Germany may have departed from the World Cup early after finishing bottom of their group table, but three of their big names have made it into an all-star team from the group stages at Russia 2018.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defender Mats Hummels and midfielder Mesut Ozil are among an A-List line-up thanks to the engagement of their followers on social media during the first two weeks of the tournament.

Though holders Germany managed just three points in their three matches as they crashed out of the competition, four years after their success in Brazil, Neuer, Hummels and Ozil saw huge interaction across their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts.

The research was conducted by Shareablee, the global leader in audience-based social media measurement, and posts from German trio garnered more ‘total actions’ – reactions, comments, shares, likes and retweets – than other players in their position at this summer’s tournament.

However, while they’ll be watching the knockout stages from afar, the other eight icons to make the Total Actions XI all progressed to the round of 16.

There were no surprises in the front-line, as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr all made the team, while Brazil’s two-goal midfielder Philippe Coutinho and defender Marcelo were joined by Frenchman Paul Pogba, Spain’s Sergio Ramos and Colombia’s James Rodriguez in the star-studded line-up.

The team is one of two World Cup Group Stage XIs collated by Shareablee using social media data throughout the tournament so far. The second team, based on Engagements Per Follower,featuresless well-known names who have made an impact in Russia, one way or another.

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, whose Serbia side missed out on a place in the knockout stages despite a promising opening victory over Costa Rica, retains his place in the line-up having made the pre-tournament team, which was based on social media actions between January and April.

Iceland forward Alfre Finnbogason made headlines with his equaliser against Argentina in their first game and also made it into the Engagements Per Follower XI (EPF XI), along with Swiss duo Granit Xhaka – who bagged against the Serbs –  and goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Morocco were, arguably, the unluckiest side in the group stages after an injury-time defeat to Iran, after an own goal from Aziz Bouhaddouz and conceding a late equaliser to Spain. However, they have two of their players in the EPF XI; Bouhaddouz is in, as well as winger Nordin Amrabat.

Meanwhile, while Ronaldo and Messi continue to split opinion over who is the Greatest Of All Time, it’s the Portuguese hero who can boast the tournament’s most engaging post. His photo, published just after he scored a hat-trick in their 3-3 draw with Spain, had more than 10m interactions. Messi’s best, following his goal in Argentina’s victory over Nigeria, had 9.7m interactions.

Among all the stars featuring in the group stages in Russia, Facebook was the favoured platform with 55 per cent of content being published there. However, despite only 15 per cent of content being published by players on Instagram, the photo sharing platform generated 84 per cent of all World Cup social media engagement between 14 and 28 June.

Throughout the tournament in Russia, Shareablee will be updating their data and their all-star teams comprising players who gain the highest social media engagement overall, as well as engagement relative to the size of their audience, for their positions.

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Shareablee was founded in February 2013 and since then has evolved from three people to a dynamic company of 60+ that boasts the world’s largest system of brand performance data across social platforms and industry-standard metrics that help our client partners win on social.