Why Germany and Argentina's (World Cup) Fate Rests with One Man

World Cup ball In case you have been living under a rock for the past month, the World Cup has been stirring up headlines and exciting soccer (or fútbol) fanatics worldwide.  The tournament, which has called Brazil home for the past 30 days, has seen its fair share of scoring, heroic individual efforts, and bite marks.  The tournament will conclude this Sunday, July 13th when perennial contender Germany takes on Lionel Messi-led Argentina.

The teams won their semifinal matches in completely opposite fashions: Germany dominated Brazil 7-1 while Argentina barely squeaked by Netherlands in penalty kicks. Since the matches were so different, we wanted to understand what social commentators felt about each game and what they are anticipating from each team in the final match.  We used our proprietary social analytics tool, Canvs, to analyze Twitter conversation surrounding the two semifinal matches and uncover insights about what fans can expect for Sunday’s final.

Germany vs. Brazil

What else can be said about this match except GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!!  Every minute, the match generated an average of 1,785 reactions, or tweets that contain emotional content.  It was a scoring frenzy for Germany as they netted 7 goals to defeat Brazil, including the goal that broke the world record for most World Cup goals by a single player (16), achieved by Miroslav Klose.  The record-breaking goal gave Germany a 2-0 lead in the 23rd minute and ignited an increase in congratulatory conversation, with 16% of all reactions “congratulating” Klose and his team.

Klose’s goal was the catalyst for Germany’s offensive onslaught and the onslaught of Twitter reactions about the match.  31% of reactions to the match came during the 6 minute time period in which Germany scored 4 goals.

While Germany was having all the fun, Brazil was falling apart.  20% of all reactions for the match came from those who found the game “sad” and “embarrassing,” specifically mentioning Brazil’s crushing defeat on home turf.  Neymar’s absence was also noticeable as he accounted for almost 64,000 reactions despite not playing.



Following Klose’s goal, the match saw a steady stream of reactions, with conversation dying down a bit following halftime, but picking back up for Germany’s 6th and 7th goals.  This sustained stream of reactions was starkly different than the other semifinal game.

Argentina vs. Netherlands

What else can be said about this match except *yawn.”  The world watched as Argentina and Netherlands played simple, conservative soccer (or fútbol) for 120 minutes, with both teams seemingly content to decide the game in a penalty shootout.  This match generated 269,336 reactions, 72% less than the volume of reactions generated by Germany and Brazil. The only spike in reactions for the match came during the penalty kicks, which accounted for 43% of all match reactions.


The match was very polarizing overall, with half of all reactions coming from those sharing either “love” (30%) or “hate” (20%).  Fans loved that Argentina won, and were excited to see Lionel Messi in the final, while others shared their anger and hatred towards rivaled players, including Messi and Netherlands’ Arjen Robben.  In addition to sharing “love” for Messi, people also shared “congratulations” and their “happiness” for his achievement of making the World Cup final for the first time.  Messi was mentioned in 29% of all reactions during the match.


What to expect for the final

While Germany and Argentina each took different routes to get to the final match, it seems that both teams will have to focus one on thing to win the FIFA World Cup trophy: Lionel Messi.  If we’ve learned anything during the semifinals, it’s  that star power is important. Fans cited that the absence of superstar player Neymar, who was mentioned in 7% of reactions to the game, destroyed Brazil’s ability to match Germany offensively.  Touted as one of the best players in the world, Lionel Messi carries a similar burden for Argentina.  40% of reactions surrounding Messi during the semifinal match came from those saying he was the “best”.  The lack of a FIFA World Cup championship to his name is possibly the only thing holding him back from going down as the greatest of all time.  Twitter fans believe that for Germany to win on Sunday, they must prevent Lionel Messi from rounding out his resume and cementing himself in FIFA history.

Tweet Source: Nielsen. Relevant Tweets captured from three hours before, during, and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time