As we have now watched the sun set over the Maracana stadium and witnessed the new champions lifting up the World Cup, we can look back at a truly special tournament
The football has been positive, the goals have been explosive, and Thierry Henry sporting immaculate cardigans while on BBC pundit duty was most welcome. Yet, it’s the very global nature in which we can react and consume the thrills and sighs that has made this a World Cup to relish. There were more than 300m tweets related to this World Cup during the group stages, and the fact that we can gauge the reactions from fans in Algeria to Australia, and can see where in the world footballers such as Özil and Neymar are trending is incredible.
Granted, reaction on social media sometimes looked like this:
TL be like pic.twitter.com/DDTR93Yd5L
— Teju Cole (@tejucole) June 16, 2014
But throughout the tournament we’ve been treated to a feast of creative gifs, vines and lol-some memes that never failed to make me chuckle. Here are the top ten:
1. The flying dutchman
Robin van Persie’s spectacular acrobatic header against Spain is a contender for goal of the tournament. It was sheer brilliance. Yet what made it all the more delicious were the ridiculous memes and the #persieing trend online, which involved people posting photos of themselves landing face down in the grass.
Robin van Persie: The Flying Dutchman pic.twitter.com/EpuV9F2dY9
— ESPN (@espn) June 13, 2014
— Daniel Boniface (@danielboniface) June 14, 2014
2. Why always me?
Who else would fill in the entire Italian side in the World Cup sticker album with stickers of himself? Mario Balotelli of course, who posted this hilarious photo on his Facebook wall.
3. Biting Suarez
Suarez taking a bite out of the Apple logo, Suarez as Jaws and Suarez as Hannibal Lecter, were just some of the memes reacting to the 27-year-old Uruguayan striker biting Italian player Giorgio Chiellini. But this Suarez’s birthday gif is the best one – it’s absurd and doesn’t even make any sense.
4. World Cup of beards
Long gone are the Robbie Savage-esque curling locks and Alice bands that footballers used to wear. This has been a tournament of hipster sleeve-tatoos, military haircuts and full beardage. It wasn’t just team Algeria who had beards to be proud of – fellow internet commentators observed that USA goalkeeper, Tim Howard, had a proper salafi beard.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) June 30, 2014
5. Louis van Gaal walking into the dressing room
After the reigning champions, Spain, were utterly humiliated by the Netherlands’ 5-1 win, we could truly appreciate the tactical genius of the Dutch coach Louis van Gaal. But then, the slow realisation came that he would be just as smug when managing Manchester United next season. Fans of all other Premier League teams are holding their breath.
BREAKING: Louis Van Gaal walking into the dressing room. pic.twitter.com/1reK7yKjSP
— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) June 13, 2014
6. Giant locust
Everyone freaked out when a giant locust of Amazonian proportions perched on the arm of Columbian striker, James Rodriguez, just as he was about to take his penalty against Brazil. As the 22-year old cooly shot the ball into the back of the net, he celebrated by kissing his wrist – while everyone spotted that there was a ginormous insect on him, which eventually flew away, beating its pterodactyl-like wings.
7. Watermelon Man
The atmosphere in the Brazilian stadiums looked extraordinary from the average humble living-room in London, and that’s down to the fans. From the way the Brazilian fans belted out the second chorus of their national anthem each game, to the way they chanted olé when their hapless team was obliterated by Germany. But special homage goes to Watermelon Man here:
8. 1-7 (seven)
How was that a semi-final score? When Brazil lost 2-1 on home soil to Uruguay in 1950, the country was left in traumatic silence. They cast-off their white strip after the Maracanazo and the goalkeeper, Moacir Barbosa, was left destitute. Perhaps it is highly unlikely that the current Brazil team will bury the iconic canary yellow strips they currently wear, but it may cause these reactions:
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) July 8, 2014
FACT: Pele as of last night. pic.twitter.com/y49XBzbgxG
— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) July 9, 2014
Gone are the days of a simple mugshot. As the line-up for the match was announced, each player was introduced on the screen by turning towards the camera and simultaneously folding their arms. It seems as though the most innocuous of tasks such as arm-folding can actually be quite tough to nail. Do you tuck your hands in, or clasp your biceps? Do you smile, raise an eyebrow or just nod? And what about the timing?
10. The referee’s magic spray
In 50 years’ time we’ll be telling our grandchildren that the World Cup was great and all, but nobody was more excited than when the referee used his magic spray.
And much to the disdain of some players:
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