X-Men with the X-Factor
Mutants are everywhere. They are spreading across the world and multiplying in numbers. But England's supporters swear they are harmless. They are looking for a miracle. But the mutants really are dominating the global box office, with X-Men: Days of Future Past the No. 1 movie in Singapore. So which of the boys from Brazil would qualify? Who could join the X-Men at the World Cup? Here are the likeliest candidates.
OLD CHARLES XAVIER / PROFESSOR X
He can affect those around him with just one touch of his forehead. Ordinarily, his role would've gone to Alan Pardew.
But the Newcastle manager isn't going to Brazil. He's bearded. He's a little over the hill and he's worried that his skills are no longer being taken seriously. Somehow, he's got to work with limited resources despite being an old man. Being 104 years old now, Andrea Pirlo is perfect.
Wolverine is ageless. He gets to play himself as both a young and an old man. He represents his people's hopes in the present and in the past. He still thinks he fits in among the youngsters. Samuel Eto'o knows the feeling.
He's still scoring for Cameroon against Germany in friendlies. And he started scoring for Cameroon back in the 1970s.
YOUNG CHARLES XAVIER / PROFESSOR X
He is on a superior wavelength to everyone else. His vision is telepathic. He can change the world, but he's a bit of a lad, a bit of a character. Luis Suarez is a young Professor X. He controls everything around him, plus he can alter another man's behaviour by touching any body part with his teeth.
RAVEN DARKHÖLME / MYSTIQUE
Tall, dark, blue and sexy to many, Mystique could also possibly be Giroud in a France jersey. But Mystique's real ability is shape-shifting.
The powerful, deadly woman can transform herself into anything she likes within reason (she can't turn Rooney into a World Cup-winning striker. It must be something plausible.)
No one at the World Cup can shape-shift like Mesut Oezil. At the previous tournament in South Africa, he was a sublime young talent. In Brazil, he could turn into a Sunday morning pub team footballer.
OLD ERIK LEHNSHERR / MAGNETO
As played by Sir Ian McKellan, Magneto is the most powerful of mutants, grizzled and wrinkled and blessed with an ability to manipulate metallic object.
Wayne Rooney is grizzled and wrinkled. And no one can manipulate pieces of silver like the England striker. Out of desperation, Magneto is given another chance to assert himself in a battle his contemporaries seem unable to win.
That's Rooney. He might not be able to win a match, but if there is any gold or silver to be manipulated, he's your man.
YOUNG ERIK LEHNSHERR/MAGNETO
The young, handsome Magneto has to be rescued from a dark prison cell after being accused of a scandalous crime. Swop the prison cell for a London hotel room and it's Olivier Giroud.
HANK MCCOY / BEAST
He's got the greatest stamina, strength, speed and courage of all. He's monstrous. He's Yaya Toure. According to comic book mythology, Beast is rather mild-mannered until someone forgets his birthday, then he goes nuts.
BOBBY DRAKE / ICEMAN
This particular mutant can create ice. That's the perfect skill for Uefa president Michel Platini to acquire. He's adamant that Qatar can host the 2022 World Cup Finals in 50-deg C heat. Let's see him make some ice then.
ORORO MUNROE / STORM
In the movies, Halle Berry plays Storm. She has some sort of special talent. I've no idea what it is. I just like to look at her. Many say the same about Cristiano Ronaldo.
My wife watched him take his Real Madrid shirt off when he celebrated his Champions League victory.
She didn't know it was the Champions League Final. She didn't even know Ronaldo was a footballer. But he looked good in his uniform. He's the perfect storm.
Played by Peter Dinklage in the movies, he's the villain without ever thinking he's a villain. The same could be said of Roy Hodgson.
A unique character on screen, he creates an army of robots whose sole purpose is to hunt and destroy in a methodical, repetitive fashion. This Bolivar Trask supposedly does some nasty things, too.