this article we explore what was apparent (and not so apparent) at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
It’s official, the 2014 World Cup has become social media’s biggest ever sporting event Facebook announced that the game was the biggest sporting event ever on the social network, generating 280 million interactions (which include posts, comments, and likes) related to the sporting event. Surprisingly, just 88 million people were able to generate that much action on the service. Overall, the World Cup generated 3 billion transactions across Facebook during the month it was held. Over 350 million people interacted with others about the sporting event.
Twitter offered up similar data on Monday, saying that 32.1 million tweets were sent during the World Cup final. The game also set a record for most tweets per minute, hitting nearly 619,000 after Germany prevailed. Lionel Messi became the most talked about player on social media with over 363,000 mentions across the internet. Interestingly, even though they failed to get out of their group, Portugal were the most talked about team at the World Cup on social media.
The 2014 World Cup has delivered the most technologically advanced sporting experience of any large-scale event – globally. The innovation pioneered at the 2014 games has revolutionised the accuracy and efficiency of the sport itself, transforming the experience for players, stadium spectators and global observers. With goal-line technology coming from Germany, vanishing spray from Germany, an in-depth scouting application from England and the Brazuca ball technology produced in India, the players were impacted by advanced technology from around the world. As s mentioned in a previous blog, the jerseys worn by the players also aided their performance in the heat of Brazil.
The rise of soccer in the US
The 2014 World Cup proved to be a bench mark for the USA on a number of fronts. Firstly, the American public set a new viewing record with 26 million “Soccer” fans watching the final in the USA – the most watched soccer game in US history. Only 3 million less watched the USA bow out against Belgium in the knock-out phase. The World Cup will result in more viewing figures for USA soccer fans for the future, with Fox Sports and Telemundo paying £600m for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision Deportes spending £420m for MLS coverage to 2022, while NBC has handed over £146m for the rights to the English Premier League. On the field, the USA qualified from arguably the toughest group in the competition. The state of the USA team is quite positive, and as they are still developing as a footballing nation, things can only get better. The appointment of Jurgen Klinsmann has brought a new professionalism and style to the squad, the improvements to the MLS in attracting top players from around the world is giving the home grown players higher standards to match and the investment and development of coaches and grassroots coaching will reap great rewards in the future.
Have no doubts about it, Germany winning this year’s tournament was no accident. To begin with, the eventual winners went as far as building their very own training camp and resort in Santo Andre (about 680 miles from Rio). What is now called Campo Bahia had never been inhabited before the German team arrived in Brazil, and the future plan is for it to open to the public as a luxury holiday village. The German Football Association also shipped 23 tons of luggage and equipment for Germany’s stay in Brazil, including mountain bikes, billiards, table-tennis tables and even dartboards. A media centre and a floodlit FIFA -regulation football pitch, complete with an accompanying facility for goalkeeper training, were also constructed within walking distance to fulfil, rather than booking into an urban hotel and competing with Brazilian traffic.
The seeds of Germany’s 2014 World Cup win were sown 14 years ago. After a poor showing at Euro 2000, the German Football Association invested heavily in grassroots football. Investment increased in academies each and every year, with an emphasis on improving coaching standards and focusing on developing fewer “bruisers” and more technically adept players. The result saw the emergence of a young generation of international German stars, players like Mario Goetze, Marco Reus, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels, and Julian Draxler.
On 21 July a ceremony was held in Samara to mark the start of construction work on a new stadium that will host FIFA World Cup matches in 2018. The Russian world cup will now become the centre of attention.
No doubt there will be numerous advancements and improvements in 2018 both on and off the field.
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