Two Billion Hearts: The 1994 World Cup Film

During the World Cup in 2014, the BBC aired every official FIFA World Cup film from 1954 to 2010. I’d only ever seen footage from 1982, 1986, and 1990 but my favourite of the series was the 1994 film, Two Billion Hearts.

After the borefest of Italia 90 (unless you were an England fan), FIFA elected the USA to host the 1994 World Cup for the first time. It was a peculiar choice as the USA didn’t have a national men’s league at the time (in contrast, the women’s national team were years ahead and had a World Cup title to their name, won in 1991). However, the tournament was a success and produced plenty of goals, entertainment, and shocks along the way.

Taken from the Amazon description:

This film offers a unique view of the razzmatazz of the first ever FIFA World Cup to be staged in the US and provided a final decided via the most heart-breaking way of all.

I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s a very 90s American film but that doesn’t dilute any of the football on offer. In fact, it was just what the sport needed after years of sterility and poor discipline.

Who could forget:

  • Roberto Baggio’s penalty miss in the final
  • Nigeria’s run to the Round of 16, minutes away from the quarter-final
  • Saeed Al-Owairan’s famous goal for Saudi Arabia against Belgium
  • Oleg Salenko’s 5-goal salvo for Russia against Cameroon
  • Diego Maradona’s drug-induced celebration and subsequent expulsion from the competition
  • Michel Preud’homme’s magnificent performances in goal
  • Bulgaria and Sweden in the semi-finals

I’d definitely recommend making some time to watch it while you’re self-isolating. The good news is you can stream Two Billion Hearts on FIFA Plus official website and relive those moments and plenty more. The unfortunate news is you have to register (but it’s free!)

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