2022 could be the year that the US Men’s National Team put themselves back on the world stage as they’re looking very likely to head to the World Cup, which takes place in Qatar.
When we see our stars on the cusp of success, it raises interest in their sport, which is no different when it comes to soccer. After all, soccer is the most popular globally, and increasing numbers of people are taking an interest in it right here too, as CNBC reports.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise either, as more players from the US are heading across the world and becoming internationally successful. The likes of Christian Pulisic, who is playing for Chelsea in the English Premier League and Weston McKennie, who is in Italy with Juventus, are showcasing their talents in the most competitive leagues.
While we do have some of the most promising young players in the world, for the US to win the World Cup would be something like a fairytale. The USMNT is not among the top picks in Ladbrokes’ World Cup betting odds but they are ahead of some notable names. Sweden, the Czech Republic, and regulars such as Poland and Paraguay are all fancied less than Gregg Berhalter’s men, who are looking to replicate the utter dominance of their female counterparts. However, while it’s unlikely, it’s not impossible as the US has upset the world’s best on many occasions. In the 1950 World Cup, they beat England 1-0, and the English press thought it was a misprint and reported it as a 10-1 victory.
However, despite reality often being stranger than fiction, fiction is still worthy of a watch. So, if you want to get warmed up for the World Cup with some great fictional tales, then take a look at these great soccer movies.
This movie looks at the relationship between sport and its fans, and it’s something that any lover of sport can completely understand. Fever Pitch is based on a Nick Hornby book and follows the story of Paul, a teacher who tries to manage his love of soccer alongside his job as a teacher, and his love life! You might have read the title and thought of the movie featuring Drew Barrymore and the Boston Red Sox; nope, this isn’t that. It’s far more worthy of a watch!
Escape to Victory
Iconic actors such as Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine maybe aren’t two who you’d associate with soccer, but they’re fantastic in this film set in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. Caine plays the role of a British prisoner who happens to be a former professional soccer player, and he’s persuaded into organizing a match between the inmates against their captors. Once he realizes it’s a propaganda stunt, the attention turns to using the game as a diversion to breakout. Can the unlikely team defeat their seemingly infallible captors? You’ll have to watch to find out.
It has to be said there are more than a few similarities between Escape to Victory and The Longest Yard here, although it has a more modern twist. The main character is played by Vinnie Jones, of X-Men and Arrow fame, as a former professional soccer player who finds himself incarcerated following an assault on a police officer. Inside he’s treated with disdain by the inmates who certainly resent the life he’s lived as a professional sportsman. Therefore, the only way of redeeming himself is by using his skills to side with his fellow inmates and try to defeat the guards in a soccer game. The eagle-eyed amongst you might notice that Jason Statham is in here too, although he’s certainly different to the character he plays in Hobbs and Shaw, that’s for sure!
If you’re looking at drilling down into the life of one of the greatest players ever seen in soccer, consider looking at Maradona, a documentary about the life of the controversial but superb Argentinian player. From growing up in Lánus to his unfortunate passing in 2020, Maradona was someone you couldn’t take your eyes off of. Take a look into the world of the mercurial talent, who delighted with his performances on the pitch, but off it also attracted his fair share of attention in more ways than one.