1. We have an Olympic hangover and the only prescription is more ‘Murica.
American patriotism is still lingering from the Sochi Olympics and USA fans are shifting that united spirit toward the World Cup. After two heartbreaking losses to Canada in Olympic hockey, USA fans are craving some sort of redemption as World Cup underdogs.
2. This Beats By Dre commercial pumped everyone up.
A few days before the World Cup started, this commercial was released, giving a new look to the tournament while becoming the soundtrack of the games.
3. It’s not a big commitment.
Since Brazil is only one hour ahead of us, Americans can watch the games live during normal hours without having to wake up super early or stay up super late. Plus, some of the games are in prime time.
4. The World Cup has no real competition.
The NBA season is over, the NHL season is over, and football is just entering the first stages of the offseason. So aside from baseball, which is in a midseason slump, the World Cup has no real competition.
5. USA is pretty good this year.
It always helps when your team is doing well and USA was 30 seconds away from starting the World Cup with two victories — something that has never happened before — which would have given them an automatic spot in the next round. The scenarios are a little complicated for USA to move on, but they still have a decent shot at advancing.
6. There have been lots of goals.
At the end of 12 days, teams have scored a combined 105 World Cup goals. As a reference, the most goals ever scored in the entire tournament was 171 in 1998, and we still have 28 games left (entering Tuesday’s matches).
7. Teams are scoring early.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 15 goals scored in the first 20 minutes of the match, five being in the first 10 minutes, including Clint Dempsey’s goal in the first minute of the USA-Ghana match — the quickest goal in U.S. World Cup history.
8. The big names are scoring.
Aside from Ronaldo, who had a stellar assist in the final seconds of the U.S.-Portugal match, almost every single top player in the World Cup has scored, including Wayne Rooney who captured his first ever World Cup goal. Here’s a quick rundown of the goal totals for some of the top players as of Tuesday morning:
Neymar: 4 goals
Thomas Müller: 3 goals
Arjen Robben: 3 goals
Robin Van Persie: 3 goals
Luis Suarez: 2 goals
Clint Dempsey: 2 goals
Lionel Messi: 2 goals
Rooney: 1 goal
9. Late drama and early upsets.
Spain, the defending champs, suffered their worst loss in World Cup history on the second day of the tournament. Six days later, they were eliminated all together in a stunning 2-0 loss to Chile. On top of their early exit and England’s failure to make a splash, there have also been 22 goals scored in the last 10 minutes of a match, including added time (as of Tuesday morning), making for some serious drama and entertainment.
10. Brazil is crazy about soccer/football/fútbol.
Soccer/football/fútbol (whatever you call it) is the bloodline of Brazil and without a doubt the nation’s most popular and sacred sport. So having the World Cup take place in Brazil is about as good as it gets.
11. Brazil, in general, is sort of crazy right now.
With Brazil in the midst of a national World Cup backlash, including several demonstrations of people protesting the millions of dollars that Brazil has spent on the World Cup, and Chile fans breaking down a barrier to storm Maracaná stadium, there’s sort of a sense that anything can happen at any moment, which draws a lot of attention for people interested in news outside of the games.
12. The fans are outrageous.
13. It’s massive on Twitter:
According to Twitter Data, there were 8 million tweets sent during the U.S.-Portugal match with 304,603 total tweets sent the moment Clint Dempsey scored, making it fun to follow along/participate and nearly impossible to ignore.
14. The sport’s popularity is legitimately growing in this country.
The generation that grew up playing youth soccer is now the target demographic for viewing the World Cup and they’re definitely tuning in. With over 18 million viewers, the U.S.-Portugal match was the most watched U.S. soccer match ever and the third-best overnight for any men’s World Cup match in U.S. TV history.
In other words, the people interested in the World Cup are watching and so are a lot of other people for any number of the reasons mentioned above.