Twitter Plot Summary: Santiago Munez is relegated to third tier status in this absolutely horrendous football film.
If you, like me, have seen the first two entries in the Goal series, my first thought is to offer my congratulations for sitting through some really rather terrible football films. You must be made of seriously harder stuff to endure not only Santiago Munez’s less than engaging personal life, but the fact he was benched for this third entry and reduced to what is little more than a guest starring role. If you made it through all three films without stopping halfway through or dry-wretching because of the cliché emotional moments and terrible stories, then you have my everlasting respect.
The missteps in Goal 3 are plenty and numerous. The most notable of these is that reduction of Kuno Becker’s role as Santiago. At the end of Goal 2 we were left with a hanging plot thread where his Geordie girlfriend Rob (Anna Friel) was pregnant while he went off in search of fame and glory. Picking up sometime later, Goal 3 gives Santiago a full head of hair and third fiddle status to two England international stars, played by JJ Feild and Leo Gregory. Ironically, the entire film could have been much more interesting had they simply changed their character names to Santiago and Gavin (Santiago’s best mate from the first two films, played by Alessandro Nivola). It would have been a far more satisfying end to the series had it been these characters that were given centre stage. Feild’s storyline revolving around a daughter he didn’t know he had would have been perfect for Santiago following the conclusion of the second film. Instead he gets one meaningful scene and a broken arm for his troubles.
Then there are slightly more minor issues, such as the recurring appearance of a bunch of Newcastle United football fans. While I have nothing against Newcastle or its football fans (I visit the city and its sports bars on a regular basis), their inclusion here – alongside a Mike Ashley cameo – add nothing to proceedings. More so when they turn up at a funeral in the final third of the film. Why are they there? Because the script demanded it, that’s all. It’s a jumble of bad ideas linked by equally bad green-screened footballers being digitally inserted into real Euro 2006 footage, or by footballers trying to break into acting by appearing in a low budget European horror film, one where all of the performers are literally bursting at the seams in their revealing outfits.
So we end up with what amounts to a huge number of missed chances, much like the England team’s track record in penalty shoot-outs. The previous two films weren’t exactly pinnacles of cinema, but they did a far better job of it than this. Had they not tied it into the same world as the previous films then it might have been moderately tolerable. Instead it’s like watching a despondent goalkeeper who, after keeping a clean sheet for the entire game, makes a mistake in the final minute that gifts the opposite team a goal and then has to pluck the ball from his own net. In other words, it’s likely to be either a source of much amusement or a source of much heartbreak depending on which team you support.