Next Goal Wins

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71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: In 2001, the tiny Pacific island of American Samoa suffered a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia, garnering headlines across the world as the worst soccer team on the planet. A decade after that humiliating night, they remain rooted to the bottom of FIFA's World rankings,In 2001, the tiny Pacific island of American Samoa suffered a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia, garnering headlines across the world as the worst soccer team on the planet. A decade after that humiliating night, they remain rooted to the bottom of FIFA's World rankings, having scored only twice in seventeen years. They have lost every competitive game they have ever played. Against this backdrop of serial underachievement, the team face the daunting prospect of a qualification campaign for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It would take a miracle-maker or a madman to turn the team's fortunes around - and in maverick Dutch coach Thomas Rongen the islanders somehow find both. Collapse
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Mike McCahill
    Sep 22, 2014
    80
    As an antidote to Premier League cynicism, it couldn't be bettered.
  2. Reviewed by: Charles Gant
    May 6, 2014
    80
    No sports film is short on pep talks, bonding sessions and heartfelt analogies to family kinship, but the teammates’ easy acceptance of Saelua — and her robust performance on the pitch — give the proceedings an extra kick.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Walsh
    May 21, 2014
    80
    Tender, charming and made with substantial care, Next Goal Wins celebrates the cliché that it's not about winning, but the taking part.
  4. Reviewed by: Anita Gates
    Apr 24, 2014
    70
    In some ways, this is just another underdogs-go-for-it sports movie. In others, it is as sensitive and observant as an Edith Wharton novel.
  5. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Apr 24, 2014
    70
    The film lucks out by having an intrinsically compelling story, likeable underdog protagonists, and an exotic South Pacific location.
  6. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Apr 24, 2014
    70
    With its grasp of suspense and character, it hits the mark as a portrait of openhearted determination that's devoid of desperation.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Apr 24, 2014
    60
    Next Goal Wins could stand to go deeper into game strategy, or local customs and living conditions, or any number of personal stories, but the victories it does achieve are enormously satisfying.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 17, 2015
    9
    A truly brillant documentary. Even I ever the ardent socceroos man, cheering rapturously at the world cup qualification and the Asian CupA truly brillant documentary. Even I ever the ardent socceroos man, cheering rapturously at the world cup qualification and the Asian Cup victory felt a large twang of guilt watching the soul destroying highlights of the 31-0 belting. We always pride ourselves on our heroic, against the odds underdog status, but seeing Archie Thompson belt in the goals has gripped me with this illusion.
    A tenacious Dutch football coach, a shambles of an organisation as well as an assembly of some truly outstanding human beings-spiritual, dedicated and utterly passionate about the game are the ingredients used for Scorsese to weave his magic. The most compelling football documentary this critic has ever seen and a mesmerising examination of American Samoan culture.
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