After creating the two best rosters in the history of world football and debating ad nauseam whether the adidas roster led by Lionel Messi and Xavi is better than the Nike roster headed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, it became necessary to finally play the match.
Using the EA Sports FIFA 12 title, we were able to simulate the match to determine–once and for all–which team would come out on top of this epic super-match.
Despite trailing 3-1 just after halftime, Nike came from behind to tie the match in the final minutes before scoring two extra-time goals to win the match, 5-3.
Adidas got out to a fast start, as Messi took a pass from Xavi in the 17th minute and slid a shot past Nike keeper Tim Howard for the game's first tally.
Rooney helped Nike level things with a fantastic run down the right side, perfectly crossing the ball into the box for a sliding finish from Brazilian star Neymar in the 25th minute.
Messi got his second goal of the match in the 38th minute by sending home a penalty awarded to adidas, after Carles Puyol extended his arm and blocked Messi's cross in the box.
Adidas led, 2-1, at the half.
Just after halftime, Messi got his hat trick with a cracker from far outside the box, drilling it into the upper 90 off a setup from Robin van Persie to take a 3-1 lead.
Moments later, Nike struck back just off the restart when Rooney drilled his own shot from distance from a give-and-go with Neymar that scorched past the outstretched arms of adidas keeper Iker Casillas.
The play was back and forth for much of the second half, with adidas keeping pressure on the Nike back line. Howard made three game-saving stops late in regulation to keep Nike in the match.
After Rooney won a corner with just minutes to go, Ronaldo served a perfect ball in to second-half substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who headed home the tying goal in the 85th minute for Nike.
In extra time, Howard proved to be stout in net again by denying a sure score from second-half sub Nani for the second time in the match. Moments later, Rooney set the table for Andres Iniesta to bury a left-footed shot in the lower left corner past Casillas for the 4-3 lead in the 99th minute. The goal was Nike's first lead of the match and proved to be the game-winner.
Adidas was unable to get anything past Howard in extra time despite several chances inside 12 yards. Nike put the game out of reach with another goal in the final seconds of extra time from substitute Franck Ribery, who was clearly offside when the ball reached him, but play was not stopped. Even computer linesmen make mistakes (or maybe that's just how realistic the game is).
Alas, the match was all but over for adidas before his shot caromed off the post and in to make the final score 5-3 in favor of Nike.
Howard stopped 11 shots and was Nike's Man of the Match. Casillas stopped seven in defeat. In the loss, Messi was named Man of the Match with a rating slightly better than Howard's, thanks in part to netting adidas' only three scores.
The simulation was run using Xbox 360, with eight minute/legendary settings. All custom tactics were set to normal, with the exception of shots, which was set to "lots."
Nike was represented by Barcelona while Adidas was represented by Real Madrid.
Both rosters were customized to represent our panel's respective starting XIs, with the computer handling substitutions. Adidas subbed in Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nani and David Silva, while Nike used Ibrahimovic, Ribery and Pirlo off the bench.
The simulation was conducted with permission from EA Sports. Here are a few screen grabs of the upcoming FIFA 13 title.