World Cup competition kicks off in South Africa today as the host nation takes on Mexico and France battles Uruguay. Meanwhile in the heart of New York City, the MTV Movies Team faces off against decades worth of cinematic offerings in a simple quest: to locate — and celebrate! — our favorite fictional soccer players and coaches of all-time. As the Cup begins, here are our picks for the movie ballers we want on our team.
Amanda Bynes in "She's the Man"
Here's the thing about this movie: it's actually not terrible. Shift aside those ham-handed allusions to Shakespearean drama and the rather grating presence of Channing Tatum as soccer badass Duke Orsino, and what you've got is Bynes at her goofball best. She's a wiz with physical comedy and her character is perhaps the only third wave feminist ever to take the pitch on-screen. Plus we'd pick her for our World Cup squad 'cause the girl's got game!
Keira Knightley in "Bend It Like Beckham"
The obvious choice here is the Beckham-worshipping Jess (Parminder Nagra), but we're going with Knightley's Jules. Why? She can dribble and juke with the best of 'em...and she's freakin' Keira Knightley. This is the role that introduced the Brit actor to the world, and she went on to become a superstar when the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise launched in 2003.
Sylvester Stallone in "Victory"
Sly ain't just a one sport guy. In this 1981 flick, Stallone plays an American prisoner of war who joins a makeshift Allied soccer team that fights against the Third Reich on the pitch rather than the battlefield. Who cares that he starts off tackling dudes on the field, mistaking European football for the American version? That's the sort of toughness we want on our squad.
Zhao Wei in "Shaolin Soccer"
Check out this clip and you'll know why we need this girl tending goal for our all-stars. This lonesome Tai Chi aficionado has no problem transferring her skills to the soccer field. Good thing she can, because when some jerk on Team Evil summons up a Black Smoke-like storm that turns the ball into a flaming orb, she blocks the shot by, well, we have no idea how she does it, only that suddenly the ball is no longer on fire and the crowd's going wild. Listen, we didn't say the movie makes any sense, just that she's our goalkeeper of choice.
Rodney Dangerfield in "Ladybugs"
He's immoral, he's crass, he can't get no respect. He's also our pick for the greatest soccer coach in movie history. It's a close one. There's both Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall in "Kicking and Screaming," there's Duvall again in "A Shot at Glory," and Michael Caine in the aforementioned "Victory." But in "Ladybugs," Dangerfield's peculiar combo of ambition, self-doubt and cheeseball one-liners make him the perfect fit for our cinematic dream team.