Featured Matches
Previous
Burnley
Manchester United
0
0
LIVE 76'
Game Details
Manchester City
Stoke City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Chelsea
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Eibar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Bayern Munich
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chievo Verona
Juventus
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Roma
Fiorentina
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burnley
Manchester United
0
0
LIVE 76'
Game Details
Manchester City
Stoke City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newcastle United
Crystal Palace
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Queens Park Rangers
Sunderland
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
West Ham United
Southampton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Chelsea
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Levante
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cordoba
Celta Vigo
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Eibar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Espanyol
Sevilla FC
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
Hertha Berlin
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
SC Paderborn 07
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfB Stuttgart
FC Cologne
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfL Wolfsburg
Eintracht Frankfurt
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
TSG Hoffenheim
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Bayern Munich
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chievo Verona
Juventus
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Roma
Fiorentina
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Lille
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Caen
Stade Rennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lens
Stade de Reims
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lorient
Guingamp
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nantes
Montpellier
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toulouse
Evian Thonon Gaillard
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest
0
1
FT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Charlton Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
Ipswich Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fulham
Cardiff City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Leeds United
Bolton Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Reading
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Millwall
Blackpool
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Norwich City
AFC Bournemouth
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Brentford
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
Huddersfield Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Birmingham City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Blackburn Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colchester United
Peterborough United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Oldham Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Leyton Orient
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gillingham
Crewe Alexandra
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Crawley Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Chesterfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Sheffield United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rochdale
Bradford City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Walsall
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Coventry City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Barnsley
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Stevenage
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Accrington Stanley
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Carlisle United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Hartlepool United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Burton Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Exeter City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Dagenham & Redbridge
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Southend United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Newport County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Luton Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Morecambe
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
York City
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Grimsby Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Braintree Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Halifax
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dartford
AFC Telford United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dover
Kidderminster Harriers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gateshead
Chester City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Torquay United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Eastleigh
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nuneaton Town
Altrincham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Southport
Barnet
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Forest Green Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wrexham
Woking
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Partick Thistle
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Hamilton Academical
Ross County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Kilmarnock
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Motherwell
St Johnstone
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Mirren
Dundee United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alloa Athletic
Hibernian
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cowdenbeath
Raith Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dumbarton
Livingston
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Heart of Midlothian
Falkirk
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rangers
Queen of the South
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Airdrie United
Stirling Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brechin City
Peterhead
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Forfar Athletic
Greenock Morton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stenhousemuir
Ayr United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stranraer
Dunfermline Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Albion Rovers
Queen's Park
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Annan Athletic
Elgin City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arbroath
Montrose
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Clyde
Berwick Rangers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
East Fife
East Stirlingshire
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Barcelona B
CD Sabadell
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lugo
Real Valladolid
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Zaragoza
Osasuna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AD Alcorcon
Girona
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Racing Santander
Mirandes
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tenerife
Albacete
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Catania
Lanciano
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Crotone
Ternana
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Frosinone
Brescia
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Livorno
Carpi
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
US Avellino
Pro Vercelli
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
US Pescara
Trapani
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Varese
Spezia
