Friday, April 22, 2005

The Forgotten Victory

On June 29, 1950, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the greatest upset in World Cup history occurred. An England team considered possibly the best in the world lost 1-0 to a collection of unknown part-timers representing that vast footballing backwater, the United States of America.

News of this shocking result would stun most of the world, with the exception of the USA. Most Americans remain unaware to this day of the greatest upset ever by an American national team. Hopefully that is about to change.

A new film by the makers of Hoosiers and Rudy, The Game of Their Lives, debuts today in selected cities. The film, based on Geoffrey Douglas' book of the same name, tells the story of the 1950 USA-England game. In addition, it talks about the US players and their background growing up in places like St. Louis and Philadelphia. Contrary to what is often alleged, these were not foreign "ringers", but ordinary, hardworking men who played the game because they loved it. The most they ever got paid was $25.00 and a free turkey at Christmastime for winning the local St. Louis league.

A film telling the story of the 1950 US team is long overdue. So far, reviews are mixed. Still, if you enjoy sports movies and the film is playing near you, consider checking it out.


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