The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in less than three weeks when the host country Brazil faces Croatia on Thursday, June 12, in the first game of the month-long tournament. While it’s hard to match the excitement of seeing a live game with the best players in the world competing against one another for their respective countries, there are some great movies that have been made about “the beautiful game” that can be nearly as thrilling. Just like the thirty-two teams featured in this year’s World Cup use a variety of playing styles, the many films about soccer — or football as it is more commonly referred to around the world — encompass a wide variety of genres, from comedy and tragedy, to documentary and fantasy. With that in mind, here are seven great soccer-themed movies in no particular order that fans can enjoy as they wait for the World Cup to start next month.
7. Pelada (2010)
When it comes to inspiring films about the world’s most popular sport, it’s hard to top Pelada. This documentary film follows Luke Boughen and Gwendolyn Oxenham, two talented American college soccer players, as they travel around the world and play pick-up games with other amateurs who play simply for the love of the game. As noted on the official Pelada movie website, “From prisoners in Bolivia to moonshine brewers in Kenya, from freestylers in China to women who play in hijab in Iran, Pelada is the story of the people who play.” Although Pelada was a small-budget film with a limited release; it has proven popular with audiences and currently has an 86 percent approval rating from viewers at Rotten Tomatoes.