They think it's all over for the web...

... and it very nearly was during a certain game last Friday

... and it very nearly was during a certain game last Friday

BBC Online was one of several high-profile websites to suffer during last Friday's World Cup clash between England and Argentina. www.bbc.co.uk/sport was unavailable for nearly 20 per cent of people who tried to access it between the hours of 2pm and 3pm. The BBC's web gurus responded by reducing the size of the front page of BBC Online and also recommended surfers use the low-graphics version, but all to no avail, according to figures from internet monitoring specialist Keynote Systems. www.football365.com and www.soccernet.com also creaked under the weight of traffic, the former taking up to 30 seconds to download, the latter 12 seconds. However, both remained available for everyone throughout the game. Mobile phone giant Orange certainly enjoyed the match. Its users sent a total of 22.77 million text messages on the day, no doubt inspired by the performance of the boys in red. Its average daily figure is around 19 million. Meanwhile the official World Cup website, fifaworldcup.yahoo.com, is also proving popular with fans throughout the world. Since 1 May, over 1.86 million people from 17 countries monitored by Nielsen//NetRatings have visited the site. A further 741, 045 have accessed it from work in France, Italy and the UK. In South Korea, nearly 430,000 people have paid a virtual visit from home, while in Europe, the British are logging on most, with 271,444 taking a look from home since the start of May. Germany closely follows the UK with 265,260 domestic users. The comparable figure in France is 172,662. Despite the site not being available in Italian, 158,219 people in Italy accessed the site from home.