As the 2022 World Cup in Qatar approaches, fans are already warming up for the tournament by highlighting the whacky world of football and mocking the often-pretentious functionaries involved in the game.
The fun started during the penalty shoot-out of the World Cup 2022 qualifying playoff between Australia and Peru. Aussie goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne delighted the Twitterati with his bizarre dancing antics to distract the Peruvian penalty takers. Redmayne took the risk of looking a complete fool, but he managed to put off Luis Advíncula and Alex Valera to send Australia to their fifth World Cup in a row.
However, Australia is ranked the outsider to win the tournament in the latest FIFA World Cup betting, at odds of 250/1 with Palmerbet. They also offer a price of 5/1 for the Socceroos to qualify from Group D, where they will face reigning World Champions France, along with Tunisia and Denmark.
Goalkeepers are crazy, but in a socially acceptable way
Football writer, Brian Glanville, wrote the book Goalkeepers are Crazy in 1977 and 45 years later, the maxim still applies, possibly more so! Redmayne’s tactic was reminiscent of goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar’s wobbly legs antics, which led Liverpool to glory in the 1984 European Cup final penalty shoot-out against Roma. Only this time Redmayne won the day and the Internet via dancing goalie memes. Other comparisons included Ricky Gervais’ infamous dance as David Brent in the BBC show The Office and similarities with a character from the classic arcade game Street Fighter.
It also showed similarities with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who used mind games to distract Colombian players when playing for Argentina during the Copa America semi-final penalty shootout in 2021. His trash talking was enough to distract Everton defender Yerry Mina, who missed a vital penalty as he was told: “You’re nervous, huh? You’re laughing but you’re nervous,” before adding: “I’m eating you up, brother.”
The world’s most famous moth
The tedium of World Cup draws is always ripe for some satire and the Qatar 2022 World Cup draw was no different. As well as jokes about the length of the event, there were also memes about the official World Cup mascot, known as La’eeb, which for many bears a striking resemblance to Caspar, the cartoon ghost, and the scarf that Fiona gave Shrek. Argentinian fans immediately recognised the familiar Ghost of the B, a ghostly figure with a large red B on the front, which is waved around on the terraces to mock fans of other clubs faced with relegation to the second division, known as Primera B.
In 2011, River Plate, one of the most successful clubs in Argentinian football, suffered the indignity of relegation, which led to mockery by fans of arch-rivals Boca Juniors. This led to memes suggesting that Qatar had found inspiration for the mascot in the ghostly character.
We can expect a range of memes during the 2022 World Cup, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo, the player who launched a thousand memes. How can we forget the infamous moth meme, which went viral during the Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France? Some wag even went as far as setting up a Twitter account for the moth while the game was still being played. Although, when joyless hatemongers like Nigel Farage are stealing memes from UK comedy writers, maybe they aren’t as cool as we all thought after all.
Still, memes we can look forward to will include overemotional footballers, penalty shoot-out high jinks, mockery of pretentious football functionaries and flabby politicians hoping for reflected glory, and, of course, memes inspired by the Hollywood-worthy histrionics of Neymar. If you want to come up with your own meme, just remember, the chances are that someone will have already come up with a zinger and gone viral before the game has even finished!