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vicenza
Latina
Postp
Game Details
Virtus Entella
Bari
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Erzgebirge Aue
Fortuna Düsseldorf
0
3
FT
Game Details
Karlsruhe
Heidenheimer SB
1
1
FT
Game Details
Tours
Angers
1
0
LIVE 62'
Game Details
Cambuur Leeuwarden
ADO Den Haag
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Dordrecht '90
AZ Alkmaar
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Excelsior
SC Heracles Almelo
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Heerenveen
FC Utrecht
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Oss
De Graafschap
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Belenenses
Guimaraes
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Braga
Estoril
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mordovia Saransk
FK Torpedo Moscow
1
0
FT
Game Details
FK Amkar Perm
Spartak Moscow
0
0
LIVE 15'
Game Details
FC Arsenal Tula
Kuban Krasnodar
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eskisehirspor K
Konyaspor
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Bursaspor
Galatasaray
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Istanbul Buyuksehir BSK
Kasimpasa
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mersin Idmanyurdu
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kalloni AEL
Ergotelis
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Panthrakikos
Giannina
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Panetolikos
Olympiakos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
KV Oostende
Racing Genk
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KVC Westerlo
Zulte-Waregem
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mouscron-Peruwelz
Cercle Brugge KSV
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Waasland-Beveren
Lierse SK
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
SK Sturm Graz
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Trenkwalder Admira
Austria Vienna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Josko Ried
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wolfsberger AC
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sonderjyske
Randers FC
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
BK Hacken
Mjallby
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gefle IF
Atvidabergs FF
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sarpsborg FK
Odd Grenland
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Aalesund
Stromsgodset
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Valerenga
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Thun
FC Sion Sitten
3:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Lucerne
FC Aarau
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ballinamallard Utd
Cliftonville
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Crusaders
Glentoran
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dungannon Swifts
Linfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Institute
Warrenpoint Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
Colorado Rapids
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
New England Revolution
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
Columbus Crew
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago Fire
FC Dallas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
San Jose Earthquakes
Real Salt Lake
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Vancouver Whitecaps
Portland Timbers
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
America
UNAM
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Morelia
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Chiapas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Pachuca
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Prestatyn Town
Bala Town
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ottawa Fury FC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
Atlanta Silverbacks
ESPN3 11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Indy Eleven
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensa y Justicia
Rosario Central
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Estudiantes La Plata
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Nueva Chicago
Argentinos Juniors
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
All Boys
Santamarina
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Boca Unidos
Douglas Haig
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldosivi
Colón de Santa Fe
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Altamira
Correcaminos
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Celaya
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Mineros de Zacatecas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Zacatepec
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dorados de Sinaloa
Necaxa
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Internacional
ESPN3 9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Náutico
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
América RN
Paraná Clube
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Bragantino
ABC
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
Avaí
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Ceará
Luverdense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Colo Colo
Antofagasta
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Huachipato
Santiago Wanderers
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fénix
Defensor Sporting
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
El Tanque Sisley
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Petrolera
Atlético Huila
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Uniautonoma
Boyacá Chicó FC
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
Fortaleza CE
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Unión Comercio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Melgar
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
César Vallejo
Real Garcilaso
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Juan Aurich
Universitario de Deportes
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Simón
San Martin
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
3 de Febrero
Sol de América
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aragua
Deportivo Táchira
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Dep. Metropolitano
Zamora
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
The Strongest
Universitario de Pando
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Albirex Niigata
5
0
FT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Omiya Ardija
4
0
FT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
0
1
FT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Vissel Kobe
1
2
FT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
FC Tokyo
2
2
FT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Vantforet Kofu
3
0
FT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Kawasaki Frontale
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Shimizu S-Pulse
2
2
FT
Game Details
Vegalta Sendai
Yokohama F. Marinos
1
2
FT
Game Details
Bay United
Orlando Pirates
0
0
LIVE 14'
Game Details
Free State Stars
Maritzburg Utd
0
1
LIVE 3'
Game Details
Kaizer Chiefs
SuperSport United
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Pretoria Univ
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Pumas Generalena
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Comunicaciones
Antigua
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Marquense
Guastatoya
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Platense
Parrillas One
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Victoria
Honduras Progreso
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
Feb 8, 2013

