‘Next Goal Wins’ (2014) – the original documentary

Next Goal Wins (2014)

With Next Goal Wins, the film and its back story are equally interesting. American Samoa is the last place team in FIFA world rankings but is trying to qualify for WC 2014.

The American Samoan team has not won a game since 1983 and has been outscored 229-2. In WC 2002 qualifying, they gave up a record 31 goals to Australia. In one game.

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Arab Spring got in Bob Bradley’s way in ‘We Must Go’ (2014)

We Must Go (2014)

Soccer fans looking for a way to be part of WC2014, documentarians Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker followed Bob Bradley on his questionably sane task to coach the Egyptian National Team to Brazil.

Arab Spring got in the way.

The film captures not so much Bradley’s journey, but the journey of Egypt’s young people and one ardent soccer fan base, the Ultras Ahlawy.

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The FA’s Christian roots in ‘Thank God for Football!’ (2013)

Thank God for Football! (2013)

A strong Christian and avid researcher, Peter Lupson published his book Thank God for Football! in 2006. A few years later, he ran into an executive of the Christian Television Association. That heaven-sent meeting resulted in a documentary of the 12 past and present EPL teams that were founded by churches.

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‘The Two Escobars’ (2010) explains narco-fútbol

ESPN 30 for 30 logo - The Two Escobars (2010)

For its 30th anniversary, ESPN commissioned 30 respected filmmakers to produce 30 documentaries on the impact of sports on society. 30 for 30: The Two Escobars is the fascinating story of player Andrés Escobar and druglord Pablo Escobar.

Andrés Escobar, captain of the Colombian national team, gave up the own goal against the USA in the 1994 World Cup and was shot to death 10 days later in his hometown.

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Young monks get to watch ‘The Cup’ (1999)

The Cup (1999)

You don’t expect much to happen in a Buddhist monastery. So it is not surprising that Phörpa (The Cup) is very slow paced. A spirited young soccer-obsessed monk defies the monastery’s way of life in order to watch World Cup 1998. But the abbot, although he does not understand why men fight over a ball for a cup, eventually accepts that Buddhism can coexist with football, and the boys scramble for the funds to rent a satellite dish and TV before the final.

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‘Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal’ (2007) British Hindu issues

Dhan Dhanna Dhan Goal (2007)

In Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, a South Asian community in England has a struggling semi-pro football team. They need to win the league or the stadium will be sold for redevelopment. Sadly, their star is enticed to play for their better all-white rivals. But the star player encounters racism on his new team. He returns to his community and saves the stadium. Lots of singing and dancing ensue.

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