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Bravo France. But who won the 2018 World Cup online?

Yes, okay, France won this summer’s World Cup in Russia. But more importantly, who were the winners online… and who were the losers? We put the tournament under the microscope and pluck out our highlights.

World Cup winners and losers online at this majestic football tournament in Russia 2018

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed football hardcore or a fair-weather football fan, I think we can all unanimously agree that this sun-drenched summer was an incredible ride.

There are columns and columns of words analysing every inch of the World Cup. Words written by people far more qualified to do so than us. However, where we’d like to throw in our thoughts on who won the World Cup online… and who scored an own goal.


Let’s kick off with ‘Hey Duggee’. In the absence of an official World Cup tune in the lead up to the tournament, in stepped an unlikely hero. As the talented folk from BBC Creative reworked Hey Duggee’s Stick Song into The Kick Song it became an unofficial World Cup anthem. My kid’s rendention ‘Kicky kicky kick kick’ is still ringing in my ears. Thank you, BBC Creative. Thank you.

The song enjoyed over 6 million views (and rightly so).


Where else to start but with the theatrics of the Brazilian talisman Neymar Jnr. It’s safe to say we didn’t like his antics very much here in the UK. Not at all. But as the anger subsided, the good old British humour took flight as various memes were created to illuminate the striker’s diving:

Neymar Jnr enjoyed 6m total page views during the World Cup. Only trumped by Messi and Ronaldo.


Our favourite sponsored content came from a joint venture between Dominos and SportsBible. Here cheeky chappy Jimmy Bullard is caught watching England in style, in his paddling pool, in the comfort of his own back garden. Football. Sun. England 5-1 triumph. For football fans up and down the country this would surely have been the epitome of living the dream.

6 million people took a peek at Jimmy in his pants.


This time an unlikely loser in Belgian Michy Batshuayi. In what should have been a moment of triumph as Belgium scored against England, Batshauyi followed the goal up with a rasping shot which hit the post and smacked him straight in the chops on the rebound. My word, the English loved that. There was no hiding for Michy with the whole episode caught perfectly on camera.


But Michy turned it around by being such a good sport about it.

These two tweets alone enjoyed 550,000 likes (although it looks like the video for one has since been removed):


Mastercard scored somewhat of an own goal with their ‘Meals for goals’ campaign, promising to donate 10,000 meals to children in Latin America and the Caribbean every time football stars Lionel Messi or Neymar Jr scored until 2020. The campaign stirred quite the debate on Twitter with high profile personalities publicly ridiculing the initiative as bad taste.

It came as no surprise that the campaign was scrapped before the tournament had even began.


From the incredible tapestry-animated World Cup trailer ‘History will be made’ to BBC Three’s humorous Twitter commentary, the BBC really nailed this World Cup online. Whilst both national broadcasters enjoyed incredible viewing figures as England progressed throughout the tournament, the BBC saw a huge uplift in online viewing, catering well for this market with UHD options, Connected TV, the red button and even a VR app to enjoy the games.

There was a record 66.8 million match requests, including live and on demand, on the BBC Sport website and iPlayer.


When we thought nothing could trump the beautifully crafted Nigerian football shirt for attention online, in steps an unlikely fashion icon (and his waistcoat) to completely blow it out of the water. If Gareth Southgate wins Sports Personality of the Year, his waistcoat should win the non-human version.

The waistcoat took on a life of its own and, being from M&S, they rightly capitalised on this opportunity with some nifty little tactics. From BA handing out waistcoats at the airport for fans travelling out to Moscow for the semi-final to #waistcoatwednesday – they seized the moment.

Searches for waistcoats on the M&S website increased by over 100% and the waistcoat itself sold out.

I even had a short but sweet response to my own waistcoat tweet:


One thing’s for certain, there were definitely more winners than losers at this World Cup. In fact, when there were losers, we all won, because it created endless tweets and memes for us all to enjoy.

Let us know if you think there were any more winners or losers we missed out over on Twitter.


Matthew Bowell – head of client service and operations

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