The best memes from the World Cup group stage


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Nothing quite matches the sheer joy of seeing a controversial sporting moment or character immortalised in meme form. And during a World Cup, the critical lens of the internet community is at its finely sharpened best. 

The group stage of the 2018 edition in Russia is no exception, with everything from depending champion Germany's group stage elimination, to Neymar's diving during Brazil's 2-0 win over Serbia and Argentine legend Diego Maradona's baffling behaviour given the meme treatment. 

Nothing escapes the harsh gaze of the online community. Be it a shock result, mistimed kick, awful haircut or strange look, everything is up for inspection.

With the group stage in Russia over, we've taken stock of the best memes so far, as those moments that 'broke the internet' are canonised for generations to come.  

Maradona roasted

We knew Diego Maradona was going to steal headlines when a video surfaced of the Argentine legend slamming shots on his private jet en route to Russia, and the 57 year-old didn't disappoint upon arrival.

Maradona could be in hot water with FIFA after the tournament ambassador was pictured flipping the bird to fans after Marcos Rojo's late winner against Nigeria. But it was his other facial expressions throughout the match which made him the subject of some brilliant memes.

Neymar comes under fire

Neymar has been the subject of special attention from his opponents in Russia, but the Brazil star's antics against Serbia have also earned him added notoriety online. 

The internet wasn't done with the PSG star - the playmaker's noodle was the next thing churned out of the meme machine.

Ronaldo outshines Messi in Russia

This compilation wouldn't be complete without a few of Messi v Ronaldo memes.

Germany fails to get lift off

Germany was expected to breeze past Sweden, South Korea and Mexico to top group F, instead the reigning champion finished bottom and crashed out of the FIFA World Cup group stage for the first time since 1938.

The internet could have taken sympathy on the wounded giant, but where's the fun in that.

Fox Sports Brazil took the chance to rub it in, clearly redemption for Brazil's humiliating 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany back in 2014.

Sampaoili's strange get-up

If the Argentine manager is out of a job by the end of the tournament, a career in digital marketing could be on the cards. He does look the part.

Notable mentions