The World Cup this year had a lot of firsts -- it was the first-ever win for a European country on South American soil, it was Germany's first win as a united country, and it was the first time social media was used to such an extent during an event.
Throughout the tournament, fans took to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, to cheer on their teams, diss their rivals, and make jokes about the ups and downs of the games. Millions of people tweeted and posted about Germany's final triumph, Brazil's humiliating loss, Uruguay's Luis Suarez' notorious bite, and Neymar's broken vertebrae.
In all, there were 672 million tweets relating to the 2014 World Cup, according to Twitter. This is the highest number of tweets the social network has ever had related to an event -- although these numbers may be slightly skewed since the World Cup involves 64 matches and other events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars are one-time deals and the Olympics is just 16 days.
"Whether the crowd was reacting to a big goal, predicting the outcome of the next match, or discussing the latest injury or controversy, fans came to Twitter to discuss the games 672 million times," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "Every minute of every day it seemed fans across the globe were discussing the drama of the tournament, though we saw the conversation really take off during each live match."
Facebook also saw incredible activity. By the end of the World Cup finals, more than 350 million people on Facebook posted more than 3 billion interactions (posts, comments, and likes) related to the games. Sunday's final game was the biggest sporting event in the social network's history, according to Facebook. Around the world, 88 million people had more than 280 million interactions related to the final match between Germany and Argentina. Facebook's second most talked about sporting event ever was Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, which had 245 million interactions.
The most talked-about match on Twitter was the Brazil vs. Germany semi-final game, which had more than 35.6 million tweets -- a Twitter record for any single event. Coming in second was the final match between Germany and Argentina with 618,725 tweets-per-minute, or 32.1 million tweets. Third was the Brazil vs. Chile match with 16.4 million tweets.
Also, there was no shortage of talk about the players. Not surprisingly, Brazil's Neymar was the most-mentioned player on social media this year. Next in line was Argentina's Lionel Messi. On Twitter, third place went to Uruguay's Luis Suarez after he bit the shoulder of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini while vying for a position during a match; and on Facebook, third place went to Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Facebook's data science team tracked and analyzed what teams its users were supporting based on an online poll the social network ran during the tournament, along with mentions like "Go Team USA" and "Vai Brasil." As some teams lost and dropped out, users would shift support to other countries. The social network noticed some interesting trends, including Latin America's support for all teams within the region except Argentina and Brazil, a German and Italian rivalry, and France's strong support for Portugal.
This year, the World Cup did what it always does -- bring together fans from across the globe to cheer on the games. Only this time, the festivities amped up a notch with record conversations also brought online to social networks.
"The World Cup lived up to its name," Twitter wrote in its blog post. "Conversation about the tournament has reached nearly every country across the globe."