UK Twitter chat in 2013 dominated by soccer. Good thing or bad thing?

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When looking back at the biggest UK Twitter “surges” of 2013 there is one topic that dominates the landscape: footy.

That’s the report coming from BBC tech reporter, David Lee, who found that eight of the 10 biggest “tweet surges” in the UK concerned sport and that seven of those eight pertained to soccer.

The biggest spike in UK Twitter traffic came on that fateful night on March 5th when Real Madrid, after being outplayed for a majority of the game, beat Manchester United to knock them out of the Champions League.

The drama within that match was multi-layered with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the hallowed ground where in 2008 he claimed the Balon d’Or, Nani being sent off for an innocuous challenge in the 56th minute, Luka Modric striking a vicious curler ten minutes later and then, in the 69th minute, Ronaldo scoring the winner but refusing to celebrate the goal out of respect for Old Trafford.

The 2nd and 3rd UK tweet surges came from New Years Eve celebrations and Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon where he became the first male British singles champion since 1936.

Tweet storms ranking 4th-8th all concerned the global game. England’s 2-2 draw with Brazil on June 2nd caused fingers to fly while Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund also proved tweetworthy as it was too little too late for Los Blancos. Wigan Athletic’s dramatic 1-0 win over Manchester City in the May 11th FA Cup final prompted footy fans to flood Twitter as did Bayern Munich’s 4-0 destruction of Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final marking the sentimental end of the tiki-taka’s reign.

And while the UK proved it’s also moved by music – as Mumford & Sons’ close of Glastonbury Festival hit Twitter hard – the 10th most tweeted event in 2013 was once again good ole football as England qualified for the World Cup by beating Poland 2-0 on October 15th.

So how does this information reflect on the UK and, in the broader sense, us as humans?

On the surface the information confirms what we already know, the UK is a footy-obsessed sovereign state.

One could view this information as discouraging in the sense that major world events, like the Iran Nuclear Deal or the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, aren’t topping the Twitter headlines.

Some may say this is regression of the highest form but for me such a view would feel harsh and misguided.

The UK tweet surges of 2014 concern two major topics – sport and pop culture. Light-hearted topics. Small talk. Topics that, in large part, are of a positive nature and allow others to engage, participate and interact. Rile each other up. Have some fun.

When it comes down to it, paying attention to things like sports and pop culture is all about escapism. It helps us get away from stressors and things in life that get us down – taxes, a boss who micromanages, paying the rent, global warming, senseless acts of violence.

Sometimes we simply need to get away from the negativity and bask in a landscape of (largely positive) social interaction about topics that don’t increase the dread in life than tends to keep us humans down.

Evidently, Twitter provides that.

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.