Russia 2018 has been the Fifa World Cup which keeps on giving.
After the high-octane nature of the international soccer tournament’s group stages, one would have been forgiven for thinking that the first round of knockout games would have seen a number of teams burn out. Anyone who adopted that theory, however, would have been wrong.
The third week of the competition served up a figurative passing of the torch, with French teenager Kylian Mbappé announcing his arrival on the world stage as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were sent packing. Much-fancied Belgium survived a major scare against Japan, staging a second-half comeback – capped off with a free-flowing, last-minute counter-attacking goal – to salvage their place in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, the last-16 also produced three anxiety-inducing penalty shootouts, which saw hosts Russia continue their unlikely World Cup journey and England end one of the tournament’s longest-running hoodoos.
With the entertainment showing no signs of slowing, fans continue to ramp up their engagement with the tournament across Instagram, Twitter and just about any other platform that enables them to get their World Cup fix. Fortunately for us, Hookit, SportsPro’s official data partner, has been keeping tabs on the athletes, teams and brands that drove the most interest and engagement on social media during the third week of the tournament.
About this data
Hookit followed activity across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube during the third week of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. The individual accounts of players were tracked, as were the official accounts of all 32 competing nations and those of Fifa’s 12 official World Cup partners. Interaction data comprises the total number of likes, comments and shares.
France hit form - and the front
France’s end-to-end 4-3 win over Argentina saw them drive the most interactions among the competing teams, while Uruguay’s impressive showing against Portugal helped them climb four places into second. Four of the top six most engaging teams sailed through to the quarter-finals, with Russia’s shock win against Spain fuelling the biggest move of the week, as they jumped up 15 spots to sixth. Germany, meanwhile, had the hardest fall, dropping down 12 places after their early exit from the tournament.
Neymar takes advantage as rivals head home
Cristiano Ronaldo’s elimination from the tournament with Portugal had even wider implications as he lost his title as the World Cup’s most engaging player for the first time, dropping six places to seventh. The beneficiary of the Real Madrid man’s exit was Brazilian talisman Neymar, who made more headlines for his theatrics than his goal during Brazil’s 2-0 win over Mexico, but still drove three times as many interactions as second-placed Lionel Messi. Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi surged 58 spots to fourth, but that’s more likely to do with the fact that he was caught cannoning the ball off the post into his face celebrating his side’s goal against England, rather than anything related to his goal-scoring prowess.
Nike returns to form despite Ronaldo’s silence
After experiencing a dip in engagement during the second week of the tournament, Nike reasserted its dominance in the kit sponsor battle in week three. The American brand enjoyed nine times as many interactions as Adidas, despite the fact that Ronaldo failed to post about his sponsor for the first time. Adidas, meanwhile, suffered from a near 50 per cent drop in engagement. The German brand did, however, have a good week from a promotional perspective, receiving 27 posts from its sponsored teams, while it also netted three times as many engagements from posts by its roster of players compared to Nike.
Qatar Airways takes flight as Coke falls flat
After a period of highs during the first two weeks of the World Cup, Coca-Cola was brought back down to earth in week three as its total engagement plummeted by nearly 50 per cent. The big movers from a brand perspective were Qatar Airways, which saw its interactions climb from 240,000 to more than 700,000 over the last seven days, taking it up to fourth in the brand standings.