Germany’s Win Leads to World Cup TV and Social Media Gold

Super Mario shoots the World Cup winner.

Super Mario shoots the World Cup winner.

GOALLLLL Germany! He’s Super Mario! That looks like gold dust for the Germans…

What a great call on the World Cup winning goal scored by Germany’s Mario Gotze. Super Mario will never have to worry about buying himself a beer or a shot for the rest of his life in Deutschland.

Gotze, 22, came on in the 88th minute of play for the Germans, just before regulation ended in a 0-0 tie. It was in overtime, at the 113th minute, that Gotze took a pass on the left from Andre Schurrle, catching the ball on his chest, and popping it off in midair, swiveling to get the distance, angle and power necessary, then driving the kick past goalkeeper Sergio Romero and into Argentina’s net.

This was the first time Argentina had trailed the entire tournament, but the goal held up to give Germany its fourth World Cup Championship, and first title since 1990.

This easily was the best match of the World Cup, and pitted two worthy champions against one another. The technical skill on display, the catching of passes in close traffic, dribbling the ball with legs all around, and the overall ball handling was unparalleled.

Argentina's goalkeeper is overcommitted at this point.

Argentina’s goalkeeper is overcommitted at this point.

Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world, had several quality shots on goal, but couldn’t get the ball into Germany’s net. Even in a loss Messi was awarded the Golden Ball for most valuable player in the World Cup. Ironically, Gotze now has more World Cup titles than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined.

For its win Germany hauled off $35 million. Unfortunately the team doesn’t get to keep the 18-carat trophy they hoisted in victory. Argentina received $25 million as the runner-up. The Netherlands earned $20 million for finishing third and Brazil earned $18 million for fourth place. The U.S. earned $9 million for making the Round of 16.

Even with Team USA eliminated from contention, the FIFA World Cup Final averaged an impressive 26.5 million viewers on ABC and Univision, according to Nielsen – surpassing the 24.7 million who watched the USA-Portugal match.

ABC/ESPN had its best World Cup ever, with viewership up 39 percent over the 2010 World Cup, and up 96 percent over the 2006 World Cup. The combined 26.5 million for Germany’s 1-0 victory is a larger audience than the deciding game for the most recent World Series on Fox (19.2 million) and NBA Finals on ABC (18 million), and also tops the BCS Championship game in college football on ESPN in January (25.6 million).

Sunday’s final also produced a record number of Facebook and Twitter posts. According to Twitter, there were a record 618,725 tweets per minute at one point during Germany’s 1-0 win, outpacing the 580,166 tweets-per-minute peak during Germany’s 7-1 semifinal victory over Brazil. Overall, there were 32.1 million tweets about the game sent during the telecast, Twitter said, or about 3.5 million shy of the 35.6 million generated during Germany’s drubbing of Brazil.

The World Cup final was the most-discussed sporting event ever on Facebook, with an estimated 280 million interactions – like posts and comments – from 88 million users about the game. That’s roughly 35 million more interactions than the record 245 million established during the 2013 Super Bowl, Facebook said.

Gotze has the perfect vantage point from where he lands to watch his kick sail into Argentina's goal.

Gotze has the perfect vantage point from where he lands to watch his kick sail into Argentina’s goal.

Soccer is coming to America finally, and its growth potential is frightening to the other major American sports. A good part of this can be traced to the democratic nature of soccer. Literally anyone can play it.

You don’t have to be nine feet tall, or weight 350 pounds and run a 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.

It requires a ball and that’s it. Put marks in the dirt, two cans separated by a couple yards, whatever is around to mark a goal and you have a makeshift pitch. Hockey and football are ridiculous with the equipment required. It’s hard to play basketball without a goal, ball, and shoes, and baseball takes lots of expensive essentials as well.

Around Kentucky, they were just starting soccer in the high schools when I was graduating in 1985. Now the penetration rate is everywhere.

Besides the democratic nature of soccer, it also allows its participants to play longer and make it more a part of their lives than any American sports.

For anyone that has played Babe Ruth league baseball or junior varsity basketball, and on up the ladder of competition, high school is about as far as most folks can take their sports. It’s hard to find a pick-up football game with all the equipment as young adults out in the work world.

But go down to any city park in a major American city and there will be pick up soccer games and leagues for young adults on up.

Detractors of soccer usually fail to watch long enough to pick up on the nuances of the sport. You have to watch the whole match to take in how each team is playing, and appreciate the fatigue factor when it takes hold. It’s a question of who will mentally or physically breakdown first and allow a goal.

That is why often these matches end 1-0 or 2-1. The skill factor is high, and the scoring is more meaningful.

Gotze's goal is worth a victory kiss from his lingerie-model girlfriend, Ann-Katherin Brommel.

Gotze’s goal is worth a victory kiss from his lingerie-model girlfriend, Ann-Katherin Brommel.

Additionally Soccer is far more regal and dignified than any major U.S. sport. There were no insipid beer and pickup truck advertisements that come especially with American football. Nor was there all the whining or braggadocio that is annoyingly displayed all over the NFL and NBA.

With soccer the focus is on the team and the sport, not the individual, which American sports has solidly turned toward as salaries for individual players have increased dramatically. American sports feed off individual personalities instead of team identities, and the sports have suffered for this. There are a few exceptions, like the San Antonio Spurs, who have a coach and team orientation that shuns the spotlight and just wins as a team, but they are unique in the landscape of “look at me” American sports.

Congratulations to the World Cup and all the participating countries for putting on a well-contested and intense tournament, and for soccer, welcome to North America.

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