Part of ESPN’s 2014 World Cup coverage included eight new 30 For 30 documentaries with two feature length films and six shorter 30-minute films. All eight films have covered a range of topics including national tragedies in Ireland and England to the disappearing of the Jules Rimet Trophy, each as exciting and different as the last. Alongside the new films ESPN is re-playing older soccer themed 30 For 30’s including the award winning “The Two Escobars”, a documentary about one of the most notorious criminals of the 21st century and the famous Colombian soccer player.
Now that all the new documentaries have aired, they are shown below with my personal favorite listed first.
Here are six of the eight documentaries that you can watch here:
Mysteries of the Rimet Trophy
Mysteries of the Rimet Trophy was my favorite of the new 30for30’s and one of my favorite ESPN films I’ve ever seen. I think it not only captured the culture surrounding the coveted trophy but it also managed to convey the environment of the times with high amounts of tension due political unrest with the second World War and how much the World Cup, and the trophy, would come to mean to people during that period.
As someone with Irish ancestors this documentary was particularly interesting to me, it was educational as well as personal in the amount of support shown to the Irish National team in the 1994 World Cup and Ireland’s unexpected win against Italy.
Barbosa – The Man Who Made All of Brazil Cry
Barbosa was not a name I had heard before watching this 30for30 but it is not a name I think I’ll ever forget after seeing the Brazilian goalkeeper’s struggle following their loss to Uruguay. Going from one of the top goalkeepers in the world to pool worker, Barbosa’s life truly changed the moment he missed the goal, costing Brazil the World Cup and in many ways costing Barbosa his life.
The Opposition is powerful, in that it paints a vivid picture of what happened in Chile during the 1973 military coup and in the not very flattering picture it paints of the United States and the interference brought on by the US Government during that time. Showing the courage a couple of soccer players and their families had to stand for what they believed in instead of what was expected of them.
Maradona, often seen as a soccer genius in Argentina and to soccer fans around the world, was a man who’s passion for the game extended to his passion for life. With his almost god-like image in Argentina this film explored his personality and his amazing fetes on the pitch.
Garrincha: Crippled Angel
Mané Garrincha is often overshadowed by his world-famous teammate Pelé, but Garrincha is considered one of the most dynamic and complicated players to ever play the game. Rising above a crippling birth defect which left his legs horribly bent, he played the game and captured his audience with his incredible ball-handling skills.