The U.S. team qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup has certainly captured the hearts and minds of Americans online, but not quite as much as their draw in the opening game with England. A Nielsen analysis of World Cup-related conversations in the U.S. blogosphere showed that share of mentions of the U.S. team peaked the day after the tie with England and not the day they qualified for the knockout stages through a dramatic added-time thriller against Algeria.
Buzz around the U.S. team the day of the England game accounted for 25% of World Cup-related conversations in the U.S. blogosphere compared to 24% the day they qualified for the knockout stage. However, qualification did manage to sustain a much higher level of buzz. The day after the win against Algeria, buzz around the U.S. team dropped just two percentage points to 22% compared to a drop from 25% to 16% the day after the England game.
The American hero in the game against Algeria was captain Landon Donovan, who scored the winning goal. The dramatic nature of the win showed that the World Cup continues to make a mark in the popular consciousness of the U.S. population. Across the day of the game and the following day, Donovan was cited in approximately one in every 200 messages within the entire U.S. blogosphere.
The ability of the World Cup to make stars of the most notable performers was reinforced by the fact that buzz levels around Donovan in the period after the win against Algeria jumped by an astonishing 1367% from the beginning of June.