World Cup memes 2018: Mexico wins again, Germany hangs on

The momentum is with Mexico, which rolled to another victory, while defending champ Germany needed every second to win.

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

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting the most viral moments of the 2018 World Cup.

Mexico stunned defending champ Germany last week and continued its 2018 World Cup reign on Saturday, beating South Korea 2-1 in a game that sent social media into overdrive. Mexican star Javier "Chicharito" Hernández scored his 50th international goal in the victory, becoming the first Mexican player to do so, and the third Mexican player to score in three different World Cups.

The fans were behind them. Bleacher Report noted in a tweet that, "Mexico fans were so excited for today's game, (Mexican player) Rafa Marquez had to go outside the hotel and quiet them down so the team could sleep."

And one fan noted, "#Mexico is the team to beat in this #WorldCup! What a team!"

Although naturally, not everyone was a fan. One Twitter user joked that the referees were the real difference, noting, "Group F standing as of right now 1. Refs 2. Sweden 3. Germany 4. S. Korea."

After the Mexico game, defending World Cup champion Germany took on Sweden, and for much of the game, it looked like Germany might be in serious danger of not making it out of its group. It needed a miracle, and with seconds left, it got it with a winning goal from Toni Kroos. The German national team went a little nuts in a celebratory tweet, simply posting: "KROOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ."

Some blood was shed earlier when German midfielder Sebastian Rudy took a kick in the face from a Swedish player and had to leave the match, bleeding profusely. Said one viewer: "I'm addicted to gruesome true crime shows, but Rudy's blood all over the field was too much for me. Yikes!"

FIFA's controversial video assistant referee system came under fire when Germany's Jérôme Boateng appeared to tackle Sweden's Marcus Berg and the play was not VAR reviewed. "Are they playing Fortnite in the VAR room??!" asked one viewer. Said another: "Day 53737, no one has any clue yet how VAR works."

Boateng was later sent off for a second yellow card offense in the 82nd minute, but that didn't exactly restore fans' confidence in the officiating.

And the first game of the day saw the most scoring of any World Cup game this year, as Belgium beat Tunisia 5-2. "I can see #Belgium winning this #WorldCup. Immense squad," wrote one watcher.

Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi missed three almost-goals before putting in the fifth for his team. "Batshuayi is the quickest player to ever reach a 'should have a hat trick,'" said one viewer.

Batshuayi himself hopped online after the game to celebrate, tweeting, "Dreams come true ❤️🏆⚽️ so happy with this win !! And no need to say about the goal 😅 #MichyLovesA90MnGoal "

Belgium's easy victory wasn't great news for England fans who struggled to beat Tunisia earlier in the tourney in a close game. "Belgium absolutely smashing Tunisia kind of puts some context on England huffing and puffing to a 2-1 win in the last minute against them," wrote one Twitter user.

Come back for more World Cup action Sunday, when England takes on Panama, Japan plays Senegal, and Poland faces off with Colombia.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.

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