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Next Goal Wins: Predictable, but shamelessly heart-warming

Released in conjunction with the World Cup, this British-made documentary from Mike Brett and Steve Jamison – about FIFA's lowest-ranked team, American Samoa (pop. 55,128) – is both predictable and shamelessly heart-warming.

In 2011, a Dutch coach, still grieving over the death of his 18-year-old daughter, is given less than a month to turn the hopeless Samoans – a group of out-of-shape amateurs with a transgender woman as their top defender – into international contenders.

For good measure, they bring their old goalie, who suffered the worst loss in international soccer history when American Samoa was shellacked by Australia 31-0 a decade before, out of retirement. Someone needs to show this to the Brazilians as a reminder that defeat can be character-building.

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Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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