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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
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T. Newton (Leeds) - See all my reviews
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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 Splendid, the dreams of you playing in the FA Cup Final reflected on the international stage, 17 July 2014
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This review is from: Thirty-One Nil: The Amazing Story of World Cup Qualification (Paperback)
"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 explain....football 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - a must read for anyone with an interest in the world we live in, 27 May 2014
This review is from: Thirty-One Nil: The Amazing Story of World Cup Qualification (Paperback)
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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Thirty-One Nil: The Amazing Story of World Cup Qualification
Thirty-One Nil: The Amazing Story of World Cup Qualification by James Montague (Paperback - 22 May 2014)
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