How do the 2018 FIFA World Cup teams rank on social media?

football world cup pascal swier unsplash

France, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and most recently Germany, have won the coveted FIFA World Cup trophy. They were all pretty great footballing teams, but what about their presence on social media?

Before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia kicks off later today, we take a look at how the 32 countries rank in terms of social media fans and followers across Instagram and Twitter.

Let’s begin with the latter.

Twitter’s likely the social network where chatter surrounding key moments on the pitch will develop organically, but the current frontrunner hasn’t yet won a World Cup.

Mexico is the most followed team as of 30 May, with slightly less than 6-million followers to its name. Two other South American nations follow it, namely Colombia and Brazil, with France placed fourth. Argentina and England — both nations whose handles are their country names — are neck and neck around 3.3-million followers.

These top six, along with Germany and Spain in seventh and eighth, would make quite an entertaining quarter final selection.

Overall, these eight nations have more than a million followers on Twitter, while Nigeria remains the most followed African nation with 308 000 fans.

This changes on Instagram though.

For one, Portugal has more followers on the image-heavy social network than Twitter. It’s an anomaly that’s shared with Iran, Senegal, Peru and a handful of other nations. While only 500 000 follow it on Twitter, more than 1.5-million users like its Instagram page.

Sorriam, estão a ser fotografados! Estamos a poucos dias do arranque do Mundial e os craques estiveram numa sessão fotográfica para a @fifaworldcup. 😎📸🇵🇹️ #ConquistaOSonho : Smile, you're on camera! We're a few days away from kickoff and the players got to take a few pictures for FIFA. #ConquerYourDream : #Portugal #WorldCup #fifaworldcup #fifa #nationalteam #football #soccer #futebol #FernandoSantos @cristiano @mfernandes1818 @ricardoquaresmaoficial @mariorui_6 @rpatricio1 @brunofernandes.10 @brunoralves2oficiall @official_pepe @f6nte @raphaelguerreiro14 @cedricsoares41 @ri_pereira @wcarvalho14 @joaomoutinho8 @joaome10 @bernardocarvalhosilva @andresilva9 @goncaloguedes15 @gelsondany77 @betopimparell @anthonylopes12 @rubendias @adriensilva23

A post shared by Portugal (@portugal) on

France however has the most number of Instagram followers, followed by Brazil, England and Germany.

Notably, the top nine nations all have more than 1.4-million follows on the social network. Tenth-placed Peru has 401 000.

What about the non-qualifiers?

China, the United States, the Netherlands and Italy all failed to make the tournament this year.

The Chinese Football Association’s Twitter account has just 1900 followers, and does not have an official Instagram account.

The United States on the other hand, at least its US men’s team, boasts 2.21-million followers on Twitter, which would put it ahead of former European and World Champions Spain. It also has 1.8-million followers on Instagram, which would’ve seen them slot into fourth position behind England.

As for the Dutch, only 53 000 people follow the country’s official FA account. Unlike the US, there’s no dedicated men’s or women’s team accounts. On Twitter, it fares slightly better with 458 000 followers.

Finally, the Italian team boast 510 000 disappointed English-speaking Twitter fans, while a further 600 000 follow the team’s Italian account. On Instagram, 1.4-million people keep abreast of the country’s official footballing news. That would’ve placed it ahead of Spain.

Have a look at the graph below to see where your team ranks on Twitter and Instagram ordered by World Cup group.

Feature image: Pascal Swier via Unsplash

Andy Walker, former editor


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