With the World Cup on every screen across the UK at almost every hour of the day, you might think you’ve seen all the football you can handle, but there’s one type of football you never see on TV: freestyle. That alone has helped Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch score a win with football fans on YouTube, as they upload vlogs showcasing their tekkers with cool trick shots. Now, to tie in with the World Cup, YouTube has commissioned a globe-trotting show from the duo as a YouTube Premium Original.
It might sound like a series of only one half, but F2 Finding Football emerges as a nicely balanced match for the pair. Both evidently passionate about football and filming it on camera, their enthusiasm makes for a charismatic screen guide, not least because they have some genuine skills on the ball. But rather than serve up 30-minute montages of them showing off, Finding Football works because they take a back seat for much of it, allowing other stars to shine.
Those stars are an impressively varied bunch, as Billy and Jeremy take us everywhere from Argentina to Iceland. What makes the best football players in the world? That’s ostensibly the question driving their journey, but what the series gives us is a window onto a diverse array of cultures and the role that football plays within them. In other words, it’s an old-fashioned travelogue, but with keepy-uppy instead of Michael Palin.
The landscapes the series catches on camera are genuinely gorgeous, all shot in dazzling 4K. In Iceland, we see the duo dribble around stunning ice caves, which plays out like a bizarre cut scene from David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. In Marseille, the streets pop with vibrant colours, as F2 team up with a Parkour crew for a jaw-dropping run through the city. But it’s not always football on the cards: in Argentina, we see some tango dancing with ASAP Ferg – being able to do such precise close touches on the ball is all in the footwork – and even a local sport carried out on horseback.
The duo also interview the people they meet, not always with the most incisive questions, but certainly with sincere interest. Most striking of all are the sequences in Brazil’s favelas, where the duo learn that football has become one of the only ways for young people to escape poverty. It’s not a brand new revelation, but it’s one shown to us first-hand – and with some beautiful beach volleyball on the side.
The result is the kind of programme that you wouldn’t find anywhere else – a fast-paced, likeable sports documentary with a difference. It works because it shoots for travel and discovery first and stunts second. If you’re looking for a fresh window onto the world, and a new side to football to boot, F2 Finding Football is a series that hits the back of the net.
F2 Finding Football is available exclusively on YouTube Premium, as part of an £11.99 monthly subscription – including YouTube Premium Originals and YouTube Music, as well as the rest of YouTube advert-free.