Stars of Nike's World Cup advert have nightmare tournament
Nike's World Cup slogan "There's no greater danger than playing it safe" backfired on a number of its stars
Nike’s animated World Cup advert has sparked a string of jokes on Twitter over the fortunes of the players it features, @Sportsbook_UK teasing: “Better luck next time with the World Cup advert, Nike”.
The short film tells the story of an evil scientist who clones the world's best footballers to get rid of all risk from the game.
The Brazilian legend Ronaldo subsequently assembles the real team of stars to play the clones at the Maracanã stadium, with Nike's heroes prevailing in an epic contest.
Things have not fared quite so well for Nike's ambassadors in Brazil, however.
They have experienced everything from disastrous results, to injury and failing even to make it into the tournament, so it is fair to say the sporting giant’s marketing campaign has fallen flat on its face.
Nike scored an own goal before the tournament began, with the decision to add Ibrahimovic to its World Cup ad campaign, as the Swede failed to make it into the World Cup after his side lost in the play-offs against Portugal.
Nike suffered a further blow when the not-so-shy Swede declared that “a World Cup without me is nothing to watch”.
The French playmaker Franck Ribéry was expected to be a star of the tournament following a stellar couple of years at Bayern Munich.
Things did not go to plan, however, as a back injury ruled Ribéry out of the tournament before it had begun.
Les Blues thrived in his absence, topping their group, and the French flyer was forced to watch from the sidelines until Laurent Blanc's men were finally knocked out in the quarter-finals by Germany.
The reigning world player of the year had another World Cup to forget.
Ronaldo did not look fully fit after a long season with Real Madrid, with tendinitis severely hampering his performances.
With a half-fit Ronaldo trying and failing to carry a listless Portugal, Paulo Bento's side did not get out of the group stage, an increasingly desperate Ronaldo managing just one goal in three matches.
Wayne Rooney may have finally broken his World Cup duck with a goal against Uruguay, but England's talisman did not have the tournament Nike would have hoped.
Shunted out to the left by Roy Hodgson, Rooney was a peripheral figure as England finished bottom of Group D without recording a win.
A hero in 2010 when he scored the winning goal in the World Cup final, Andrés Iniesta must have initially seemed a home banker in Nike's eyes.
Alas, Brazil 2014 will be a tournament Spain's midfield maestro will want to forget in a hurry.
The reigning world champions failed to recover from the 5-1 thrashing they were handed by the Netherlands in their opening game, losing their do-or-die second group match against Chile to exit the tournament after only two games.
Victory over Australia in their final group game did little to change the negative mood in the camp, and the reigning world and European champions departed Brazil with their tails firmly between their legs.
Nike's World Cup ad image in full
Nike must have been delighted when Brazil got to the semi-finals.
With Luiz stepping in as captain in for the suspended Thiago Silva, the stage was set for one of their stars to 'risk everything' and become the face of Nike's World Cup campaign.
Unfortunately for Brazil, the floppy-haired Brazilian defender took Nike's slogan rather too literally.
Reverting to the role of the PlayStation footballer Gary Neville had so criticised, Luiz risked everything and gained nothing by charging all over the pitch during Germany's historic 7-1 victory over Brazil.
Slammed in the Brazilian media the following day, Luiz had gone from hero to zero in the space of 90 minutes, with Germany handing the Seleção one of the biggest thrashings in World Cup history.
Neymar was in scintillating form for Brazil at the World Cup, four goals in five matches helping the Seleção ride the crest of an emotional wave all the way to the World Cup semi-finals.
Neymar looked ready to take the semi-finals by storm, until a tackle from Colombia's Juan Zúñiga late in Brazil's quarter-final victory over Colombia fractured a vertebra in the no 10's back and ruled him out of the tournament.
Shorn of their creative talisman, Brazil were handed a World Cup drubbing by Germany, with the diminutive Barcelona man only able to watch disconsolately from the sidelines.
Along with Neymar, Tim Howard was the only other player in the advert to emerge with credit.
The American's display of play was impressive throughout the tournament, even before the bearded Everton keeper decided to take centre stage against Belgium and make a World Cup record 16 saves in a match in which the US ultimately lost to Belgium, in the last 16 of the tournament.
Praised by fans, Howard became an internet sensation, with the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave trending on Twitter and memes featuring Howard saving everything from the dinosaurs to Bambi's mother popping up all over the internet.
Even President Barack Obama got in on the act, ringing Howard and his team-mates to congratulate them on their World Cup performances.
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Ronaldo is, according to all the Portuguese media etc., well .............................Portuguese, not Brazilian as mentioned in the text of yet another inaccurate MSN article.
It's about time MSN spent a bit more effort on ensuring accurate articles as opposed to denying the public the opportunity to comment!