Friday, 14 August 2020
The Philosophers' Football Match
Above is the Monty Python sketch The Philosophers' Football Match, featuring teams from Greece and Germany. The sketch was originally part of two shows Monty Python made for German television in 1972 – Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus – and was also included in the film Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.
You will notice in the sketch that Socrates scores the winning goal for the Greek philosophers. This is deeply ironic (and prophetic) since 10 years later, Sócrates – or Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, to give him his full name – was captain and one of the star players of the Brazilian national team in the World Cup finals held in Spain; a team which, as well as Sócrates, included Zico, Falcao, Junior, Eder, Leandro and Cerezzo, and is regarded as the most thrilling and aesthetically satisfying footballing side of all time – even more so than the Brazil team that won the World Cup in Mexico in 1970. The 1982 Brazil side did not win that year's World Cup, getting knocked out by the eventual winners Italy 3-2, in one of the greatest upsets (and disappointments) in football.
As a player, Sócrates was renowned for his grace and guile, while off the field he is regarded as the most intelligent Brazilian ever to put on the famous yellow shirt, with doctorates in medicine and, of course, philosophy. Below is the magnificent goal he scored against the USSR in the group stages of the 1982 World Cup.