It’s hard to believe our month long obsession of World Cup soccer will be coming to end. Whatever will we do once it’s over? Great question. Prepare for European soccer to hit the US? Brush up on our tennis for the US Open? Get on our road bikes and train for the Tour de France? We’re still trying to figure that out, but in the meantime, as you anxiously await for Sunday’s final, we’ve put together some key data points from the last four weeks of soccer for Croatia and France.
While France holds a storied history at the World Cup, as one of only eight national teams to win at least one championship, Croatia‘s participation in the world’s largest, most watched sporting event has been quite different. Until Wednesday, Croatia had never been past the semi-finals. That all changed during their come from behind victory in extra time over England.
Croatia and France: Semi-Final victories pack a punch
Croatia and France have played in six matches each during the World Cup, starting with the Group Stage followed by the knockout stages the last two weeks. France may have a significantly larger social following (13.3 million combined followers) compared to Croatia’s (1.03 million combined followers), but as you can see from the two graphs below, engagement trends during the six match days were almost identically. Since both teams had gone undefeated going into the third match of the Group Stage, thereby clinching a spot for the knockout round, social exposure was the lowest of the six matches.
Croatia’s 3-0 domination of Argentina in the second match of the Group Stage not only saw Luka Modrić bury Messi and squad, but it also clinched the Croatians into the next round. This match earned 500k engagements for Croatia with only the quarterfinal against host Russia and semi-final receiving more.
Croatia’s biggest moment of the tournament came Wednesday in their dramatic victory over England. In a marathon 120-minute match, Croatia won in epic fashion, with Mario Mandžukić scoring in the 109th minute to put the team ahead 2-1. It’s no surprise Croatia earned more than 1.2 million engagements in this historic victory — having never been past the semi-final as a team. From Croatia’s first match against Nigeria to Wednesday’s semifinal, the team nearly quadrupled its match day engagement on social media.
France’s path to the World Cup may include large numbers and an even larger following, as their team consists of some of Europe’s power players, including Griezmann, Pogba, and Mbappé, but engagement trends fall in line with those of Croatia. Because France proved victorious in match 1 versus Australia and match 2 versus Peru, like Croatia, they qualified for the next round, so engagement against Denmark was the lowest of the tournament (almost 1 million).
France’s biggest jump in engagement came following their third Group Stage match when they played Messi and Argentina in the Round of 16 in an exhilarating 4-3 victory. Social engagement more than doubled for France from 1 million to 3.2 million.
Wednesday’s semi-final against Belgium earned France more than 5.4 million engagements, and since the start of the World Cup the team has increased social engagement threefold.
Winning posts from Croatia and France
While Croatia and France’s top posts of the World Cup may be unbranded, with potential missed opportunities for one of their sponsors like Nike to earn exposure, both posts told the same story — V for Victory.
Croatia’s most engaged post came on Instagram after defeating England. Announcing its place in the World Cup finals, Croatia earned more than 68,300 engagements.
France’s most engaged post was a score graphic on Instagram following their 1-0 win over Belgium. This post had more than 437,500 engagements.
Sunday’s final will sure to be an epic battle, and one thing we’ll be on the lookout for is how Nike’s exposure — both teams kits are sponsored by Nike — compares to the World Cup’s official sponsor Adidas. Stay tuned.