Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: The Nike Curse?

A lot is made every year about "curses" in sports - for example, the "Madden Curse" in football, and the "Curse of the Bambino" in baseball...but what about soccer?

This may be the year of the Nike Curse!

Remember that totally awesome, three minute long commercial called "Write the Future" that played in the lead up to the tournament? It featured a lot of the world's top players in a mash-up of sorts where a guy makes a play and then envisions the aftermath, the best of which is probably England's Wayne Rooney winding up living in a trailer park after making a poor pass (then being knighted when he redeems himself).

As it turns out, basically all of the players featured in the spot have had an absolutely woeful World Cup! Now that each of the main characters has been bounced from the tournament, lets see how they did:

-Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast broke his arm days before the start of the tournament and scored once as his team bowed out in the group stages, going 1-1-1 in the process.

-Defender Fabio Cannavaro was the captain of an Italian side that came into the tournament as the holders of the World Cup, but failing to beat sides like Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia while going 0-1-2 and finishing at the bottom of Group H.

-England was dumped from the tournament by Germany on the weekend in slightly controversial fashion, but a lot of people would argue they were lucky to even get that far - Wayne Rooney's boys needed a final-day result to get out of the group stage. Rooney heads home without a single goal at the World Cup, part of the reason the team struggled so mightily.

-Portugal's tournament is over after a 1-0 Round of 16 loss to Spain on Tuesday, which means Cristiano Ronaldo ends his World Cup run with his only goal coming in the final minutes of a 7-0 thrashing of North Korea.

-Where do we even begin when it comes to France? Franck Ribery was also held goalless as the French went 0-2-1, but that was the least of their worries. There were reports on a training ground scuffle, a player was sent home, the team refused to train in protest and now people are resigning left and right. Nike, what have you done?!

-And while Brazil is having a great tournament and will face Holland in one of Friday's quarter finals, Ronaldinho (unfortunately for the director of this spot) didn't even make the team!


SO: the five players from the commercial that actually featured in the tournament combined for two goals, after scoring 124 between them in all competitions last season. Granted, Cannavaro is a defender and isn't expected to score goals but Italy gave up five goals in three games against teams they should have easily beaten.

In another sign that the ad was doomed from the start, remember all the problems that ITV has been having lately? One of their latest blunders came when they cut off the end of that commercial when it made its debut during the Champions League final!

Is a curse at play here? Is it a case of some of these guys being burned out at the end of a long season? Is it just a straight up coincidence?

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