Finished The Beautiful Game? Disney+ has another feel-good football movie

A brace of football movies that will warm your heart

The Beautiful Game
(Image credit: Netflix)

We're actually not that far away from a summer of international football, and audiences are clearly also getting excited. The Beautiful Game, the new Netflix original movie about the Homeless World Cup is (at the time of writing) the second most popular film on the platform. But if you want another feel-good football comedy, then it's only half-time. 

That's because another of the best streaming services, Disney+ has recently added Next Goal Wins, another football film about underdogs. Directed by Taika Waititi, this film is also based on a true story - the story of the worst team in international football (no, not England at a big tournament)

On the back of the nation's 31-0 loss to Australia, Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) is appointed head coach of American Samoa. Struggling professionally, Rongen isn't exactly expected to achieve much. It's designed as a kind of football exile for Rongen and his choice is simple, take the hardest job imaginable or be fired. The film also features the story of Jaiyah Saelua (played ably by Kaimana) who became the first transgender player in the history of the World Cup qualifiers.

Of course, as is the way with films like this, Rongen's methods involve him coaching his players both on and off the pitch as he also adjusts to life far from home. It's laced however with Waititi's trademark deadpan humour. If you appreciate the tone of the likes of What We Do in the Shadows and Thor: Ragnarok you'll be at home here.

If you check the Rotten Tomatoes scores of both films, there's an interesting comparison between Next Goal Wins and The Beautiful Game. Netflix's film boasts a much higher critics score (87% to 45%) but audiences clearly love the American Samoa story as it boasts an impressive 84% audience score (compared to The Beautiful Game's 72%). There's nothing wrong with being a crowdpleaser and as an underdog story with a whole lot of heart, it's hard not to enjoy Next Goal Wins

If you want to make it a hattrick of football fun, why not hunt down the original Next Goal Wins documentary? It has a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.