The World Cup is on the horizon, featuring football teams from all over the globe competing for the sport’s most prestigious prize. With that in mind, and with the tournament taking place in the summer, when comic book movies dominate at the box office, we’ve decided to form a superhero soccer team. The following are our picks for the starting line-up, featuring X-Men, Avengers, Defenders (obviously), and Justice Leaguers in a classic 4-4-2 formation.
Goalkeeper — Spider-Man
Goalkeepers are often the oldest players on the pitch, possessing both experience and a level head key. But we’re going for youth in the net, picking Peter Parker because he’s both agile and fast. He crawls up walls so is obviously good with his hands. And Spider-Man‘s lightning-quick reactions mean balls are unlikely to get past him.
Left-Back — Wolverine
Aggressive. Strong. Powerful. The team just has to keep an eye on those claws. If he gets fouled, Wolverine can self-heal. His mazy ‘berserker’ runs down the wing make him the ultimate attacking wing-back. And he takes penalties, normally straight down the middle. Because even if the keeper saves the ball, he too is going into the back of the net.
Centre-Back — Captain America (c)
The team’s captain is the ultimate captain — Mr. Steve Rogers. Because as well as being the perfect physical specimen, he’s also a master tactician and strategist. As the ultimate good guy, he leads by example, acting as a calming influence on some of the more hot-headed players. And being a man who is honest, loyal, and true to the end, he’ll put his life on the line for the team. Which is useful.
Centre-Back — Batman
The ying to Captain America’s yang, Batman is an unpredictable enforcer whom every opposition striker is frightened off. As tenacious in training as he is on the pitch, the Dark Knight does have a tendency to get himself sent off. But his vast intellect means he is always one step ahead of his opponent. And retains his place because he supplies the most amazing equipment, with shin-pads like steel, and boots that propel both player and ball through the air.
Right-Back — Luke Cage
NO ONE is passing Luke Cage down the left wing. As the man is like a mountain, his super-strength and durability meaning that running into ‘Power Man’ is like running into a brick wall. His unbreakable skin is also a bonus, with injuries non-existent in Luke’s world.
Left-Wing — Flash
You want your winger to be fast, and there’s no one faster than Flash. Aside from maybe our right-winger. Barry Allen’s super-speed means he leaves defenders in the dust. And if the pace doesn’t work, he’s out-witting them with his super-fast brain and reflexes. And being able to defy the laws of physics, we’re expecting regular bicycle kicks from the speedster.
Centre-Midfield — Black Panther
Football legend Pele once predicted that an African nation would win the World Cup by the year 2000. It’s 2018 and that still hasn’t happened. But this team could win the trophy with the help of African-born T’Challa. The Wakandan is fast, skilful and athletic, making him the ultimate box-to-box midfielder. While he also supplys the kits, which are laced with Vibranium.
Centre-Midfield — Loki
Every team needs a player skilled in the dark arts. And Loki is the ultimate trickster, a master manipulator who wins penalties and free-kicks while winding up the opposition with a spot of shapeshifting, teleportation, and astral projection. He’s a mercurial maverick who sometimes brings the game into disrepute, but Loki is rarely on the losing team.
Right-Wing — Quicksilver
If you’ve got Flash on the left wing, you want an equally fast dude on the right, so that’s why Quicksilver gets the nod. He runs and thinks just as fast, while his superhuman stamina means Quicksilver keeps running into the 90th minute and beyond.
Centre-Forward — Mr. Fantastic
This team is all about pace and skill, meaning the players will be keeping the ball on the ground, Barcelona-style. But when that isn’t working, you need to go ‘route-one,’ hoofing it up to a big man. And there’s no bigger man than Mr. Fantastic, who can elongate himself to head high balls, and stick out a long leg to finish the crosses coming in from both wings.
Centre-Forward — Hawkeye
The big man/small man combination is a classic up front. And if Mr. Fantastic is the big man knocking balls down, we want Hawkeye on the end of them. Because he’s the most accurate of all superheroes; a master marksman whose aim is always true, and who never missed the target.
Manager — Clark Kent
Finally, the team’s manager is actually a player-manager. Called Clark Kent. Who doesn’t panic when his boys are losing. Rather he simply puts Superman in the game, and wins the match without breaking a sweat. Because he’s Superman.