Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
on October 31, 2003
Less a history of soccer than the title would suggest, this documentary on DVD is more a chronologically-minded discussion of football topics and polemics rather than pure history, and one that manages to say very little over the course of seven discs. Jarringly repetitive, it will, for instance mention a topic or event on several episodes, each time going a different level of depth into the topic, leading to a feeling of deja-vu for the viewer. I kept wishing this were done by Ken Burns. Then we'd get a feel for the personalities of the sport, something which this cold, distant HOS series fails to do, as well as good highlights, another thing HOS gives in surprisingly little amounts.
Along with an annoyingly Anglo-centric view of the game (Britain seems to be brought up one way or another in every episode, even for the most tangential of references), there is also a strange preoccupation with Indian football. India gets two whole segments in this series, over twenty minutes of airtime for a nation that isn't anywhere close to challenging anyone for anything in world football.
The extras amount to nothing but unnarrated, oftentimes confusing footage collected under a specific heading, but otherwise viewable elsewhere in the series.
Also, if a team didn't reach a major final, they aren't talked about. There is no mention of the Bulgarians at USA 94.
No mention of Steaua Bucharest's unlikely penalty shootout win over Barcelona in 86. Many other quality events like this are missing. Instead the series focuses on topics that are often boring, such as devoting an entire hour to the bureaucratic history of FIFA. Yawn.
Overall, somewhat of a disappointment. Not worth the price.