It’s been a glorious summer. Endless days of sunshine, addictive television and without a doubt the most memorable World Cup of recent years. It seems like a lifetime ago since Robbie flipped the bird at the opening ceremony, before the hosts trampled Saudi Arabia in the first of many goal-fests, and boy, have things changed since then.
This is the first World Cup that has been taken over by meme culture, and everyone – even the England squad themselves – has been getting in on the action. 64 fascinating matches created 64 equally captivating Twitter conversations, with our timelines proving to be just as entertaining as what we were seeing on the pitch.
We’ve tracked the Russia 2018 tournament in memes, taking a look at the finest share-worthy moments. Without further ado, let’s kick it off.
Tiger lover, horseback rider and general all-round good guy Putin became subject to thousands of memes, as Russia defied the odds to make it right through to the quarter finals. Highlights include a very expensive handshake with Saudia Arabia’s MBS and meeting Jose Mourinho.
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) 14 June 2018
At last Mourinho finds a dangerous right-winger. https://t.co/ALD1EFhSWQ
— Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) 14 June 2018
Don’t mention the VAR
The controversial introduction of VAR technology sparked countless debates and threw up some game-changing decisions (Germany’s early exit, anyone?). The unusual sight of referees consulting a video screen before making their decision led to many great memes, and brilliant reactions from the players.
Big Mac Meal
— Martin Gritton (@MGritton) 16 June 2018
The VAR room for that penalty decision pic.twitter.com/wI6iXhVpfx
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) 1 July 2018
A masterclass in celebrations
Aliou Cisse’s Senegal were a firm favourite with neutral fans, and the former Portsmouth midfielder’s pitch-side behaviour explains why. The head coach was wonderfully animated while watching his side defeat Poland 2-1, and he instantly became a meme legend.
BIG BIG MOOD pic.twitter.com/ApUsuDCuB3
— amadí 🇸🇳 (@amadoit__) 19 June 2018
Aliou Cissé is me when there’s free food at work pic.twitter.com/n9cAyF58IC
— Dan Molloy (@DanMolloyTV) 19 June 2018
A moment that sparked a meme that really can be applied to anything, Brazil keeper Allison stamped on a giant balloon and the internet reacted brilliantly. Well played, guys.
In Soviet Russia, the balloon pops you. pic.twitter.com/7RcT6YHF1x
— Mr. Drinks On Me #FRA🇫🇷 (@Mr_DrinksOnMe) 18 June 2018
When two memes meet 😂😂😂#worldcup
— SCARFACE (@LFC_LION) 29 June 2018
It’s fair to say that the nation got slightly carried away as our loveable lads smashed all expectations and nearly went all the way. Between the Sweden game and the tragic semi-final, you couldn’t walk down the street without hearing someone utter those ill-fated words.
You’ve got to hold and give but pic.twitter.com/HsZdBMasWc
— Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) 25 June 2018
— James Dixon (@Sportobiography) 5 July 2018
What a charmer
A photo of hero of the moment Harry Maguire speaking to his fiancée Fern Hawkins after the Sweden match turned into one of the finest memes of the tournament. Sheffield’s very own ‘Slab Head’ even got involved in the action. We love you Harry, and Fern’s smitten gaze is absolutely heart-warming.
“Can you ask the neighbours to put the bins out on Monday? We’re not going home just yet” 🏴 pic.twitter.com/s1g3P3jj34
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) 8 July 2018
“I like all sorts of music really, from Kasabian right through to The Stereophonics.” pic.twitter.com/JDqHm1XLZc
— Matt Langham (@MattLangham) 5 July 2018
Side note, it was great to see the England team share their feelgood team spirit on social media, after recent years where footballers have been media-trained into robots. This was due to the England team taking on a consultant to give them some social media best practices. (If social media can change public opinion of the England squad, imagine what it can do for your brand…!)
Let’s hope the upcoming Premier League season lives up to these high standards, both on the pitch and on our feeds. Football, we can’t wait for you to come home.
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