May 1, 2014 4:30 pm

Next Goal Wins – film review

This hilarious documentary follows the fortunes of the world’s worst national football team
Team captain Liatama Amisone Jr and coach Thomas Rongen in training in 'Next Goal Wins'

Team captain Liatama Amisone Jr and coach Thomas Rongen in training in 'Next Goal Wins'

Next Goal Wins is minor but hilarious. Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s documentary might even dampen your hanky. Who could not become moist-eyed as American Samoa, once officially the worst national football team in the world (beaten 31-0, an all-time record debacle, by Australia in 2001), take their hope and courage to the World Cup qualifiers and battle – with honour! – Tonga, the Cook Islands and the big boys of Samoa.

The Davids throw everything at their Goliaths. That includes the first transgender player ever to start an international non-friendly. At the end she, Jaiyah Saelua, is musing on what dress (Versace? Dolce & Gabbana?) to order for the film’s red carpet premiere. It has taken a Dutchman, Thomas Rongen, to train this double-Dutch team, which even includes the recalled goalie – lured from exile in Seattle – who let in the Australian avalanche. The film is utterly winning. Whether the team win I leave to your unspoilt anticipation.


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