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14/07/2014 by

Cambridge University Analyse Team Language at WC2014

Experts at Cambridge University Press have analysed and assessed millions of words relating to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil to find words frequently used to describe each of the 32 nations.


Using the Cambridge English Corpus, a multi-billion word database of written and spoken English language from a huge range of media sources, the Language Research team at Cambridge has identified the words most typically associated with each of the teams throughout the tournament to give an indication of how each team has been perceived by media and fans alike.

Germany were described as ‘powerful‘, ‘focused‘ and ‘committed‘, with their fellow finalists Argentina being labelled ‘confident‘ and ‘unconvincing‘.

Hosts Brazil were ‘emotional‘, ‘popular‘ and ‘desperate‘. Although the South Americans have been playing with confidence and flair, their performances have been seen as unconvincing on their route to the final.

The Netherlands’ performances had seen them described as ‘rampaging‘, ‘stunning‘ and ‘strategic‘ before their underwhelming exit from the competition.

Some teams which didn’t fare as well were, unsurprisingly, Uruguay, with bite and disgrace associated with them following Luis Suarez’s well-documented on-field antics, while 2010 champions Spain, who exited at the group stage, were described as poor, humiliated and defensive.


Dr Claire Dembry from Cambridge University Press said:

“The breadth of sources we’ve analysed over the course of the tournament means we’re able to give a unique insight into the mood surrounding each team. Examining the Cambridge English Corpus and seeing how the media portray the various competing nations has given us an interesting insight into how national identity and stereotypes have been played out in the media.”

See the Illustration below of the words used to describe each of the 32 teams.


See the full list below of  all words used most to describe countries:

Team Word 1 Word 2 Word 3
Algeria determined pride together
Argentina confident flair unconvincing
Australia positive effort spirited
Belgium flair dark horse talent
Bosnia and Herzegovina injustice defensive forceful
Brazil emotional popular desperate
Cameroon hapless battle chaotic
Chile attacking tactical thrilling
Colombia unpredictable exciting attacking
Costa Rica dynamic pace battle
Croatia dangerous tactical competitive
Ecuador inconsistent strong potential
England exciting inexperienced disappointing
France organised defensive exciting
Germany powerful focussed committed
Ghana money strike physical
Greece defensive cautious stubborn
Honduras spirit physical robust
Iran defend hope drought
Italy slow vulnerable pessimism
Ivory Coast pace physical struggle
Japan possession disappointing frustrated
Mexico determined tactical talented
Netherlands rampaging strategy stunning
Nigeria inexperienced speed tough
Portugal frustration ego disappointing
Russia drab error mediocre
South Korea woeful failure embarrassing
Spain defensive poor humiliation
Switzerland pace difficult talented
United States determined heroic courageous
Uruguay bite disgrace do-or-die


My Opinion?

A nice recap of an amazing tournament. We’ve seen some crazy, interesting and exciting matches.

It’s really interesting to see what the World Cup can bring in terms of social media data.

Check out this Twitter heatmap throughout the course of the final. It shows just how high global interest there was in the event:

What About You?
How have you experienced this World Cup in terms of social media and the big data from it?

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About the Author
Laurens Bianchi is an independent online (sport) marketing professional from the Netherlands and has been blogging on ViralBlog since 2008. Currently Laurens is the Social Media Consultant for the Dutch Football Federation, responsible for all the Dutch content and conversation management for the World Cup. Follow him on Twitter or contact him on LinkedIn.

Source:Cambridge University Press


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Comments (2)

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  • Trendilyna 24/03/2024, 16:23

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