Five Latin American Football Films You Should Watch

By 19 December, 2022
Figure 1 Latin American films have captured the passion and drama of football perfectly
Figure 1 Latin American films have captured the passion and drama of football perfectly

The FIFA World Cup is currently taking place in Qatar and there are, as usual, a number of Latin American nations competing for what is international football’s most prestigious prize.

Online sportsbooks such as BetOnline offer markets on all the games and teams but we thought you might also like to keep the sports vibe going throughout the length of the tournament and check out some films and documentaries concentrating on Latin American soccer.

Here are five movies we recommend for the hours between World Cup matches.

Pelé (2021)

Edson Arantos do Nascimento has long been considered to be one the greatest footballers that ever lived. Better known as Pelé, there have been plenty of television and film documentaries made about the great man. But Netflix weighed in with its own last year and it offers an impressive insight into the life of a legend.

There is some great archive footage of his playing career and the film covers his entire career, from his time in Brazil up to his final club, the New York Cosmos. This documentary also touches on the politics of Pelé’s home country and how he found it difficult criticising previous regimes as a global superstar footballer.

The Two Escobars (2010)

Even non-football fans have heard of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug lord who ruled the illegal trade in the late 1980s and 90s. He also kicked off the fashion for drug barons to pour money into Colombian football clubs – nicknamed narco-soccer.

But there was another Escobar, Andrés, the Colombian footballer who scored an own goal at the 1994 World Cup and was later tragically murdered. This documentary follows the links between the two men and attempts to investigate the truth behind a senseless killing.

One: The Story of a Goal (2010)

In 1982, El Salvador was experiencing a brutal civil war. But the national football team overcame the odds to qualify for the World Cup in Spain. It was only the second time the country had ever made the finals and the players attempted to unite a broken country and raise hope back home.

For various reasons, not everything went to plan – and this documentary follows the story of an unfancied team at a World Cup who ended up losing their first game a record 10-1. That game did bring about El Salvador’s first ever finals goal though – and this David and Goliath story captures the moment perfectly.

Figure 2 El Salvador's qualification for World Cup 1982 is an intense story in itself
Figure 2 El Salvador’s qualification for World Cup 1982 is an intense story in itself

Rudo y Cursi (2008)

Still one of the highest grossing Mexican movies of all time – and definitely one of the most popular – Rudo y Cursi tells the story of two brothers working on a banana ranch who have dreams of fame and glory. One of the brothers has aspirations of becoming a football star, while the other hopes to become a famous singer.

Mexican movie legends Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna star as the brothers who set out for Mexico City and end up playing for rival teams. We won’t give away the ending but this is a hugely enjoyable comedy that features some great music alongside the actors clearly enjoying themselves.

Goals for Girls (2014)

Coming with the tagline, a story of women with balls, this documentary follows a group of women from the Villa 31 shanty town in Buenos Aires as they form a football team with the dream of competing at the Homeless World Cup held in neighbouring Brazil.

Part football documentary, this is also a movie about women overcoming sexism, misogyny and poverty as they attempt to break free of what is expected of them. It is also a comment on how women’s football as a whole is marginalised in Argentina and captures the story perfectly.

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