Reel stories

Sports Film of the Week: The Opposition

A recent edition in ESPN’s ’30 for 30′, it tells an incredible story of the 1973 Chilean team and a World Cup qualifier against no opposition.

The Opposition main pic The Chilean team of 1973.

Title: The Opposition

Premise: Backed by the US, a coup d’etat sees dictator Augusto Pinochet take control of Chile in 1973 before turning the national stadium in capital Santiago into a concentration camp for political opponents – many of whom were executed there.

Two months on, Chile were drawn against the communist Soviet Union in a two-legged play-off for the 1974 World Cup, which was due to be played at that very ground. The Soviet team asked for a change of venue on moral grounds and, after a 0-0 draw in the Moscow, they boycotted the second leg due to FIFA’s decision to deny their request after an inspection.

With no opponent in sight, Chile kicked off and played a couple of passes around among themselves before sticking the ball in the net. The ‘match’ went down as a 1-0 win and they qualified for the finals in West Germany.

Directed by Ezra Edelman, the story is told by a number of players from that Chile team.

gordyt32 / YouTube

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