The Game of Their Lives is more than a football film. It is a tale of struggle and success, the beauty of sport crossing cultural barriers. It is the story of how an unfancied team from a Communist country arrives in England at the height of the Cold War and is not only adopted by the local townspeople of Middlesbrough but also ends up winning the hearts of the whole country.
“A touching story…”
- The Times
“A gem of a documentary…”
- The Sunday Times
“An amazing film…”
- The Guardian
“The greatest story never told”
- Ron Gluckman, Asian Wall Street Journal
The North Korean team of 1966, a thousand to one outsiders, performed miracles at the 8th World Cup in England. On arrival in London, they were labelled the enigma, foreign in every aspect of their make-up. For a brief period they would become the darlings of the nation, their exploits the stuff of legend. Yet once their adventure was over, the plane taking them home might as well have been flying them to the moon. Today, almost as little is known of the players and their country as was the case in 1966.
Having created the greatest shock in world cup history by sensationally knocking out one of the tournament favourites, Italy, North Korea became the first Asian team to make it to the quarter finals. On their return to Genoa the Italians, some of the finest and wealthiest footballers on the planet, were pelted with rotten tomatoes.
The Koreans were 3-0 up in their quarter final match against Portugal before the magical Eusebio intervened and won the game for the Portuguese 5-3. For years, rumours have persisted particularly in South Korea that North Korea’s World Cup heroes had been sent to labour camps on their return from England and remain in dishonour. Until now, no-one has been given permission to enter North Korea to interview the players about their experiences at the 8th World Cup.