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Under Review

April 18, 2005
April 18, 2005

Table of Contents
April 18, 2005

SI Adventure
Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players
THE MASTERS
BASEBALL
Baseball
Pro Basketball
Boxing
Inside
Inside Horse Racing
Inside Baseball
Inside The NBA
Inside College Football
LIFE OF REILLY
Departments

Under Review

In 1950, when the U.S. soccer team traveled to Brazil to compete in the World Cup, local bookies didn't bother to set odds on its chances of defeating England in their first-round game. The Americans were a grab bag of soccer-crazy working-class World War II vets from St. Louis's Italian neighborhood and a few East Coast players led by Walter Bahr, whose sons, Matt and Chris, later kicked in the NFL. But the team pulled off a monumental upset when Haitian immigrant Joe Gaetjens, a 26-year-old dishwasher whom the coach didn't much want on the team, deflected a shot from Bahr into the net for a 1-0 victory. The Game of Their Lives (which opens on April 22) gets off to a hesitant start--the aggressively "period" sets threaten to draw attention from the story; the music is predictably sentimental--but once the characters emerge and the team travels to Brazil, those distractions fall away. The veteran sports-movie team of screenwriter Angelo Pizzo and director David Anspaugh (Hoosiers, Rudy) knows how to deftly use narration (by Patrick Stewart, as a St. Louis reporter who covered soccer) to interweave personal dramas (such as the ethnic tension simmering at the bottom of America's melting pot) and smartly choreographed on-field action. --Nancy Ramsey

This is an article from the April 18, 2005 issue Original Layout