The sweet taste of failure

(Disclaimer: This piece does not contain product placement.)

There was a lot of talk about curses this week. "Germany overcome the France curse," headlined a wire report on Wednesday, after our national team had triumphed 2-1 at the Stade de France to register their first win on French soil since 1935. Meanwhile, a popular sports website declared: "Victory in Paris! Germans overcome their French curse!"

However, what the Paris win should have truly ended for good is the talk about an entirely different sort of evil spell - the Nutella curse.

For the benefit of those readers who now wonder where or who Nutella is, let me explain that, yes, we're talking about the chocolate hazelnut spread manufactured since 1964 by Ferrero, a company from Alba, Italy.

Nine years ago, ahead of Euro 2004, Nutella entered into a sponsorship deal with the German FA and launched a marketing campaign based around up-and-coming, young internationals. Soon the word on the street was that whoever the company chose to promote their sweet, sticky spread would find his Germany career in tatters.

The original Nutella boys are still the prime examples for the curse, as Ferrero picked Benjamin Lauth, Kevin Kuranyi, Arne Friedrich and Andreas Hinkel for the initial campaign. At the time, all four were highly promising and much-touted, but two years later only Friedrich, the oldest of the four, would even make the World Cup squad. Nutella then dropped Lauth and Hinkel and replaced them with Tim Borowski and Marcell Jansen - enough said.

When contracts ran out at the end of 2008, the company decided to make a fresh start with four new youngsters: Jermaine Jones, Manuel Neuer, Simon Rolfes and Tobias Weis. Neuer eventually came through, but the others didn't - Jones even opted to play for the USA instead - and Nutella's overall record now looked so bad that The Curse became a pet subject for bloggers, conspiracy theorists, columnists, esoterics, marketing men and hosts of late-night shows.

It certainly wasn't the first curse of its kind, not the first Evil Commercial Spell. There are, for instance, the well-known and well- publicised Madden Curse and the Curse of Gillette.

The Madden Curse is said to be cast upon any NFL player who graces the cover of EA Sports' "Madden NFL" video game. The first, for the 1999 edition, was 49ers running back Garrison Hearst, who promptly broke his ankle and didn't play a single game in the season he advertised.

The next, a year later, was Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions, who abruptly quit the game soon after. He, too, didn't play a single minute in the season he was supposed to represent. However, EA Sports reacted quickly and replaced Sanders' image with that of Dorsey Levens. But the Green Bay Packers player was haunted by a dodgy knee and so the face of "Madden NFL 2000" played only five games in 2000 and was soon released by his club.

The Curse of Gillette is of more recent origin. It says that the men who endorse the Gillette Fusion razor suffer a decline in fortunes, not necessarily of a sporting nature (as Tiger Woods found out). It's hit Thierry Henry and David Beckham and when Roger Federer was knocked out of the 2010 French Open and Wimbledon in quick succession, the journalist Ian Stafford almost gleefully announced: "The Curse of Gillette is Complete!"

A few months earlier, Ferrero had announced their latest line-up of sweet young things: Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Howedes, Mats Hummels and Mesut Ozil. The Curse had gained such wide currency by then that Germany's biggest tabloid, Bild, was openly worried: "Let's hope that this doesn't prove to be the new generation's undoing!"

At first it seemed as if little had changed. Hummels and Howedes, both members of the Under-21 side that had won the European Championship in 2009, didn't make the final squad for the World Cup in South Africa. And Manuel Neuer was only the reserve goalkeeper, back-up to Rene Adler and possibly even third-choice behind Tim Wiese.

But less than two months before the World Cup, Adler broke a rib and had to miss the tournament. National coach Joachim Low made Neuer, not Wiese, his new No. 1 - and suddenly there were cracks in The Curse. Good news for Nutella.

For companies like Ferrero, Gillette and EA Sports, an evil-spell theory is probably not a problem in itself, because, as the saying goes, all publicity is good publicity. The problem, however, is that many athletes are superstitious.

In late 2011, Peyton Hillis, the poster boy for "Madden NFL 12" said: "No doubt about it, things haven't worked to my favour this year. There's a few things that happened that made me believe in curses. Ain't no doubt about it." And he wasn't even badly injured; he just didn't have a great year.

If athletes begin to believe that endorsing your product will jinx them, you're in trouble, because either you run out of faces to use on your posters or you have to silence people's doubts the old- fashioned way - by fattening the paycheque.

I don't know if this is what happened to Nutella, it may have played a bigger role but that Foodwatch (an organisation that does what it says on the tin) heavily scolded the German FA in 2011 for endorsing a product that isn't necessarily part of a healthy diet. In any case, Nutella ended their co-operation with the national team later that year.

Since then, though, things have begun to look very different. Ozil has become an international star and Neuer the undisputed No.1, while Hummels broke through during Euro 2012 and is currently the second centre-back of choice (after Holger Badstuber).

Even Howedes is now part of the Germany set-up again, as he started the two recent prestigious games and went the distance in both, which also means that three members of the final incarnation of the Nutella boys have now been part of a truly historic win.

Of course we'll never know if this means that the whole Nutella curse was hogwash to begin with, or if it was lifted by Nutella's decision to get out of football. Either way, German football can now focus on spreading joy and nothing else.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.