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Thirty-One Nil: On the Road With Football's Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey

Thirty-One Nil: On the Road With Football's Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey [Kindle Edition]

James Montague
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Passionate and moving and provides further evidence of the universality of football (FourFourTwo (on When Friday Comes))

Particularly recommended if you prefer your sporting non-fiction to have a dash of humour and a sprinkling of history (Observer (on When Friday Comes))

An excellent book, which is so, so much more than a book about sport or football; it is also a travelogue and a treatise on the politics of the Middle East ... one of the most fascinating sports books of 2008 (Scotland on Sunday (on When Friday Comes))

Book Description

The story of the immense struggle to qualify for the 2014 Brazilian World Cup, Thirty-One Nil roams from American Samoa to Zambia in a remarkable and insightful journey that gets under the skin of world football.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9150 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408158841
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport; 1 edition (22 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #192,821 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Rob
There can be few books which better examine the sad, scary, hopeless, hopeful, joyous world we currently live in than this. Whether you are interested in football or not, it really doesn't matter.. The passion and enthusiasm with which it is written can't be faked- and I defy anyone to read it and not want to see a little more of the world than they already have. I can think of no greater compliment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - unless you like surprises! 31 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
By now, we know who has qualified for the world cup in Brazil. In fact you may already know who has won it by the time you read my review. Don't let that put you off this book - we know the butler did it, but the devil is in the detail.

Detail is what this book provides. Not tedious, grinding detail, but highlights, insights into the smaller teams trying to qualify for the planet's best sporting competition! It's obvious that not only has the author traveled to these places, but he's got himself under their skin - and the emotion really shines through in the book.

It took me 3 days to read - and that mainly because I didn't have the time. I read it on the bus, I read it while my wife watched telly, I read it in a hotel room in Preston.. hard to put down. Great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can really recommend this book 25 Nov 2014
By Anon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really interesting, well written book. Whilst football is the underlying theme, I learned so much about the geography and the recent history of the many countries that are covered, as seen through the lens of ordinary people who share a passion for football. I can really recommend this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"99% of footballers are amateurs. Just 1% are professional. We represent this 99% of the world" Manger Tahiti,

Splendid. What these countries dream of within FIFA, playing in the final 32 in Brasil is like seeing a reflection of what it is like for you the football fan, dreaming of playing in a Cup final.

i have to say i am stunned that James Montague got so close for so long to the teams that he gives us insight into.

It is a fabulous piece, a mix of being a Biography writer, Sports Correspondent, political commentator and finally a War Correspondent.

The "Indiana Jones of soccer writing" is certainly a good quote for him.

A great read some fantastic stories and insights about how despite all the bother folk find themselves in wherever in the world they find themselves the "magic dust" of football and in particular the World Cup makes life just that little bit sweeter.

Also gives some insight as to just why Mr Blatter is quite so popular outside the normal football powers...a very interesting strategy.

Highlights include:

The brilliant writing around the detail of American Samoa first victory, and the involvement of one Jaiyah Saelua... google it.

The wee tale about two Glasgow Rangers players and their coach Dick Advocaat.

The political detail around the Egypt team and one American coaches reactions within it.

The discovery of the word Maracanazo.....not sure what new world will be invented for Brasil 1 Germany 7 now?

The part that Wiki leaks has played in world football, and that spys still like to report the score.

So read this book it is wonderful.

Quote of the book

"There is a fascination of the game which we cant gives you balance when you have no balance in your life....It was not clear if he was talking about Kosovo or himself"

Sepp Blatter
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Heroes of World Cup Soccer 28 May 2014
By DAR - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not everyone knows that the 32 teams that play in a World Cup have to qualify to get there. In fact, for three years preceding each World Cup, 200+ national teams fight it out on fields closer to home for that one coveted spot in the final tournament. It's a matter of personal and regional pride for the thousands of players, coaches, and families, many of whom struggle and sacrifice for the honor of playing for their countries. It's those forgotten footballers that James Montague chronicles here, the ones whose names never make it to the top of the leader board, but whose passion and commitment to the game speaks volumes about the human spirit. Montague travels far and wide to follow a wonderful cast of real-life heroes, capturing their highs and lows in this engaging and sometimes wrenching narrative of the World Cup qualification rounds.

At its heart, this is a book written by a man that not only loves the game, but understands why Davids still matter, even when Goliaths kick their butts. Montague is a tremendous writer. I actually had tears in my eyes reading the sections on Haiti and American Samoa. Real people, real heroes, awesome sports writing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read 22 Jun 2014
By A. Hagen - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My husband is a huge fan of soccer, politics and history. This book helped me to "catch up" a bit. And who doesn't love an "under dog" story?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting look at the other side... 3 Aug 2014
By Christopher - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a newish fan to the sport I had never thought about the long road to WC qualification. I had also never thought about the politics behind putting together teams and the constant struggles some countries go through to even field teams. This book has given me an even greater appreciation for what the sport means to so many around the globe and the sacrifices many people make with little or no real hope of ever reaching the finals.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for soccer fans. 15 Aug 2014
By Jennifer FP - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you're a casual or hardcore soccer fan, this book is an entertaining read. Often the teams that make the World Cup final get the large majority of the attention. What about all the teams that didn't make it to the World Cup final? This book follows teams from some of the smallest countries and least funded teams chasing their dream of playing in the World Cup finals. The stories range from teams that are happy to just score a goal, teams battered by years of ethnic warfare, and teams whose dreams are dashed by greed. The stories are fascinating and gives new insight into the world's largest sporting event.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book For Soccer Fans! 12 Sep 2014
By sillybilly312 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A joy for soccer fans! We read quite a bit about the superpowers of the game, Brazil, Germany, Argentina et al. How about taking a look at American Samoa, Palestine and Bermuda (and others of that ilk)? A different look at the game but, shows the passion for the game amongst even the smallest of nations.
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