Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, an amazing soccer tournament was being held. The planets that qualified for the finals were Socceranus, Socceraturn, Socceruto and Soccereptune. In all of Jean Luc’s travels, the Enterprise had never stumbled across this galaxy and history has not recorded these events up to now.
The games took place on Socceruto and they were heavily favoured to win outright. Nothing else existed on Socceruto except soccer. There was no racism, no politics, no wars, only soccer. The players were easily identified since their names matched their planet. This was a commentator’s dream come true. Thus, Sol Campbellanus captained Socceranus, Didier Deschampsaturn skippered Socceraturn, Roy Keanuto drove the red of Socceruto and young Michael Oweneptune had the task of leading Soccereptune.
Apart from home advantage, Andy Coluto and Dwight Yorkuto spearheaded the favourites’ attack, and with Jaap Stamuto marshalling the all-galaxy, all-time meanest defence it was easy to see why they were expected to lift the trophy. But therein lies the very reason why they play the beautiful game and why Nintendo soccer does not exist on Socceruto.
The first match-up saw Soccereptune take on the slightly more fancied Socceranus before a sellout crowd of 100,000 eptunes and 110,000 anuses. In truth there were some neutrals in the crowd but they were hard to find. It would have been a great atmosphere inside the stadium if only Socceruto had an atmosphere. A classic confrontation nonetheless ensued and it was evenly matched. After 45 minutes of teasing soccer, no one had broken the deadlock although Les Ferdinanus smelt woodwork twice on scorching shots while, at the other end, Robbie Fowleptune had come close for his planet. The second half was to witness four goals but no decision on which side would go forward to the final frontier. Dietmar Hamaneptune exchanged the joys and sorrows of scoring at either end while Patrick Bergeptune thought his goal would see his team through right up until the final minute when Sergei Rebrovanus pounced on one of only two chances he had all evening to send the game into extra time and the fans ecstatic. Although there is no hunger on Socceruto, the crowd simulated hunger and howled for more.
In the 112th minute, unlikely hero Steve Stauntoneptune curled a golden winner to send the anuses home and the media searching for new superlatives. By comparison, the Socceruto vs. Socceraturn semi-final played before a capacity 150,000 utos and 75,000 aturns did not need extra time to separate the teams but was no less exciting. Darren Andaturn and Alan Shearaturn shocked the home side into an early two goal deficit before David Beckamuto sparked a tremendous revival with a trademark free kick that David Seamaturn could only admire as it flew past him. The equalizer came when Ryan Gigguto dummied and left a yawning cage for Teddy Sheramuto. All of this before half time. Try as they might, the second half could only produce one quality chance and it was accepted gratefully by Nicky Buttuto. The setup was complete for the intergalactic final. But that’s another story.