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An unprecedented third-straight international title, 10 players nominated to the Team of the Tournament, the 2012 Golden Boot, a new sports-related record on Twitter and astounding TV ratings.  What more does UEFA and Spain deserve after this weekend’s performance at the UEFA Euro 2012 Championship on Sunday?  Intrepid’s Winner of the Weekend title. 

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) 2012 Championship, a 24-day event, ended this weekend with an expected 250 million global viewers tuning in to watch Spain take on Italy in a 4-0 decision on Sunday.

Spain celebrates after defeating Italy 4-0 on Sunday to win the Euro 2012 Championship

Spain striker Fernando Torres won the Euro 2012 Golden Boot award with three goals throughout the tournament

Spain’s victory broke many soccer records.  It marked the first time a team won back-to-back European Championships with a World Cup triumph in between.  It marked Spain’s third European Championship, matching Germany’s record.  Spain’s unbeaten streak in its last 12 European Championship finals marked another record.  Spain has not conceded a goal in its last five championships, another record.  And the list of records goes on.  Pretty cool, huh?  And we haven’t even mentioned the soccer team lifting the Spain’s spirits despite the country’s current economic woes.

Spaniards celebrate in Madrid

Tens of thousands of soccer fans celebrated in the streets of Madrid after Sunday’s Euro Championship

Amidst all of Spain’s on the field success, it’s easy to think of this weekend as just a championship moment.  The numbers prove elsewise.  For example, Italy’s penalty shootout victory over England last Wednesday was the highest global television audience of any quarterfinal in European Championship history.  More telling still—the number of Americans viewers that watched the earlier rounds of the European Championship tripled this year compared to the same tournament four years ago, according to ESPN/ABC.

And, while Spain made history on Sunday in Ukraine, the world marked a different record on Twitter.  In a blog post, Twitter acknowledged that 16.5 million tweets were sent from fans around the world during the last match.  Global traffic on Twitter peaked at 15,358 Tweets per second when Juan Mata scored the team’s fourth goal of the evening, a new sports-related record on Twitter.  The Streamgraph image below is a cool data visualization of how often people mentioned Europe’s top 16 national teams in tweets throughout the tournament.  For a more interactive insight to the Streamgraph, be sure to click on this link.

So, then… who exactly won this weekend?  A strong argument can be made for Spain and UEFA.  Or, maybe just soccer in general?  What if, as kind of a dark horse, we nominated the upcoming London Olympics as the winner–since they will undoubtedly carry on soccer’s growing popularity next month?  What do you think?  Did you watch Euro 2012?

 

 

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