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France 98, World Cup Quarter final between England and Argentina. Who would have thought a football game could hijack a nation in the way that this game did; the live ITV broadcast was watched by 27 million people! Ever since the Falklands conflict and the 1986 World Cup finals with the infamous Maradonna ‘Hand of God’ goal, clashes between these two footballing nations have assumed epic proportions - and this was a big one with a place in the World Cup semi-final at stake. On a Saturday night in July, this game single-handedly galvanised and united millions throughout the country in pubs and in homes and had such a strong effect on the populace at large it launched a couple of documentaries exploring the emotions that it brought boiling to the surface.
This is a Granada TV documentary made for ITV attempting to recreate the night by focusing on the experiences of those who witnessed it, either at the game or watching it on TV in England and Argentina. It differs from its BBC counterpart (“Passion, Pride and Penalties”) in this regard because it has less of an emphasis on the game itself and centres more on the experiences of those watching it. There’s the Anglican Bishop who during a service stopped to announce that England had scored, instigating a huge congregational cheer; the Lancashire Constabulary on duty during the game trying to find somewhere to watch it; a heavily pregnant lady whose waters broke when England scored; the spokesman for the Electricity Board explaining how during the game electricity consumption throughout England dropped to an all time low but spiked off its face during half time (when all the kettles went on!). Then there are the fans at the ground with their own home-movie footage of the game and of the crowd itself and many accounts of their personal experiences.
All this is set among actual action from the game and interviews with players, coaches and other luminaries including Gary Neville, Glen Hoddle, Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan, John Barnes, Sol Campbell, Darren Anderton, Brian Moore, David Batty, the Danish referee Kim Milton Neilson, Diego Simeone, Carlos Roa, Trevor MacDonald and both the British and Argentine Sports Ministers.
Apologies for the fact that the ads are still in, an oversight on my part.
Aired on ITV on Wed 2nd December 1998 (or somewhere around then as far as I can tell), only shortly before its BBC counterpart.
--- File Information ---
File Name: When England Played Argentina.avi
Duration (hh:mm:ss): 58:09.600
File Size (in bytes): 665,645,148
--- Video Information ---
Video Codec Name: XviD 1.1.0 Final
Video Bitrate (kbps): 263
frame Width (pixels): 512
frame Height (pixels): 384
frames Per Second: 25.000
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