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Published December 19th 2022

World Cup 2022: Stats, Players, Highlights, and More

The World Cup is the most widely watched and followed sporting event in the world.

The 2022 World Cup wrap-up

This post provides coverage of the conversation on social at the 2022 FIFA World Cup during the finals.

PLEASE NOTE**

All data was gathered from Sunday, December 18, 7.00am-7.00pm EST, and November 20-December 18, 7.00am-7.00pm EST. 

December 18 wraps up the World Cup 2022, with Argentina beating France on penalties in the finals. 

Before we conclude our World Cup reporting with the most interesting stats and facts from over the last 29 days, let’s look into the social conversation highlights from the finals.

Finals

Viral posts

We used Brandwatch’s AI assistant Iris to analyze the finals conversation minute-by-minute and detect if there were any significant changes in online conversation and what triggered them.

Story #1 A manga depicting the win of the Argentinian team in the finals went viral on social media shortly after the official announcement. 

Story #2 “We are going to penalties! #WorldCupFinal” Tweet, depicting Homer Simpson having a heart attack, generated a lot of engagement. 

Story #3 The official Twitter account of the FIFA World Cup posted about Mbappe’s epic hat-trick, triggering comments, likes, and shares. 

Top numbers from the World Cup finals

Team and player data

The Argentinian team received almost double the mentions compared to France, accounting for 57% of all mentions relating to the 32 World Cup teams: 

  • Argentina - 412k mentions, accounting for 57.13% of the entire team-related conversation
  • France - 232k mentions, accounting for 32.2% of the entire team-related conversation

Altogether, the Argentinian players received 228% more mentions than the French players:

  • Argentinian players - 1,861,706 mentions
  • French players - 567,271 mentions

Neediness to say that with close to 1.7m mentions, Lionel Messi was the most mentioned player during the finals, followed by Kylian Mbappe, with close to 500k mentions.

In fact, Messi is hugely popular on the internet. His photo holding the World Cup trophy generated so many likes that it topped Brandwatch’s 20 Most Liked Posts on Instagram list.

The sponsor data

Adidas and Budweiser together accounted for over 87% of the entire sponsor conversation, with 63% and 24% of all mentions, respectively. 

It’s a wrap

With that, let’s wrap up our World Cup reporting with the top stats and highlights from the last 29 days. 

Top viral posts from the World Cup 2022

We analyzed 29 days of the World Cup minute-by-minute, and here are the top three viral posts:

Story #1 A Tweet published on the official Twitter account of the FIFA World Cup concluding the results of the finals became the most viral post during the World Cup. 

Story #2 Using the #JUNGKOOKxFIFA, a BTS fan account on Twitter posted a one-hour reminder, informing BTS fans about Jungkook’s upcoming performance at the opening ceremony. 

Story #3 Morocco became both the first African and Arab nation to reach a semi-final at a World Cup. 

Top stats

Demographic data

Share of conversation by language

After English, Japanese was the second-largest language, accounting for nearly 11% of the entire World Cup conversation.  

One of the bigger topics contributing to the conversation in Japanese was Midori Tanaka's goal against Spain. Initially ruled out as out of play, the goal was later recognized by the VAR (video assistant referee) after a review, leading Japan to a historic victory.

Top locations and Tweeters

Where did people tweet from? 

Japan was the most commonly mentioned location reported in the bio of Twitter individuals discussing the World Cup.  

Team social data

We gathered mentions relating to all 32 participating teams, and the Argentinian team generated the most conversation between November 20 and December 18, accounting for close to 18% of the entire team-related conversation.

Player social data 

Individual player mentions 

With over 4m mentions, Messi is officially the most mentioned football player during the 2022 World Cup.

How did the World Cup sponsors do?

With close to 37% of all sponsor conversation, Adidas was the most mentioned sponsor brand at the 2022 World Cup, followed by Budweiser with 17% of the entire sponsor-related conversation. 

Thank you for following our updates on the 2022 World Cup.

Are there any particular topics you would like to see us explore next?

Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]  

2022 FIFA World Cup: The quarterfinals and semifinals recap

This post provides coverage of the conversation on social at the 2022 FIFA World Cup during the quarter-finals and semifinals.

