The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-04-13
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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In the summer of 1950, a most unlikely group was assembled to represent its country in the first soccer World Cup since World War II. The Americans were outsiders to the sport, the underdogs of the event, a 500-to-1 long shot. But they were also proud and loyal men -- to one another, to their communities, and certainly to their country. Facing almost no time to prepare, opponents with superior training, and skepticism from the rest of the world, this ragtag group of unknowns was inspired to a stunning victory over England and one of the most thrilling upsets in the history of sports. Written by critically acclaimed author Geoffrey Douglas, and now a film directed by David Anspaugh ( Hoosiers ), The Game of Their Lives takes us back to a time before million-dollar contracts and commercial endorsements, and introduces us to the athletes -- the Americans -- who showed the world just how far a long shot could really go.


The Game of Their Lives
The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset

Chapter One

The playing field wasn't much to look at or to play on. There would be reports later in the British press that it was a converted bullring, but this couldn't have been so -- they have never fought bulls in Brazil. Still, the grass was parched and patchy, and far too high in spots. The ball, instead of settling, teed up unnaturally on the tufts. There were likely to be overkicks.

The stands were of brick and timber, built a generation before the war. It was said that they groaned and swayed slightly when full --it took only 30,000 to fill them, not the 50,000 or 60,000 that would be reported in the press. Even so, there wasn't an empty seat that day.

The locker rooms were cramped, foul smelling, and cobweb-filled. The English had disdained them; they'd arrived already dressed. The Americans were less fussy. They'd seen worse.

Of all of Brazil's major stadiums this one was the humblest. Only first-round matches were to be played here and only the least of those -- the mismatches and second-level games. In this case a mismatch the worst against the best ...

The Game of Their Lives
The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset
. Copyright © by Geoffrey Douglas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset by Geoffrey Douglas
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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