The 3-5-3 system
isn't working
for them.
Eamon Dunphy

 That goal should settle Irish nerves. Oh, danger here.....

Hollywood Exclusive
Steven Segal Signs Up to Star in Sequel to Legendary Footie Movie Escape to Victory 
Escape to Victory: The Replay

Hollywood is buzzing this week with the shock news that a major new sequel to legendary 1981 World War II POW soccer movie Escape to Victory has been greenlighted by top director Alan Smithee. 

Details remain sketchy, but many of the original cast have already committed themselves to returning in the new film, which will be titled Escape to Victory 2: The Replay. 

British sextuagenarian superstar Michael Caine is known to be on board to reprise his famous role as pre-war West Ham full-back Captain John Colby.

Also returning will be Pele as Luis Fernandez, Ossie Ardiles as Carlos Rey. Experienced actor and Arsenal skipper Tony Adams is expected to take on the role of the late Bobby Moore as defender Terry Brady.

Segal replaces Stallone

But the most sensational news of all is that one-time A-list star Sylvester Stallone will not be returning to play American substitute "goaltender" Robert Hatch. In the original Escape to Victory, Stallone appeared hot on the heels of his box office success as Rocky Balboa. His presence in the film was (wrongly) expected to bring it a mainstream audience in the United States.

Having failed to secure Stallone for the sequel, director Smithee instead turned to a succession of younger, more athletic Hollywood action heroes. After a secret bidding war involving the likes of Jean-Claude van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, Steven Segal was finally signed up to play downed USAF pilot Captain Chuck McCloud. 


Stallone: Like a yak trapped in quicksand

Escape to Victory, directed by John Huston and released in 1981, told the tale of a bunch of World War II Allied POWs challenged by the Nazis to a game of football for propaganda purposes. The team is authorised by their respective commanding officers to play along with the Nazi ruse when it emerges that the French Resistance may be able to use the match, to be held in Paris, to effect their escape "to victory".

Cocky escape specialist Richard Hatch (Stallone) insists on joining the team even though he doesn't know one end of a football from the other. He's put in goal and put through his paces by John Colby (Caine), who reluctantly admits that the American shows some promise. How he comes to this conclusion is anyone's guess, because Stallone in goal displays all the grace and agility of an overweight yak trapped in quicksand. Nevertheless, Stallone is made reserve keeper for the Allies. This proves to be a fortuitous move by the Allied team's mamagement, as Stallone will later play a key role in the triumph of the Allied team.

Escape to Victory is a footie favourite all around the world.


HT Allies 1 - 4 Nazis

Finally the day arrives when they line up in Paris opposite the perfidious Nazi First XI. Not surprisingly, Fritz plays dirty, and the capacity French crowd gasps as foul after vicious foul cuts down Allied players, invariably unpunished by the Nazi-sympathising referee. Although Carlos Rey (Ardiles) and Luis Fernandez (Pele) impress with their silky skills, they suffer most punishment in this Nazi onslaught. Pele ends up with broken ribs, but manfully opts to play on. If only there had been more like him during the disastrous 1940 defence of France.

The teams leave the field at half-time with the Nazis leading 4-1. It seems as though there is little hope for the Allies. The French Resistance have tunnelled into the dressing room and offer the lads the chance to escape (to "defeat", as it were) before the second half starts. However, the lads opt to go back out and stick it to the Nazis in the second 45 minutes.

FT Allies 4 - 4 Nazis

This they do with aplomb, completely dominating the rest of the match. They pull it back to 4-4, and Stallone even saves a penalty, depriving the Nazis of a last-minute triumph. The overjoyed crowd - notable for their late-1970's haircuts and bellbottomed jeans -  storm the pitch, and in the ensuing confusion the Allied team escape to "a draw". 

However, despite having failed to defeat the Hun, their exploits inspire the armies of the Free and Communist Worlds to redouble their efforts to thwart the Fascist Germans, Italians and Japanese, culminating in 1945 in the "victory" presumably referred to in the title of the film.

The new movie may be set in North Vietnam

Sequel to be set in Berlin 1945?

Rumours abound about the exact plot of the forthcoming movie. One source has suggested that the titular replay will take place in the Olympic Stadium in the dying days of the war. As the Soviets close in on the Reichsdag, Michael Caine and the rest of the team parachute into Berlin to take on the Nazis to settle the tie once and for all. Months previously, Churchill had rejected Hitler's plea that the Nazi team had won the original match on the away goals rule because it had been played in Paris, capital of a nominally Allied country. Hitler is finally driven to suicide when Caine's lads win the replay 5-1.

Or North Vietnam?

Another source maintains that the new movie will be set in Hanoi during the Vietnam War. Segal will play a USAF SWAT team captain who parachutes in behind North Vietnamese lines on a sabotage mission. He's captured and ends up in a POW camp populated by the cast of Escape to Victory, now all 25 years older. Also in the camp are Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne as British Corporal Reg "Blinky" Abrams and and Stuart "Pizza" Pearce as Sgt Mick "Cookie" Hesting. It emerges that towards the end of World War II, scarce resources obliged the Wehrmacht to offload thousands of Allied POWs. A band of rebel North Vietnamese agreed to take Caine's footie team, who had been recaptured in the streets of Paris shortly after the chaotic end of the 4-4 draw, for a fee of 37,000 Reichsmarks. 

It turns out that the entire Nazi First XI from Escape to Victory is now working as mercenaries for the North Vietnamese, along with several others such as Rudi Voller as Oberleutnant Ernst Schnitter and Jurgen Klinsmann as Kapitan Hans-Pieter Kampkotter. When the Nazis are posted to the POW camp, it doesn't take long for a rematch to be arranged. Caine, in deference to his advancing years, stays on the subs bench this time, allowing Segal to take his place as the rock in the Allied defence. It all comes down to the last kick of the game, when Segal calmly side-foots a penalty kick past the Nazi keeper to win the replay 5-4.