Matt Gatward: Rooney's worst nightmare becomes an adman's dream

View from the Sofa: World Cup advertising, ITV 1
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The Independent Football

What have Graham Taylor and Homer Simpson got in common?

Those who witnessed the former's unfortunate spell in charge of the England team could readily produce a healthy list of "d'oh!" moments Homer has since made his own (he's taken off Gary Lineker. D'oh! He's picked Carlton Palmer... to start. D'oh!) but the comparison doesn't stop there. The other answer is they both appear in the glut of World Cup TV adverts filling our every programming pause.

Taylor produces an impressive acting turn (maybe he missed his vocation?) in the Sony ad set in Bisham Abbey retirement home. Reprising the grouchiness that he so famously directed at the referee in Rotterdam in the '94 World Cup qualifier, he moans at Kelly Brook in a nurse's uniform (every teenage boy's dream).

Terry Venables is another resident (but surely El Tel will see out his days on the Costa del Sol) and the pair are annoyed at the TV being removed until it's replaced by a new one. Stuart Pearce appears as the odd-job man, much like he does for England now.

It's nicely done but is booted into touch by Nike's offering, given its first airing during the Champions League final. It's like a mini-movie and if this doesn't get the blood pumping in anticipation of the World Cup you either don't like footy or don't have a pulse. Starring (because that feels more appropriate than "featuring") Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro and Ronaldinho, the ad is a brilliantly compiled, wry look at the impact the World Cup could have on a player's career.

Rooney gives the ball away to a rampaging Franck Ribéry in the last minute against France and suddenly has visions of disparaging headlines ("England in Roo-ins") and of his life deteriorating to such an extent he's living on a caravan park, with a big bushy beard, eating beans on toast. Cue Rooney bursting into action, haring back and slide-tackling Ribéry. The visions turn to knighthoods and Rooney hugging the Queen.

Ronaldo sees himself shoot to such levels of stardom he appears in The Simpsons and nutmegs Homer. Mind you, back on planet earth, Ronaldo probably already believes he's surpassed such celebrity heights.

Not all the ads get the mouth watering, though. The Pringles one is about as appetising as, well, a Pringle. Bizarre doesn't do it justice. Peter Crouch (of Spurs and England) and Nicolas Anelka (of Chelsea and France) seem to be cohabiting (finally, some out footballers) in a pleasant pad (no outside space but a decent-sized balcony), in a city that seems part London, part Madrid, part Rome.

Next door, Dirk Kuyt (of Liverpool and the Netherlands) and Cesc Fabregas (of Arsenal, Barcelona and Spain) have also moved in together, Dirk (not the easiest on the eye) having somewhat overpulled.

Nic and Pete play football with a tub of Pringles in the living room, (tut, tut) before running on to the balcony where Pete breaks into his robot dance. Nic looks on lovingly and joins in. They then roll out Bebeto's "rocking a baby" goal celebration. Perhaps they're planning to adopt? Dirk and Cesc, the couple next door, join in from their balcony. Then the rest of this city's inhabitants, who have all run into the street as if their houses are on fire, join in. To cap off the two minutes of pure genius it becomes apparent that Pringles will be called "Pringooooooals". It's cheesier than, well, a tub of cheese and onion.