Editorial: The Cup, by the numbers

Apparently one billion people around the world watched the World Cup final live.

I write "apparently" because, really, who would know? And to most people, it doesn't matter anyway. The people it most matters to are Fifa and television advertisers.

Four billion was Britain's predicted figure for the number who would watch the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, but when people actually analysed it, well, it just didn't stack up.

More like 500 million.

As against one billion who watched the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

So when it suits, some people fib.

And then some are just having a laugh, like those who put together a video of a North Korean newsreader telling the country its team had made the World Cup finals by beating Japan 7-0, the United States 4-0 and China 2-0.

But it was just a spoof, and some media outlets were sucked in by it.

In America though, a mildly interesting statistic, put together by website WorldSoccerTalk: More Americans watched the World Cup games than watched either the NBA finals or World Series. Football outstripping basketball and baseball in the States . . . surprising.

And just to put our national sport in context, around 30 million people watched the final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup live.

Here are some stats you can't argue with from the World Cup just finished.

Most important of all, the number of goals Germany scored in the final - one - and the number Argentina scored - one less than that.

The most goals scored in the tournament by any team - 18, by Germany. Thanks to seven against Brazil. The most goals conceded by any team? Fourteen. By Brazil. Thanks to seven against Germany.

The number of buses burnt in Brazil after that game? Apparently 35.

The number of world leaders who turned up to be seen at the final - 3000. The number of times Holland's Arjen Robben fell over during the tournament, also 3000.

The number of years before we go through it all again? Four.

But bring it on. It was captivating.

The Timaru Herald