I should mention I’m talking about the Women’s World Cup of Soccer (not Quidditch, or anything like that), in case you missed the action. I don’t even like soccer, but that was one of the greatest games I’ve ever witnessed in any sport. A story you could not script.
Or could you?
I actually think we’ve seen this once before, circa 1994, in a little production entitled D2: The Mighty Ducks.
For those of you who haven’t seen this tribute to cinema, D2 tells the story of the U.S. hockey team at the Junior Goodwill Games.
Coached by Gordon Bombay, the American squad is heavily favored over such foes as Trinidad and Tobago and Italy, but runs up against a buzzsaw in perennial powerhouse Iceland.
After losing by 11 (seriously) in their first matchup against the Icelanders, the Americans scrape and claw their way back into contention against the likes of Sri Lanka and Timbuktu or something (I don’t know, I just made that up). Regardless of who they surmount, they make it all the way to the championship where they square off against Iceland (pronounced “eez-lind,” by the natives in the film) and conquer the mountain that is their arch-enemy.
While the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team didn’t win any championships with their epic victory over Brazil, there are some very distinct comparisons to the Ducks’ squad that took home the Goodwill Games crown. Let’s take a look, shall we:
Obvious comparison No. 1: Brazil is Iceland
No doubt about this one. Brazil is a world power in the soccer game, just as Iceland was on the junior international hockey circuit. The U.S. can only hope to compete with either of these global players.
Obvious comparison No. 2: Marta is Gunnar Stahl
The best player on the other team, Marta did it all for Brazil just like Stahl did for Iceland. Down the stretch, though, Marta was nowhere to be found. Stahl can relate, as evidenced by this scene:
Obvious comparison No. 3: Hope Solo is Julie “The Cat” Gaffney
Gaffney snagged Iceland’s final shootout attempt off the stick of Gunnar Stahl to win the game and the title for the United States.
Solo, meanwhile, made a diving save on a shootout kick from Brazil’s Daiane, which was the deciding factor in the World Cup victory.
Obvious comparison No. 4: Pia Sundhage is Gordon Bombay
Sentenced to community service after a drunk driving arrest, Bombay only got into coaching hockey because of a court order. Sundhage can say the same. (Kidding.)
Obvious comparison No. 5: Erika is Olalf Sanderson
Gunnar Stahl’s sidekick on Team Iceland’s roster, Sanderson was an enforcer on the ice and earned retribution for his actions in one memorable scene in which he uttered the now-infamous quote, “Two minutes…well worth it.”
Erika is the fair-haired Brazilian soccer player who took a dive late in the contest against the U.S., was removed from the field on a stretcher, then leapt miraculously back to life as soon as enough time (in her assessment) had whittled off the clock. She earned a yellow card for her deceitfulness. Well worth it…except not really. Because we won. Bitch.