We are just a couple of days away from the second biggest sporting event (behind the Olympics) – the FIFA World Cup – kicking off in Brazil the ‘Mecca of Football’; and with all sports brands jumping onto the World Cup bandwagon, to make hay when the sun shines the brightest. But, just when you thought you’d seen most of what the big sports brands had to offer in this year’s World Cup advertising, Nike brings back Rooney, Neymar Jr and Ronaldo for another epic turn. But this time in an animated short… The ad, titled ‘The Last Game’, features animated versions of international stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar Júnior, Zlatan Ibrahimovi?, Andrés Iniesta, David Luiz, Franck Ribéry, Tim Howard and Ronaldo Fenomeno. What is the animation all about? Read on… The ad, which came online yesterday, is by Wieden + Kennedy and Passion production company and features a dystopian vision of a footballing future, where all excitement has been extinguished. In this world, the game is performed by ‘The Clones’, a series of automatons only interested in results without risk, who are masterminded by an evil scientist. But then the real players return to challenge ‘The Clones’ to a football showdown. Directed by Jon Saunders of Passion Pictures, the spot has a frenetic animation style suggestive of ‘The Incredibles’. This also makes some of the game footage feel a bit light on its feet. Still, every frame is really given detailed thought and fabulously rendered. The spot clearly recalls Nike and W+K’s legendary ‘Good vs. Evil’ spot from the Euro 1996 tournament, in which a bunch of human all-stars battled a supernatural team of demons. ‘The Last Game’ also obliquely references “Write the Future,” with the players seen doing odd jobs after the clones put them out of work – much as they were consigned to similarly shameful obscurity as punishment for lackluster play in an earlier spot “Write the Future.” In a World Cup year of epic spots this film certainly stands out, mainly due to the charm of its animation and character detailing. At five minutes long, one can only imagine the amount of work that went into it from Passion, who apparently had over 300 people working on it at one point.