Wait for It... Twitter Collectively Holds Its Breath in World Cup Shootouts

Brazil players celebrate after the win through a penalty shootout in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile at Estadio Mineirao on June 28, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The moment of anticipation between when the World Cup referee blows the whistle and when the player takes his shot is one of those rare times in sports when just about everyone is holding their breath.
And, as it turns out on Twitter, holding their tweets. Data from Twitter highlights how activity ebbs and flows dramatically during shootouts, with users glued to the game and launching a storm of tweets as soon as the shot flies.

Twitter published the findings on Thursday in blog post in which it announced that the "highest single-minute activity" of the World Cup so far reached 388,985 tweets per minute on Saturday — right after the penalty kick that put Brazil over Chile and into the next round.
To find the dramatic ups and downs of the penalty shootout, Twitter went even deeper, looking at tweets per second. The graph below shows Brazil's shootout with Chile and narrows in on David Luiz's opening shot. "What we found is that just as each player took his shot, Twitter activity dropped markedly," Twitter's Miguel Ríos wrote.
penalty_snapshot (1)

Twitter said it found that this pattern repeated throughout the penalty shootouts of the tournament.
"When the referee blows the whistle, Twitter goes nearly silent as all eyes are glued on the crucial kick. The shot is taken, and Twitter — like the world — erupts into applause, disappointment and elation," Ríos wrote.
Two games have already gone to penalty shootouts, which happen if two teams are still tied after 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time. Brazil bested Chile 3-2 in their shootout, while Costa Rica beat Greece 5-3.

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