World Cup 2018 memes: Brazil's Neymar takes Oscar-worthy dive

But his rainbow flick and that goal more than made up for it with some fans. Also: Nigeria's awesome kit helps melt Iceland.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
3 min read

Diving: It's not just limited to swimming pools and ocean cliffs. In Friday's World Cup action, Brazilian star Neymar's team beat Costa Rica 2-0, but he didn't get away with a now-infamous dive.

On the way to the victory, Neymar, barely touched by defenders, flopped on his back as if to hint the refs should call a foul. The referee went along with Neymar at first, but consulted the tournament's controversial new video assistant referee system and changed his mind.

Viewers quickly made the failed flop into a meme. 

"Neymar for best actor," joked several, while others dug up GIFs of various actors falling or fainting to compare to the player's dive. 

"Who does Neymar think he is? Neo? The Matrix has found its new actor," said one Twitter user.

But Neymar also won praise for his jaw-dropper of a rainbow flick (an impressive trick where the player propels the ball up and over, like the arch of a rainbow). Some loved it, others thought it was disrespectful, generally depending on whether they were rooting for or against Brazil. 

Said one Twitter user: "(I) would like to retract my tweet from a week-and-a-half ago promising pints or something if there was a rainbow flick at the World Cup." Another pointed out, "Hey guys, he lost the ball here, just thought I'd let you know." But some were suitably impressed, with one saying, "It's football mate. Love seeing this kind of thing. Better than kicking it against his shins to win a corner."

But Neymar wasn't done making headlines, as he scored in the final moments to put the game away, falling to his knees in tears as the game ended. "The emotions are pouring out for Neymar after the dramatic victory," noted CBS Sports. (CBS is CNET's parent company.)

In other games, Switzerland beat Serbia 2-1 in a match with some behind-the-scenes drama. Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri play for Switzerland, but have roots in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but is not recognized as a state by Serbia. Both scored goals, and both used their hands to make the double-headed eagle sign of Albania after doing so. Shaqiri also ripped off his shirt, Incredible Hulk-style.

"Significant celebration from Xhaka," Ian Greenhill wrote on Twitter. "An ethnic Albanian Serb whose family had to flee Kosovo from Serbia and his father was put in prison for 3 years protesting Yugoslavian rule. He does the Albanian Eagle -- the symbol of Albania."

"Every time their teacher called out attendance, Xhaka and Shaqiri were reminded that, despite living in Switzerland, they were still Albanian," wrote Twitter user Breaking the Lines in a lengthy thread. "Every time they go 'home,' they speak Albanian. You can change your passport, but you can never change your blood."

And in the day's other game, Nigeria beat Iceland, the tiniest country in the World Cup, 2-0. But some say the real winner was Nigeria's colorful kit (uniform), featuring a lime green and black zigzag design.

Even before the World Cup began, one Twitter user cracked, "If we're going by kits alone, it would seem that Nigeria and Germany are already in the finals." 

Although not everyone loved it, with one person posting, "Am I the only one who doesn't like Nigeria's kit?" Yes. Yes, you might just be.

Don't go away. The World Cup returns Saturday with three more games, including defending champ Germany taking on Sweden.

World Cup 2018: Find out how to watch, learn some trivia and more. 

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