Film Review: King Otto

The Greek team lift the trophy

On even years (usually), the normally boring summer period for football fans is enlivened by the prospect of an international competition. Whilst it’s no World Cup, the EUROs (or European Football Championships) tend to produce the bigger shocks and on more than one occasion we’ve seen a winner that could not have been predicted. This was the case with Denmark in 1992 but the biggest shock came 12 years later.

The Greek national team were a mess when German coach Otto Rehhagel took charge. It was a surprise appointment, given he didn’t speak Greek or live in Greece, but after an inauspicious start the team did finally qualify for EURO 2004. However, they were 100/1 rank outsiders to win. Despite the odds stacked against them they managed to confound all expectations. Although they were criticised for their rather straightforward and robust style of play, they went on to become champions of Europe. Their story is told in King Otto.

King Otto is a lively and upbeat portrait of an unusual man and his mercurial ways. Christopher André Marks’ film mixes contemporary interviews with Rehhagel, coaching staff, the former Greek FA president and players with archive footage to take the viewer on an incredible journey. Whilst there’s nothing especially unusual with the way King Otto is put together, it’s very well done and guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

King Otto is released on DVD and digital on 5 July.

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