Spain Wins The World Cup In Spite Of Debilitating Nike Ad

Truth be told, before yesterday the first part of the title was as absurd as “The Red Sox win the World Series” would have been 10 years ago or even “Longhorns top the Sooners” during the early naughts.

Spain’s National Team, La Furia Roja, had a knack for falling flat on their collective face World Cup after World Cup. This all changed yesterday to be sure, after La Furia Roja defeated the Netherlands, who have now lost 3 World Cup Finals (’74, ’78, 10), 1-0.

I believe however that the breakthrough which culminated yesterday began in Euro 2008, which the Spanish won by besting Germany by the same score they beat the Dutch yesterday. That tournament set them on a course of excellence, winning 35 matches in a row until they shockingly lost to the U.S. at the 2009 Confederations Cup held in South Africa.

They then proceeded to breeze through World Cup qualifiers, becoming a favorite to take home the hardware in South Africa entering as the #2 squad in the world according to FIFA. In their first World Cup match, La Furia Roja fell to the Swiss, prompting echoes of “Different World Cup, same old Spain”.

Spaniards readied themselves for another World Cup collapse by their beloved team, blame was sent down bizarre avenues.

Yet, here we are July 12, 2010 and the FIFA World Cup trophy will call Spain home for at least the next 4 years.

A more remarkable feat may be that Spain won despite three of their players’ involvement in Nike Soccer’s “Write the Future” ad (watch it here).

An ad made before the start of the World Cup featuring England’s Wayne Rooney, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Italya’s Fabio Cannavaro, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, France’s Franck Ribéry, Brazil’s Robinho and Ronaldinho. To say that the campaign was a poor prognosticator of World Cup success is a vast understatement, a rundown:

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Kobe Bryant Retroactively Owns a Horse

Not in a race track kind of way, but in one-upping a member of the Earth’s equine community.

Everyone remembers “Man vs. Beast” that ridiculous show that Fox aired (insert joke here) where the producers pitted human beings against animals in various competitions.

In a politically incorrect event, 44 little people lost to an elephant. The contest? See who could pull a commercial jet a certain distance in the shortest (no pun intended) time. Here’s a shot of the action:

weird

In another ‘event, a world-class sprinter ran a 100-meter dash against a giraffe and a zebra. (FYI: Beat the giraffe but got smoked by the zebra.)

A couple of years ago, Kobe Bryant jumped over a moving car, here’s the video:

More recently, in Galilee of all places, a horse tried to do the same thing and well epic fail. Here’s the telling shot:

horse fail

Here is the rest of the story.

John Terry Delivers Championship to Manchester United

People that aren’t fans of soccer/fútbol are puzzled how a typically low-scoring affair can be exciting. Those of us who were bottle-fed the sport find it hard to to explain to them how a 1-1 (or even 0-0, blasphemy!) can be terribly thrilling.

The penalty shootout is another one of those things in soccer/fútbol which non-fans don’t really understand and dismiss it outright. For my money there is no better way to decide a tight contest. Can you imagine an NBA game which goes to 2 overtimes and instead of going into a third, the outcome is decided on free throws? Maybe I should write to David Stern…

Though I did not watch yesterday’s dramatic Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea though I tried to keep up with it via ESPN’s Gamecast. The match went into a shootout after the teams were knotted up 1-1 after the requisite 2 overtimes.

With a chance to clinch the game for his side, Chelsea captain John Terry (below) missed his penalty shot as he slipped on the wet surface. The shootout went into sudden death shootout and Man U em, manned up and took La Champions.

Eurosport

The Daily Mail has some great pictures, check ’em out here,
Triumphant return for United as heroes head home with European trophy

They also reported on the match’s other matchup, between Nike (which sponsors Man U) and Adidas (who makes the Chelsea kit),
Europe’s great marketing war is fought out in the boot camps