PLEASE NOTE**

All data was gathered from Friday, December 9-10, 7.00am-7.00pm EST, December 13-14, 7.00am-7.00pm EST. 

December 14 wraps up the 25th of 29 days of the World Cup 2022, and we only have four teams remaining in the tournament. Croatia vs. Morocco in the third-place playoff and France vs. Argentina in the finals. 

Let’s start by looking into the quarterfinals conversation.

Quarterfinals

Viral posts

But first, how do we determine the virality of a post?

Brandwatch’s AI assistant Iris automatically detects if there are any significant changes in online conversation, then uses AI to pinpoint what caused the conversation to grow.

Story #1 Morocco became the first Arabic-speaking country to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup. When they beat Portugal 1-0, the players got down on their knees to pray. This story trended on social on December 10.

Story #2 A group hug by the Argentinian team after beating the Netherlands and moving on to the semifinals.  

Top numbers

Demographic data

After English, Portuguese was the second-largest language, accounting for nearly 11.6% of the entire World Cup conversation.  

When we looked at the common locations (reported in the bio of Twitter individuals), Brazil was the top location with close to 61k authors, representing 17% of all people tweeting about the World Cup quarterfinals. 

What triggered the conversation among the Brazilian fans?

Many Brazilian fans spoke very negatively about the referee Michael Oliver, who officiated the game between Brazil and Croatia in the first quarterfinal. While referees can sometimes get a bad rep, Michael Oliver has received death threats in the past, prompting the news publication Wales Online to include this bit of information in the headline introducing the referee to the readers.

Team social data

Between Friday, December 9, and Saturday, December 10, the eight succeeding teams generated over one million mentions on social media. Mentions of the Moroccan team made up over 18% of the entire conversation, followed by mentions of Brazil at 15%. 

Player social data 

Individual player mentions 

The Argentinian players were mentioned the most in conversations about individual players at the World Cup quarterfinals, accounting for 30% of all individual player mentions. 

After Argentina won 3-0 over Croatia, Lionel Messi received the MotM (Man of the Match award). 

How does one get awarded the Man of the Match award? 

The big, red Budweiser trophy is awarded by the public on FIFA’s website. As Eurosport describes it: “Between the 60th and 88th minute of every World Cup game there is the opportunity for anyone around the world to submit their vote. Players are sorted in a list by minutes played, or alternatively voters can filter the results by team, position or by simply searching for the Player of the Match.”

The most mentioned players

While there were no changes in the top three spots compared to the round of 16, England moved up a spot, replacing France, and Croatia made it to #5 on the list. 

How did the World Cup sponsors do in the quarterfinals?

Adidas did very well in the quarterfinals when compared to the round of 16 sponsor conversation. This time around, Adidas secured over 62% of all sponsor conversations on social media, followed by Budweiser with 21% of the entire sponsor-related conversation. 

Deep dive 

Sentiment on social

At 25% each, Brazil and France saw the highest percentages of positive mentions, followed by Portugal with 16% positive mentions of all sentiment-categorized mentions. 

Similarly to the round of 16, Brazil and Portugal also saw higher percentages of negative conversation than the rest of the teams. 

At 2% of all sentiment-categorized mentioned, Morocco received the least amount of negativity of all teams.

Global emotions during the quarterfinals

As the teams progress towards the finish line, the emotions expressed online become stronger and higher in volume. 

By mention volume, joy remained the most prominent emotion on social media in conversations relating to the World Cup between December 9-10, 2022. 

However, the emotions of sadness, surprise, anger, fear, and disgust all saw a huge increase in mention volume. We expect a similar picture as we move closer to the finals.

Semifinals

Four teams fought in the semifinals for the chance to be the last two in the World Cup, resulting in Argentina facing France in the finals.

Here’s our quick wrap-up of the semifinals. 

Viral posts

Story #1 An emotional embrace between the Argentinian and Croatian team players after Croatia lost to Argentina 3-0 triggered a lot of engagement online. 

Story #2 The news about France winning against Morocco was actually widely positively discussed by both sides. Supporters of Morocco poured to social media on Wednesday to praise the team for making history by becoming the first African nation and first Arab nation to reach a World Cup semifinal. 

Story #3 A one-line tweet from Mbappé informing the team’s supporters and the world about France making it to the finals generated over 715k likes by 7pm EST on December 14 (when we pulled the data). 

