31-0 loss, ‘last place in soccer’ A great turnaround for the national team

[Reporter Kim Jun-mo]

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ⓒ Walt Disney Company Korea

If one were to pick the most thrilling moment in sports, it would definitely be the underdog’s rebellion.

American Samoa is the worst soccer country in the world. A record that clearly demonstrates the skills of those who are at the bottom of the FIFA rankings is the defeat by the largest margin in history of 31 to 0 in the 2001 World Cup qualifier against Australia. The work chooses this history of humiliation as its opening, raising expectations about what kind of twist will unfold. And coach Thomas Longen, who was expelled from the United States due to poor grades and personality controversy, came as leader.

When looking only at the surface of the work, it reminds me of the Korean film

The power of a true story… The most thrilling moment in World Cup qualifying history

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ⓒ Walt Disney Company Korea

So, if you think it will be like any other underdog movie, you are mistaken. The work follows the underdog formula and shows the unique spirit that Disney has consistently pursued as an advantage. Underdog works have one formula for writing twists and turns. It is a mental transformation of the protagonists who were engulfed in defeatism. They continue to grow based on a series of events with outstanding leaders or colleagues, and their potential explodes at a critical moment.

The representative sports drama is <Rocky>. Even if victory was not achieved, the outstanding performance and fulfillment of the goal one set for oneself are impressive enough to be given the grandiose title of human victory. Thomas sees a serious problem with players as a lack of competitiveness. The residents of this place, with its warm weather and blue sea, are languid and optimistic. The goal of giving them the mental power they lack and bringing out their passion is the same as the existing formula.

The unique strength of this work is the combination of the passion for victory represented by blood, sweat and tears, and the theme that living as oneself, which Disney pursues, is the most valuable life. A good sports drama leads to interaction rather than a change in one side’s values. It’s not just players who are experiencing change. Thomas, who only valued his own values ​​of achieving victory in fierce competition, learns from the American Samoa players that life is not a field where wins and losses are divided.

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ⓒ Walt Disney Company Korea

The key character that brings about this change can be said to be Zaiya. As the first non-binary transgender soccer player in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, this character fits well with the values ​​of diversity pursued by Disney, and plays an important role as the center of the narrative of conflict, solidarity, and growth. To the coach who wants a warrior on the field, Jaiya, who wants to be as pretty as a flower, comes across as a thorn in his eye. Because of her, Thomas looks at her as something foreign to her.

However, the players call Jaiya “fa’afafine” and regard him as a special person and the center of the team. Papapine is recognized as a unique being rather than an object of discrimination in Samoan culture and has established itself as an important member. Thomas, like the other team members, accepts Zaiya’s existence and the team bonds. Zaiya also decides to fight for Thomas, and the two develop a loving relationship like that of father and daughter.

Taika Waititi, who showed the perfect balance of laughter and emotion through

Additional post | This article is also published in Kino Lights Magazine and Reporter Kim Jun-mo’s Brunch.

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