The coronavirus pandemic may have seemed like the topic on everyone’s lips in 2021, but it wasn’t top of the pile when it came to Google searches. In fact, it appeared just once in the top 10. Instead, football ruled the roost, taking four of the ten entries – and every single one of the top three.

The most-searched term in the UK during 2021 was ‘Euros’, as football fans around the country searched for information on the delayed tournament originally set to take place last year. Similarly, second place was ‘Premier League’, whilst searches concerning Christian Eriksen came in third – after the Danish midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest during his country’s opening game at Euro 2020.

Coronavirus had to make do with fourth place, as ‘Covid vaccine’ marked the pandemic’s only direct appearance in the list. However, it was joined by ‘Matt Hancock’ – most likely during the fallout of the then-Health Secretary having been found to have broken social distancing rules during an affair with his aide, Gina Coladangelo.

The pandemic did, however, play a much larger role in the list of queries beginning ‘when’. Here, questions were asked about when the lockdowns would begin and end; when shops, schools and gyms would reopen; when people would get the vaccine, and more.

Further down the overall list, sustainability and second-hand goods showed up well, as did DIY advice.

Head of Google News Labs, Matt Cooke, explained that the search trends could be down to simple escapism. “During a year of unpredictability,” he told BBC News, “we have turned to sport, entertainment, gardening, recipes and UK-based travel to get us through some of the most frustrating and difficult times.”

Surely enough, it wasn’t just here in the UK where sport dominated the search volumes. The global list of most-searched terms included ‘Australia vs India’, ‘India vs England’, ‘IPL’, ‘NBA’ and ‘Euro 2021’ in its top 10. Google UK’s Year in Search Top 10 was:
Premier League
Christian Eriksen
Covid vaccine
Prince Philip
Matt Hancock
Emma Raducanu
Sarah Everard
England v Denmark
Sean Lock