Top numbers

Demographic data

% Share of online conversation, by language

With over 400k mentions, Spanish was the second-largest language, accounting for 12% of the entire World Cup semifinals conversation. 

  • Mentions in French made up for a little over 10% of the entire conversation. 
  • Mentions in Arabic accounted for 290k – 8.64%.
  • Mentions in Portuguese accounted for 185k – 5.49%.

Top locations and Tweeters

Where did people tweet from during the quarterfinals? 

The top four most commonly mentioned locations (reported in the bio of Twitter individuals discussing the World Cup semifinals) were:

  • France – 25k mentions, representing 11% of the entire conversation
  • The United States – 22k mentions, accounting for 10% of the conversation
  • Argentina – 22k mentions, representing 10% of the conversation 
  • Brazil – 19k mentions, or 9% of the entire conversation 

Team social data

Team vs. player data

The French team generated the most mentions during the semifinals of the four participating teams, representing 33% of the entire conversation relating to the teams.

Player social data 

Without diving deeper into the data, one can probably guess which player was mentioned the most in World Cup conversations between December 13-14. It’s Messi whose name is prominently displayed on the topic cloud.

Individual player mentions 

Two French and two Argentinian players made the top five most discussed players during the semifinals, with Luka Modrić from Croatia squeezed in the middle of the chart. 

How did the World Cup 2022 sponsors do in the semifinals?

Adidas, Budweiser, and Qatar Airways dominated the sponsor conversation during the semifinals. 

Sponsor brands: Viral moments on social

The Tweet below recreated a magic moment during the quarterfinals. This was when Messi found a seemingly impossible pass in the game against the Netherlands. In fact, some football experts were quoted saying that “Messi watches the game from above.”

This Tweet was published on the Adidas Football Twitter account and sent the brand trending in conversations relating to World Cup sponsors.

Sentiment on social

Global emotions

Joy was the most prominent emotion on social media in conversations relating to the World Cup between December 13-14 2022. 

Many football fans joyfully discussed a heartfelt embrace between Messi and Luka Modrić after Croatia lost to Argentina 0:3. Luka was also quoted saying that he wishes Messi wins and that Messi is the best player in history. 

Summary

December 14 marked the end of the semifinals, and we are now one step closer to witnessing history: on Sunday, December 17, Argentina will face France in a fight for the World Cup winner. So stay tuned. 

Are there any particular topics you would like to see us explore when we follow up on the World Cup next week? 

Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]  

This post provides coverage of the conversation on social at the 2022 FIFA World Cup during the round of 16.

PLEASE NOTE**

All data was gathered from Saturday, December 3, 7:00am EST to Tuesday, December 6, 7:00pm EST. 

2022 FIFA World Cup: The round of 16 recap

The Round of 16, also known as the round before the quarterfinals, wrapped up on Tuesday, December 6. From here on out, just eight teams remain to fight for the title of World Cup winner. 

Viral posts

Story #1: After beating Spain in penalties in the round of 16, Morocco becomes the first African nation to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup since 2010. 

It’s said that Luis Enrique, the Spanish team’s head coach, had instructed his team to take at least 1,000 penalties in training before the big game. Despite that, they didn’t score a single goal in the shootout defeat to Morocco – the story that paved the way to many jokes and memes on social. 

Story #2: Croatia saves their spot in the quarterfinals with a “hat-trick”, eliminating Japan from the tournament altogether. 

Story #3: A photo of Vinícius Júnior, a Brazilian player, with “GOAL” in the caption went viral after Brazil beat Korea 4:1 on Monday, December 5, sending the Korean players back home. 

Top numbers

Demographic data

English is the most widely spoken language in the world, so it’s not surprising to see it dominate the World Cup conversation on Twitter.

But interestingly, the second-largest conversation belonged to Japanese football fans, accounting for over 18% of the entire World Cup conversation.

Top locations and Tweeters

We also looked at the top locations from where people tweeted about the round of 16. 

When we looked at the common locations (reported in the bio of Twitter individuals), Japan was the top location, with close to 133k authors, representing 28% of all authors tweeting about the World Cup. 

Why Japan, you might ask?

After a historic win against Spain last week (you can read about it further down), the team lost to Brazil 1:4.

