The World Eleven is a film about eleven children from very different corners of the earth. They are a dreamteam in two senses. They will never play together as we see them, and yet they still dream of the same stars. What the dreamteam players share is a love of football, the central role it plays in their lives and the hopes they associate with the sport.
The film introduces each player in his or her social environment. From the goalkeeper wearing No. 1 to the left-winger wearing No. 11. The team of ten to twelve-year-olds includes a street kid in Mozambique, two drug couriers in Medellin, a girl in Cuba, an Arab and a Jewish boy in Israel, a child in civil war-torn East Timor – children for whom football represents hopes of a better future away from poverty, war and crime, or at least a respite from their daily struggle for survival. Also part of the line-up are a young monk in Nepal, an Inuit Eskimo in Greenland, a promising young footballer from Leverkusen or an up-and-coming young black player at the elite football boarding-school in Nantes.
The film focuses firstly on the contrasting biographies of the protagonists. Completely different social, cultural and geographical conditions determine their everyday lives. Poverty and wealth, city versus country life, cultural diversity and political repression, long days of sunshine, bleak Polar winters. The football fields differ, as do the balls and players' clothes.
By following their everyday lives, we begin to understand their emotions. Whenever the protagonists can be compared directly, we realise that for all their differences, they have a lot in common: dreams, fears, hopes, grief, love, longing. And these emotions are expressed on the football pitch: in the faces of the footballers, we see joy, disappointment, anticipation – emotions, it seems, that can be found on football fields all over the world.