Nike's "Write the Future" advertisement was a brilliant campaign, a continuation of the long history of great spots Nike has created for the World Cup. However, this year it seems they may want to re-consider their casting agency.
-Didier Drogba broke his arm before the games even started and Côte d'Ivoire never looked like going through their difficult group.
-Fabio Cannavaro looked like he was already in retirement and hitting up the talk show circuit, a step to slow for every attacker that came his way. Still, Italy probably should have had enough quality to qualify but were completely uninspiring.
-Wayne Rooney barely bothered to even show up. Was he still injured? Probably. At the least he was worn down from carrying Man U on his back all season. Not even Atlas probably beared such a burden. England were less inspiring than Italy, only they managed to get one round further before being humiliated by the Germans (controversial goal or no goal).
-Franck Ribéry... well, the less said about the French the better. Who is that player in the background of the play marking Theo Walcott (who didn't make England's roster)... that's right, Patrice Evra!
-Ronaldinho, as everyone knows and regrets didn't even get a plane ticket to South Africa. At least the Brazilians are still playing though.
-Cristiano Ronaldo was mostly anonymous save for his preening and grimacing after either diving or being fouled but not getting a call in either case, and now Portugal is out thanks to their superior Iberian neighbors. By the way, why does Portugal play such a horrible, defensive system? They actually have good defenders, so they should play creative, attacking football knowing the defense is solid behind them. I blame Carlos Queiroz (who proves that anyone looks like a great coach while assisting Alex Ferguson, but doing it yourself is a different matter... maybe it's leftover stink from his stint with the New York MetroStars).
On the other hand, three teams getting only minor cameos had better fortunes. OK, so the USA lost, but Landon Donovan was the only player of the entire commercial who truly "wrote the future" by scoring the goal against Algeria that so far is still probably the moment of the tournament. But maybe the US disappointment (I'd say failure) in losing still tied to this commercial?
The Spanish players also get a brief cameo (even though the Spanish team itself is sponsored by Adidas, which is why you only see Iniesta, Fàbregas, and Piqué wearing blank warm-ups with no logos) and they are still on course for a potential dream semifinal with Argentina/Germany and final against Brazil. Brazil, as mentioned before, are still in it, and looking pretty much locks to advance to the final, with only one threat in their half of the bracket, the Netherlands... who also happen to have a cameo in the Nike ad! That's them fouling Ronaldo.
The Dutch are impressing most people but honestly, do you think their D will hold up against the Brazilians? And of course they're up to their old tricks again, the Dutch, what with Robin van Persie acting like the spoiled arrogant brat (I'd also call him a certain name that rhymes with witch) that he is -- shocker considering he's coached by Arsène Wenger -- and showing hints of the internal dissension that has derailed so many better Dutch squads in the past. No matter what the Dutch camp says about unity and harmony within the team, don't buy it.
Adidas doesn't have any ad remotely as good right now, but at least they can tout Leo Messi and David Villa, who just keeps on scoring (god, how scary will Barcelona be next season).
It's not quite the Madden Curse or SI Jinx, but funny nonetheless.