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A World Cup soccer story in the tradition of 'Rudy'

April 18, 2005|Susan King

Director David Anspaugh and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo love the underdog.

They first collaborated on "Hoosiers," the acclaimed 1986 basketball drama teaming Gene Hackman as a coach with a dubious past and Dennis Hopper as a player's alcoholic father who together take a small town high school team to the Indiana state championship.

The creative team of Anspaugh and Pizzo reunited for "Rudy," a 1993 drama starring Sean Astin as student at the University of Notre Dame who refuses to let his small stature deter him from playing for the Fighting Irish.

Their latest production, "The Game of Their Lives," is another inspiring tale of an unlikely team that beats the odds and becomes champion. The film, which opens Friday, chronicles the Cinderella story of the U.S. soccer team that in 1950 scored one of the biggest upsets in sports history when it defeated the heavily favored English team to win the World Cup.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday April 19, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
World Cup winner -- A Week Ahead item in Monday's Calendar section about the upcoming film "The Game of Their Lives" said the U.S. men's soccer team won the World Cup in 1950. Uruguay won that year.

When the United States was invited to compete for a spot in the World Cup in Brazil in the spring of 1950, there was no official soccer team. So coaches and scouts descended on St. Louis, then a little-known hotbed of soccer -- teeming with players who lacked extensive professional experience but were passionate about the game. Several St. Louis players were ultimately selected for the team along with other players from the East Coast.

With 10 days to train and with funding practically nonexistent, they set off for Rio de Janeiro and sports history.

"The Game of Their Lives" stars Gerard Butler ("The Phantom of the Opera") as goalie Frank Borghi, Wes Bentley as halfback Walter Bahr, Costas Mandylor as fullback Charles "Gloves" Columbo, Louis Mandylor as forward Gino Pariana and Zachery Bryan (Tim Allen's oldest son on "Home Improvement") as halfback Harry Keough. Several players from the 1950 team also make cameos in the film.

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