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A fascinating book that covers both football and the politics of the underdogs and their World Cup qualification fates. I really enjoyed it.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Yes. It's a wonderful journey that tells stories of people most would never otherwise know. The narrative is a glimpse into these lesser footballing nations and why they are that way. Great for Americans, Europeans (and anyone else), football lovers, and non-sports fans. It is an indirect observation of each nation and cultures through the lens of football.
What other book might you compare Thirty-One Nil to and why?
Thirty-One Nil has many similarities to Fleming's James Bond novels; both dive into cultures of which the average reader is not familiar. Whether it be espionage or football, there is some bigger, more impossible obstacle awaiting the next page turn.
How could the performance have been better?
The narrator -while a beautiful British accent, including both French and Spanish accents when needed- seemed to have zero clue as to how to pronounce very basic names.
(E.g. Spain's Iker Casillas is pronounced -using elementary Spanish knowledge- "Ee-cair Cah-see-us" as opposed to his interpretation of "Eye-cair Cah-sill-us" which is cringe-worthy even to an American. He immediately followed up by interpreting Casillas' team Real Madrid not as its proper "Rey-Al Madrid" but "Real" as if there were a Fake Madrid team somewhere.)
This happened so frequently (at least five separate times in the prologue alone) that I sadly have to assume every name is mispronounced. It's too bad, and a very poor job by all those involved in the production because this is an otherwise wonderful storytelling.
Was Thirty-One Nil worth the listening time?
Yes. Despite the pronunciation issues, it is an amazing story and great narration.
Any additional comments?
Know the pronunciation is frustrating going into it, and be willing to accept it. If you do, you will be rewarded with a great story.