The Inaugural Universe World Cup
Guest contributor Joshua Yetman kicks off the universe’s most important tournament.
Unless you’ve been living firmly under a rock, or you have a gold membership at Hermits United, then you must know that we are currently in the midst of the 2014 FIFA World cup.
Love it or loathe it, this quadrennial football competition is one of the world’s most observed sporting events, and billions of people will tune in over the coming weeks to witness their nations prove themselves either victorious or utterly impotent against the rest of the world.
“BORING!”, I hear you screech. I would certainly expect such a reaction! The intersection of the set of Whovians and the set of football enthusiasts isn’t exactly huge (at least I believe), so how about we try to make it a little bit more interesting for ourselves? Let’s Who-ify the FIFA World cup!
There are several ways we could go about doing this. My first idea was to consider a World Cup orchestrated purely by Moffat, but I found myself with a rather oddly imagined tournament where half the teams vanished from existence before the matches even started, England performed so badly that the poor manager had to fake his own death using a robot replica of himself to escape a lynching from the fans, and Paisley was the unanticipated World champion.
So, instead, how about we consider a World Cup where the teams consist of the greatest characters and monsters of the show? Let’s analyse their strengths and weaknesses in the context of the inaugural and rather oddly named Universe World Cup!
Out of the Doctor’s numerous incarnations to date, you could easily form a strong 11-side football team with two iterations to spare. This would certainly be the multi-Doctor event to end all multi-Doctor events, and certainly an oddity to witness in action! To be fair to the slightly more disadvantaged incarnations, it may be best for One and War to perhaps sit out on this one, but I’m sure they could provide ample moral support on the sidelines, or just have idle conversation (“What’s was the final score, dear boy?” ; “Nil-nil I’m afraid. The Doctor’s score no more…”).
Eleven, who proved himself as a proficient and skilled footballer in “The Lodger” much to his own surprise and delight, would obviously make an excellent striker for this hypothetical team. His youth, skill and energy would make him the best player by far. Nine as well, I feel, would be a great forward (fun fact: Chris desired to be a professional footballer from a young age, just like Matt, and both of them are quite skilled in the sport).
However, I would strongly support Seven as team captain, due to his cunning and contemplative skills. He would be able to run Team Doctor most efficiently and tactically (after all, Seven was a true gamemaster!), and he can easily manipulate the opponents.
Five would probably be out of his element here, preferring balls of the cricket variety and being a slightly more physically reserved incarnation, but, being a more youthful Doctor, him and Ten would still make great defenders, as both of them (especially Ten) are good runners and are very quick of the mark. In goal, I’d advocate Six, simply because no opponent could possibly focus on the task in hand with the monumental colourful distraction that is Six’s coat (yup, all the Doctor’s are playing in their canonical outfits – picture the absurdity).
Three, being a very action orientated Doctor and with a smorgasbord of defensive moves would – appropriately – be great in defence, providing he doesn’t get carried away and gets landed with a red card for accidentally Aikido chopping an opponent. The remaining Doctors can be dotted around the midfield, and we would ultimately create an oddly strong team!
The main disadvantage of this team, however, is the possible temporal anomalies caused by the fact the Doctor is playing with himself eleven times over! That and bickering.
The Daleks wouldn’t make the best football team, to be perfectly honest. That is probably the understatement of the century, but in the context of this article, it’s worth reiterating! Daleks are neither fast (at least on the ground), manoeuvrable, nor particularly adept in the moving of spherical objects (unless it’s a Void ship).
However, Daleks are tactical geniuses, and football is all about tactics. The Dalek in “Dalek” was able to calculate a thousand billions combinations a second – how long would it really take the Daleks to map out a football field and project the possible actions of their opponents? Femtoseconds, probably! But can they really do anything to put their deduced tactics into action? Not really, given their aforementioned physical limitations. Still, the sheer physical size of the Paradigm Daleks will make one of them excellent as a goalkeeper if nothing else.
