Next Goal Wins – film review

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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