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'Atomic kitten', 'Gareth Southgate wife' and 'waistcoat' are some of the top World Cup search terms

We looked at what people have been searching during the World Cup and the results tell a story of wild optimism, Ross Kemp, and waistcoats

An image of Ciaran Varley
Ciaran Varley

England's World Cup dream has now come to an end, so does that mean the team's fans will now stop the frantic research that comes before every game?

Over the last few weeks, football fans have found themselves typing key words into their favoured search engine. Are you guilty of tapping in the classic, 'What channel is the football on?' half an hour before a game starts? Or, if you're sick of the whole thing, opening up an incognito tab to secretly type, 'When will the World Cup be over?'

The good news is you're not alone. Throughout the competition people have been feverishly grabbing their phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs to discover the answer to every World Cup question they've got running through their heads at that very moment.

The day before England faced Sweden in the quarter finals of the World Cup, this was what people were asking Google in the UK.

What does this tell us? Well, it tells a story of the wild optimism that has gripped England fans during the World Cup.

Data from Yahoo UK suggests there has been a lot of interest over the tournament in Jordan Pickford, VAR (still), and Gareth Southgate's marital status. Raj Mannick, head of sport for the search engine, gave us more of an insight.

“Southgate fever has taken hold, as some of the most popular searches on Yahoo are not only around his waistcoat. He has obviously touched many hearts as well, given that, 'Is Gareth Southgate married?' also comes high up the list."

Raj added that, before the England-Croatia game, "Jordan Pickford has topped the most searched-for players list, following his incredible save that finally saw England break the penalties curse."

Next up, we contacted Bing to discover what have been the most popular search terms for them. They told us Harry Kane is the most searched for player in the UK on their search engine over the tournament, above Neymar in second place, and Ronaldo in third. Well, obvz. Neither of those other so-called mega-stars quite cut it, did they? 

They also revealed to us that 16% percent of UK fans are already searching for the next World Cup in 2022, which suggests that people have quite enjoyed this one.

Inspired by these facts and stats we took to Google Trends to see what search terms folk - both in the UK and worldwide  - have been entering throughout the tournament. The results, together with Yahoo and Bing's feedback, tell quite a story of the World Cup so far.

Trend-setter

Waistcoats. In the middle of a heatwave. People in the UK are really prepared to suffer for the joke.

Soccer takes over

When we knew that the World Cup had gone truly global.

The mark of success

Meanwhile, we knew things were getting real back home when this happened.

People were more interested in Mexico more than Germany

Everyone loves an under-dog and, after Mexico beat Germany in the group stages, it seemed like the world had found a new second team.

Mexico to take the lot

In fact, some people REALLY fancied Mexico's chances.

Move over Messi

The world found a new icon during Croatia's demolition of Argentina.

Big controversy

Brazil fans obviously not happy about that disallowed goal against Costa Rica.

Everybody needs good neighbours

Scotland seemed pretty interested in England’s group-stage competitors early on in the tournament. We won’t speculate as to why.

It seemed like the novelty of England's good run wasn't universally enjoyed around the UK at other points in the tournament too.

England dare to dream

During England’s 6-1 thrashing of Panama, fans in Albion experienced something unfamiliar: optimism.

Fantasy Football

In the tense quiet of England’s penalty shoot-out with Colombia, anyone straining their ear may have heard a sound that went like ‘kerching’. That was Messrs Baddiel, Skinner and Brodie’s bank balance being topped up. 

Harry birther scandal?

Maybe some people just can’t believe that England could produce a player as good as Kane. Believe it, haters. 

The question on everyone's lips

Ahead of France's quarter-final show-down with Uruguay, the country that invented existentialism kept posing this rather philosophical question.

We also dug deep into the search engine's matrix and found some interesting stats too.

Atomic Kitten are seeing some renewed interest

Searches for "Atomic Kitten"Google

Have they released some new material?

Not exactly.

Ross Kemp is everywhere 

Search for "World Cup"Google

Amongst all of the related searches for videos of Jordan Pickford and people going bananas in Croydon last week, there is still rising interest in people watching that video of Ross Kemp.

Take That

World Cup searchesGoogle

The most startling thing we found, perhaps, is that, Worldwide, over the past 30 days, the related topic with the biggest rise in prominence has been, "Robbie Williams", which, we're guessing, probably has a fair bit to do with that video (which we won't show you) of him swearing on camera during the Opening Ceremony.

Well, what have we learned? That, if there’s anything people remember about this World Cup, it will be Ross Kemp, the resurgent interest in formal wear and Robbie Williams flipping the bird at the whole world.

Oh, and if you're a French resident and now know - having asked the question - 'why Suarez bites' please let us know. 

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