After the team’s loss, some Japanese fans took to social media to express the words of gratitude and support to their football team, including the Prime Minister of Japan.

Another fan posted on a Japanese social network that they were proud to be Japanese. 

A picture is worth a thousand words

In Japan, bowing to another person is a sign of respect. And the lower the bow, the more respect the person has for you. 

As a highlight, the Japanese coach received a lot of praise and sympathy online for bowing to the crowd and supporters after Japan got eliminated. 

Team social data

Between Saturday, December 3, and Tuesday, December 6, the eight succeeding teams have generated close to one million mentions on social media. Brazil alone makes up 19% of the entire conversation, closely followed by England's team at 17.2%.

Player social data 

Individual player mentions 

The Argentinian players were mentioned the most in conversations about individual players at the World Cup, with close to 20% of all individual player mentions. 

"Pythagoras in boots"

On December 3, Messi scored his 789th goal in his 1.000th match and his first goal ever in a knockout game at a World Cup. With this ninth World Cup goal, Messi has broken Diego Maradona’s record.

And some excited fans went as far as calling their idol "Pythagoras in boots."

The most mentioned players

Here we saw some changes from last week. 

While the French football team accounted for slightly over 13% of the total team conversation, one of its players, Mbappe, took over the third spot on the list of the most mentioned players during the round of 16. 

With five goals scored in the World Cup so far, Mbappe is leading in the Golden Boot Race – the news that sent fans raving about Mbappe on social. 

While Brazil’s Richarlison made headlines last week, this week, his popularity was overtaken by his teammate Neyman. The star player sustained an injury on his right ankle when he scored the winning goal against Serbia on December 1. And it wasn’t immediately clear whether he’d be allowed to continue playing in the World Cup. Understandably, Neyman’s return to the field on December 5 brought in large volumes of fan conversations on social, pushing the number of mentions up exponentially.

How did the World Cup sponsors do in the round of 16?

Between December 3 and 6, Adidas and Budweiser saw the highest percentage of brand mentions in conversations relating to the World Cup, accounting for over 66% of all sponsor mentions on social media.

Sponsor brands: Viral moments on social media

Using Brandwatch’s AI assistant Iris, we looked at sponsor brand mentions between December 3 and December 6 to track any viral moments in the World Cup relating to the sponsor content.

The announcement from the US national football team about an upcoming match between the US and the Netherlands caused a spike in conversation, prompting the sponsor brand, Visa, to trend on social. 

Adidas is another sponsor brand that saw a significant spike in brand mentions on December 4. The conversation about Adidas intensified upon FIFA’s announcement about Argentina securing their spot in the quarterfinals, with @adidasfootball tagged in the Tweet.

If we remove the Adidas and Visa discussions, we get a clearer image of other sponsor brands' mentions as they accumulated during the game, including the Budweiser conversation. 

Deep dive 

Sentiment on social

At 25% each, Brazil and France saw the highest percentages of positive mentions. Brazil and Portugal also saw higher percentages of negative conversation than the rest of the teams. 

Global emotions during the World Cup’s group of 16

Overall, joy was the most prominent emotion on social media in conversations relating to the World Cup between December 3 and 6 2022. 

Fans discussed with joy the spectacular design of a Qatar stadium and the halftime performance by a Nigerian rapper Rema. 

The second most joyful mention involved the Moroccan team, whose players went down on their knees to pray after reaching the World-Cup quarterfinals.

Summary

December 6 marked the end of the group of 16, and next, we’ll be covering the quarterfinals. So stay tuned. 

Are there any particular topics you would like to see us explore when we follow up on the World Cup next week? Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].

2022 FIFA World Cup: The round of 32 recap

PLEASE NOTE**

All data was gathered from November 20 to December 1 2022. 

From an eyebrow-raising opening speech to a Superman pitch invader waving the LGTBQ+ flag – this year’s World Cup has been anything but boring. 

For the next few weeks, we’ll be drilling into the social data surrounding the sporting event to give you insights into how consumers engage in conversations relating to the World Cup.

Before we dive into who’s driving the World Cup conversation, let’s quickly acknowledge some of the top social media moments of the past 24 hours:

1. A historic win for Japan against Spain went viral, as Japanese fans took to social media to celebrate.  

2. Two historically strong teams, Germany and Belgium, were eliminated from the World Cup 2022. “A historic shocker,” as one reporter called it.

