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How the World Cup won the internet

World Cup Germany Win

Germany may have lifted the trophy, but there was much more to this year’s tournament

In soccer terms, Germany’s victory over Argentina in last night’s World Cup final is a big deal. In fact, it doesn’t really get any bigger. It’s not just die-hard fans that have been swept up in this summer’s ball-kicking drama though, with interactions on Facebook and Twitter smashing all sporting records.

This year’s World Cup had already made Facebook history a fortnight ago as it reached one billion interactions, but not even Brazil’s 7-1 drubbing could compare to yesterday’s final – the match sparked 280 million interactions from 88 million people. That beats the previous record – last year’s Super Bowl – by some 35 million likes, posts and comments.

As for Twitter, a new tweets-per-minute record was broken as the final whistle was blown, with 618,725 congratulations and commiserations sent within just 60 seconds. The previous record? That came days earlier as Sami Khedira’s goal (and Germany’s 5th) hit the back of the net in the team’s semi-final rout.

But what does 620,000 tweets per minute actually looks like? Here’s an activity map showing how the final unfolded on the social network;

So, aside from the scorching Brazilian sun, what’s got everyone so hot and bothered? Below are just a few of the World Cup highlights that had us hitting Like, Share or Tweet.

1) Robin Van Persie takes flight

van persie world cup header

It seems so long ago now, but Van Persie’s spectacular diving header in the Netherland’s 5-1 thrashing of Spain was arguably the tournament’s first big viral moment. Dubbed ‘The Flying Dutchman’, RVP’s dive became a meme almost instantly. Our personal favourite? It has to be this Peter Pan edit from Sportive23_;

 

 

 

2) End of an era – Spain slump out early

Adios Spain

Champions of the world four years ago; champions of Europe two years ago – could Spain secure an unprecedented major tournament hat-rick? Although hotly tipped before the World Cup, Spain managed only a single victory and failed to qualify for the second round. We’d like to tell you the internet responded sympathetically, but we can’t;

 

 

 

3) Tim Howard’s ‘big hands’ heroics

This year’s World Cup was particularly notable for peaking the interest of the US – traditionally shunning ‘the beautiful game’ in favor of its own sports. It helps when you have Tim Howard playing in goal, whose performance against Belgium resulted in perhaps our favorite tournament hashtag – #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.

 

 

 

 

4) Hunger strikes – Suarez bites again

Suarez World Cup

Sometimes the World Cup captured our imagination for the wrong reasons, but it doesn’t make the results any less funny. Suarez’s biting antics sent the internet into a frenzy – we even created an infographic to show how likely it is that YOU will be his next victim. Of the other efforts from around the web, we enjoyed this suggestion for an addition to Suarez’s kit next season – albeit now in Barcelona colors;

 

— Martyn Jones (@JonesMartyn) June 24, 2014

5) Mascherano tore his actual anus

No, we’re not being crass – that’s a medical term. No really it is! If you’ve got a strong stomach, relive Javier Mascherano’s heroic stretch that saved the day for Argentina in the last minute of their clash against Netherlands. Ouch.

6) Germany 7 – Brazil 1

When it comes to viral World Cup moments though, surely nothing can top this. It may not be the biggest, but it’s almost definitely the most embarrassing defeat in World Cup History. Germany may have won this year’s main prize, but even in defeat it’s Brazil who leave us with this lasting image;

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