Actor and rapper Will Smith is teaming up with Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi on the official song for the upcoming World Cup in Russia – but he may want to brush up on his soccer skills beforehand.
Smith will perform the new song, titled “Live It Up”, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow just prior to the final on July 15.
In doing so, he will follow in the footsteps of fellow American Diana Ross, who sang at the opening ceremony for the 1994 World Cup in Pasadena.
Ross’s performance is perhaps best remembered for its grand finale, which saw the Supremes legend take one of the worst penalty kicks of all time.
The singer was supposed to kick the ball into a giant goal, with the frame breaking in half to spark fireworks, ticker tape, and mass celebrations.
Except, Ross ended up skewing her spot-kick badly wide, in a chilling premonition of the Roberto Baggio miss that would ultimately arrive in the final.
Smith would be wise to get a bit of penalty practice in before his performance though – after all, he’s been guilty of taking a far worse spot-kick than his American counterpart in the past.
Smith’s own penalty blunder came as part of a trip to the UK ahead of the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley and just after a charity game involving several former World Cup winners.
There to promote the lamentable After Earth at the time, Smith suffered further embarrassment after he decided to take a penalty in front of the gathered crowd, that included the likes of Cafu and Fabio Cannavaro, and with the cameras rolling.
It was a decision he would later regret. While Ross at least hits the ball with enough force to send it wide and had a bit more pressure on her shoulders, Smith decided to hype up the crowd before a penalty attempt that would have made even a toddler blush.
He just didn’t connect with the ball, getting the faintest of touches to send it slowing spinning off the to the left. Everyone was embarrassed. Even now, it’s embarrassing to watch.
With only a few weeks to go until the finals, Smith would be wise to get practicing – those Russian crowds won’t be so forgiving if he ends up pulling off another terrible shot.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.