Plus, I’m not a football expert, but I think the extermination of an opponent is probably something worthy of a red card, so it is possible that the whole Dalek side will be sent off in a matter of moments anyway (not unless they exterminate the referee!).
Who can forget that iconic Radio Times cover back in 2006, juxtaposing the Dalek vs. Cybermen war in “Doomsday” with the 2006 FIFA World cup final (which was to air the day afterwards)? It was a fantastic cover, and begs the question: What would a Cyberman team be like?
Well, they’d be better than the Daleks, that’s for sure, seeing as they actually have legs, but we have to consider what type of Cyberman we’re using here. The Cybus Cybermen were always a bit slow, maladroit, and ‘stompish’, and exceedingly easy to run away from. That kind of makes them both a rubbish defence and offence, though they’d be difficult to beat in a tackle due to their sheer strength.
The new Cybermen introduced in “Nightmare in Silver”, however, would be a terrifying football team to face. Not only are the Nightmare Cybermen mind-bogglingly speedy and considerably more dexterous than their predecessors, but these Cybermen can continuously upgrade themselves to meet any challenge they come across (a fair reason why they are now overpowered as an enemy, but it’s a good thing in this particular context). This means that, for whatever advantage the opposing team may have over them, the Nightmare Cybermen will be able to adapt themselves to contest and remove said advantage very quickly. Hence, they would be the perfect team and near unbeatable without the opponents resorting to a planet-imploding bomb (which, for some reason, explodes instead).
Plus, there are no lack of substitutes for Team Cybermen. If they ran out of players, they could make more out of the crowd!
Silents could make a truly excellent side as well. Fighting an enemy you can’t physically remember proved troublesome for the Doctor in “Day of the Moon”, so on the football pitch it’ll be comparably difficult. Forgetting who you’re playing means you can’t possibly strategise against them, and the memory wipe will be temporarily bemusing, allowing the Silents to retake possession. Being humanoid, their football ability should be somewhat comparable to that of humans, and their massive craniums would be brilliant for headers. Plus, I can just see the BBC commentary now…
“Honestly, Gary, there was nothing memorable about the first half, nothing really happened at all…”
Team Weeping Angel
Hmm… spectator sports and Weeping Angels. I wonder how this will turn out!
Providing the floodlights are kept on (note to stadium operators: for the love of Rassilon, keep the floodlights on at all times), a match against the Weeping Angels would be an absolute doddle. However, we know that the image of an angel is an angel, so the mere fact that the World Cup is broadcast to billions of people via millions of TV screens is…rather terrifying, to say the least!
“This isn’t war, this is sport…literally!”
Sontarans love war, and although a game of football isn’t fully akin to their preferred hobby of violent weapon-induced bloodshed, they’d still relish the opportunity of competition and will still try to “destroy” their opponents. Their stocky frames will allow them to charge through the field with ease, and will make tackling difficult for the opponents, but their small size might make goalkeeping tricky. Plus, the success of the team will heavily depend on the clone batches used; a team consisting of 11 Strax’s, for example, will probably be prone to confusion, distractions, and playing with their grenades instead of the ball.
So…who will win?
We’ve considered 6 different teams, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages on the field, but which one would win the coveted Universe World cup? Well, the Weeping Angels certainly leave with the wooden spoon (or should it be the stone spoon), and I think the final would be definitely contested between the Silents and the Nightmare Cybermen, the strongest two teams by far.
Who wins this final depends on the following – are the Nightmare Cybermen affected by the memory proof abilities of the Silents, and if they are, can they adapt themselves so that they can remember them? The likely answer to this intriguing question is yes (seriously, the Nightmare Cybermen are ridiculously OP), so, the winner of the inaugural Universe World Cup is…
Are there any other monsters you think would perform well in the Universe World Cup? Leave your thoughts below.
But anyway, see you guys in 4 years for the next Universe World Cup, being held exclusively on Clom!