[Review] Gold Stars: The Story of the FIFA World Cup Tournaments (2017)

Gold Stars (2017)You could be 90 years old and remember the greatest moments of all the World Cups. Or you could watch Gold Stars: The Story of the FIFA World Cup Tournaments, released in advance of WC 2018 as a 2-disk set or via streaming.

The series starts with an homage to Pelé and ends with one to Maradona. In between, Gold Stars presents 3 hours of “the best action, the biggest names, and the greatest stories” of the tournaments. FIFA facts and records about the key players, coaches, and games are rapidly reeled off, accompanied with related video footage.

It’s a huge amount of information to digest, but the film highlights the iconic moments, people, and rivalries. You will be so conversant about the World Cup that you could become the next Tommy Smyth or Christopher Sullivan!

If you are a FIFA fan, one reason this disk set is so useful is because it is not easy to find equivalent material. Perhaps with the 2016 opening of the FIFA World Football Museum, fifa.com was reorganized. Historical info is still hosted on the site in various sections, but you can only find the info by googling it. Gold Stars more easily puts this info at your fingertips such as:

* Top 10 individual goals – #1 Maradona
* Top 10 free kicks – #2 Eric Wynalda
* Top 10 volleys
* Top 10 saves
* Best headers
* Top goal scorers
* Best team goals

* FIFA Facts – youngest & oldest players to score or play, most WC games played, Bora Milotinovich has lost a record 9 matches as coach, Zagallo and Beckenbsuer have won as both player & coach, earliest goal, most goals in one game, only goal scored on a corner kick, only player to score for both teams, U17 only WC goal from a goalkeeper’s punt

* Great matches, such as Beckenbauer playing with a broken collarbone because subs were not allowed
* Best goal celebrations
* Small teams who had heartbreaking losses in knockout rounds
* Last-minute goals, such as Dennis Bergkamp NED vs ARG, and Landon vs Algeria (the only pile-on in the set)

* Iconic managers such as Sepp Herrberger, Vicente del Bosque, Scolari, Mario Zagallo, Joaquim Lowe
* Iconic GKs and shootouts
* Iconic midfielders Charlton, Zidane, Platini, Kryuff, Garrincha, Xavi Hernandez, Lothar Matthaus
* Iconic forwards such as Gary Lineker, Klinsmann, Batistuta, Maradona

* Villains – Luis Suarez handball, Zidane head butt, Maradona hand of god, and numerous dirty fouls
* Gaffs – mostly GK errors
* Controversies: the Disgrace of Dijon, Italy’s fascist salute, players refusing to play or train

* Videos of the first red card and first yellow card
* Fashion statements: besides Beckham and Neymar as fashion icons, there is also the Clint Mathis Mohawk, Kyle Beckerman dreadlocks (now shorn), Alexi Lalas hippie look, and the GK with a wig

About 10% of the film is dedicated to Womens World Cups and covers iconic players (Hamm, Akers, Saha, Prinz, Sun Wen) and iconic game moments such as Carli Lloyd’s goal from the halfway line, and Brandi Chastain’s sports bra celebration. It also shows the Top 10 WWC goals (#1 Sawa) and covers best WWC coaches.

The set also includes other FIFA tournaments, such as Confederations Cup, U17 and U20 World Cups (both men and women), Futsal, Beach Soccer, and EA Sports FIFA Interactive.

Maybe I missed this, but I don’t remember seeing goal footage of Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, except in youth tournaments. I guess that means WC 2018 is their last chance to get significant coverage in a future edition of this compilation.

Due to covering more than 20 tournaments, video snippets are usually only around 2 seconds long. There are some repeats throughout. There is a snippet of Garrincha walking, which I had never seen before, and which clearly shows how one of his legs is much shorter than the other. I was also struck by the number of times I watched teams get beaten by Germany in iconic games, and the few times Germany lost. Germany’s greatness in soccer should not be understated.

Gold Stars is a treasure trove of FIFA world cup information for the FIFA fanatic!

In English
Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7

Resources:
Released: 2017-11 (VOD and DVD)
Purchase on Amazon  and Vimeo  (trailer on Vimeo)
Director: Richard Horne, Mark Harrowell
Stars: Pelé and many more