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2006 FIFA World Cup Film

Every four years, a potentially unforgettable summer comes along, providing us with foreign surnames to fluff, exciting and exotic cultures to absorb, and most of all - brilliant, once in a lifetime matches that will go down in history.

The World Cup is the globe's shining sporting event; blending the 'I'd like to teach the world to sing' aspects of the Olympics with the sheer ferociousness of one-on-one, country-on-country battle for pitch supremacy.

I was nowhere near the action during this event, but I have fond memories of the moments I did get to see: the shambolic Portugal-Holland kick up, Zidane's penalty kick, Australia's emergence, Ghana's good natured team play and skill, Grosso's celebration, and Team USA's defiant performance against Italy.

So when I saw 'The 2006 FIFA World Cup Film: The Grand Finale' with a picture of Cannavaro standing atop the Azzuri on sturdy little legs on the cover of the dvd, I knew this was something I needed to watch - possibly over, and over again until 2010. I made my purchase, and made a beeline for the television with hopes of reliving that wonderful summer.

I now understand why people say 'you can never go home again'.

The DVD isn't bad, but it is quite an odd, and at times fumbling, documentary narrated by the man who epitomises everything we've come to associate with football. Yes, the one, the only Pierce Brosnan!? I wish I were joking, but the former James Bond is indeed the voice of 'The FIFA... World Cup Film' as it's irritatingly referred to throughout the dvd.

The documentary gets to the action almost immediately, but for the lack of preamble, they could have included some of the earlier matches, or longer clips from some of the better games. None of the opening ceremonies were shown, and only a few opening matches were highlighted. Where was Serbia and Montenegro? The former powerhouse known as the Czech Republic? Heck, even the amazing run from Australia, and the demise of 2002 champions Brazil was downplayed to make way for a very long and tiring round up of England's poor display in the tournament, complete with slo-mo screams and dramatic musical accompaniment.

The same goes for Portugal's loss in the semi-finals to France, which featured a lot of close-ups of midfield beauty Cristiano Ronaldo's face, but little attention was paid to his feet, which I know were far more interesting and expressive. The final was fairly well done, though it was a bit rough, as if the editors were just fed up with sifting through video by that time, and willing to just leave in any dull bits of play.

Very little of the home country's culture, and most of the fan reactions were ignored altogether. However, the documentary's producers did somehow find time to include bits of Shakira's performance of 'Hips Don't Lie' and include that before the final segment.

One of the few highlights from the dvd is the round up of the Portugal-Holland match, which featured no narration whatsoever, just a 'ding!' sound whenever one of the 16 yellow cards or a double 'ding!' when one of the 4 red cards was produced.

It was genuinely very funny, just as it was watching it in real time, and made a bit better with timely cutaways of the managers' reactions to the 'play' on the pitch. Anything else unrelated to the skill of the players themselves was a bit distracting. I would have happily just paid for raw footage of all of the matches, rather than this.

Overall, the dvd isn't terrible, but it's odd in that it appears to have been made by people who don't like football or don't watch it. The documentary runs 112 minutes, just 22 minutes longer than an actual match. The cover of the dvd says it is 'loaded with exclusive interviews with key FIFA World Cup players'. Although anyone who has heard the average footballer speak, especially about a dull match, knows they're in for a yawn-fest. I suggest skipping those altogether, unless you really want to hear what Hidetoshi Nakata thinks about German people.

Only football fans of the most obsessed calibre would be bothered to plunk down any amount of money for this ($9.99), and I do believe you get your money's worth. The menu screens and overall dvd composition is put together very professionally. Plus, if you're like me and just want to see some little moments you missed (like England's Owen Hargreaves heading a ball onto the ground to gain control, beating a couple of defenders and then- THEN- dummying Cristiano Ronaldo to make a brilliant pass to John Terry), then I recommend 'The 2006 FIFA World Cup Film: The Grand Finale'.

You can only deny your desire for quality, exotic, incredibly fast paced international football for so long. Bring on 2010!


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