How the Internet Has Made Brazil 2014 the Most Accessible World Cup Ever

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It’s October 2007. Brazil have just been announced as the host nation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals. In a fug of football-induced excitement people from all over the world are digging out the dates in their diaries and dreaming of sipping Caipiriñha cocktails on Copacabana Beach, while Ronaldo, Messi et al are perfecting their samba-skills on the legendary Maracaña pitch.

Seven years on and the long-awaited tournament has kicked off, and yes, people have flocked by the thousands to watch overpaid men kick a ball around; cheering every goal whilst basking in the Brazilian sunshine; and shedding Gazza-like tears when England are eventually eliminated in the Quarter-Finals. However, thanks to the advancement of the internet, this World Cup has become the most accessible and interactive tournament to date, meaning that you can experience the phantasmal atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro thousands of miles away in sombre Somerset or joyless Jersey.

Let’s steer away from the football and focus on the subject of this piece: the internet. Wikipedia states that the internet is “a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suites (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide”… right… what does that mean? Basically it’s an integral part of modern day life that is used in (more or less) every country in the world. Since its mainstream conception in 1996, the world wide web has grown in both size and capability pretty much every year. The painful days of a dial-up connection that takes 35 minutes to connect are thankfully past us, as are tacky, unnavigable websites (generally). We now have the luxury of being able to trade on the internet, share every waking moment of our days, watch illegal movies and… well… pretty much anything if we look hard enough. Entire industries exist because of the internet, notably the eCommerce industry which stands for “electronic commerce” which is basically just buying and selling using the web. But how, I hear you ask, has this modern day phenomenon affected the 2014 FIFA World Cup?

Perhaps most significantly is social media and websites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pintrest. Through these websites you can connect with every aspect of the tournament, from communicating with the players, voicing your opinion on their performances, the pundits and their (often laughable) outfits and managing your very own fantasy team. Four years ago, Twitter was something that only trendy, tech-savy individuals had heard of; now there are said to be over 645, 750, 000 registered accounts. Almost every live television show has a plug for viewers to “tweet in” and voice their opinions on the programme, and live football is no different. ITV are looking for tweets with the hashtag “goalface”, presumably meaning you tweet a photograph of yourself unattractively revealing the inside of your mouth, while protruding, bulging veins surface on your scarlet, oxygen-deprived brow – a face otherwise known as a passionate celebration, or (if you work for ITV) a “goal face”.

Similar to social media websites are the various mobile apps available. For the first time ever, the official FIFA app (available on the App Store and Google Play for FREE) allows for its users to vote for the official man of the match at the end of every game; a feat that goes to show the significance of mobile technology and the internet. You’re also able to watch matches live through the BBC app, as well as catch up on highlights and key moments on the Sky Sports app.

The development of the internet has added to the whole spectacle of the tournament, as you don’t actually have to be in Brazil to feel a part of it. One marvels at the technology now, but who can tell how far the ever-growing web will have reached when the next event comes around? Only time will tell.

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