3. Arab fans cheered Morocco on as they beat first Croatia, then Belgium, and finally Canada and are now the last Arab team in the World Cup.

Essential stats at a glance

Most used World Cup hashtags

The top two spots on the list belong, unsurprisingly, to the official hashtags of the World Cup 2022, #FIFAWorldCup and #Qatar2022.

#SayTheirNames is the third most popular hashtag on Twitter, and people use it to draw attention to the ongoing protests in Iran.

BTS’ indisputable influence across the globe was yet again confirmed when BTS’ Jung Kook debuted the solo single at the World Cup opening ceremony for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. #Dreamers2022 landed the fifth spot in the top five most popular World Cup hashtags. 

The most retweeted content

"See you at the Opening!" - Jung Kook

Tweeted from the official Twitter account of the FIFA World Cup, the video of BTS’ Jung Kook announcing the time of his performance at the opening generated close to 200k retweets. 

In fact, the top 10 most retweeted tweets since November 20 feature Jung Kook. 

Team analysis

The England national football team saw the highest share of conversation relating to the World Cup, with close to 10% of the entire conversation.

Team vs. player data

While England scored the most mentions of all the teams, when it came to posting about players, the Argentinian players overall received far more mentions than the English men.

Who are the top three most discussed players so far? 

With over 700k mentions (that’s 77% of all player conversations), Lionel Messi is so far the most mentioned player online. He beat Cristiano Ronaldo by more than 160k mentions.

What caused these mention spikes? 

Besides the rumor of this World Cup being the last one for Messi, he also made unwanted World Cup history when Poland‘s Wojciech Szczesny saved his penalty. This makes Messi the first player ever to miss two penalty kicks at the World Cup (his last miss was against Iceland in the 2018 group stage). Many saw the save as vindication, as the penalty against Poland was a controversial one in the first place.

Cristiano Ronaldo also made history by becoming the first player to score in five World Cups. And once again, Ronaldo fans took to social media to debate who’s the greatest of all time.

And lastly, Richarlison scoring the first goal for Brazil in the World Cup, sent fans raving about it on social.  

Team sentiment analysis

We analyzed the conversations about all 32 teams to understand how World Cup fans feel about the participating teams.

The Iranian national team saw the highest percentage of negative mentions in social conversations relating to the team, with 28% of those conversations categorized as negative. 

The news about the team refusing to sing the country’s national anthem before the game trended on social media. While some celebrated the team decision as courageous, others jumped on this opportunity to criticize the team for not doing enough to raise awareness of the ongoing protests. 

Portugal came in second, with 18% of all conversations categorized as negative, no doubt because of Cristiano Ronaldo trying to claim Bruno Fernandes’ goal against Uruguay and the controversial decision to award the same star player a penalty in the Portugal vs. Ghana game.

Brazil saw the highest percentage of positive mentions, with 32% of all mentions categorized as positive. Saudi Arabia followed suit, with 26% of all mentions categorized as positive. 

How did the World Cup sponsors do?

Share of voice

With that, we saw some differences in how these sponsors were discussed. For example, close to 91% of the conversation relating to Adidas came from English-speaking football fans. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, saw 96% of mentions coming from Japanese-speaking fans. 

Sentiment 

Of all sponsor brands, Hyundai saw the highest volume of positive mentions, with 85% of mentions categorized as positive. And not without the help from BTS. Hyundai has partnered with BTS and several other influencers for a World Cup global campaign that focuses on sustainability. 

Qatar Airways followed Hyundai with 34% of all brand mentions categorized as positive.  

Reach score

Whose logo reached the most consumer eyeballs on Twitter?

Slide left to see the post

The Red S with a yellow dot to its right, the logo that represents a South Africa-based group of television channels SuperSport, scored the highest reach on Twitter, with over 45m people reached.

SuperSport provides sports content in South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, and many other African countries.

Summary

Tonight marks the end of the Group Stage, and tomorrow, the Round of 16 begins. We will cover how it all goes down on social media in the next blog post, so stay tuned. 

Are there any particular topics you would like to see us explore when we follow up on the World Cup next week? 

Feel free to drop us a line at [email protected].  

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