Picking up where it left off at the end of the first part, First Team: Juventus returns with another 3 episodes, diving into the heart of Juventus’ season as the Italian football club focuses on closing out their season with a handful of trophies. With more focus on the football and less on the day to day lives of the players, this second part feels much more driven to finish the story told during the first three episodes.
The first episode begins with Juventus looking to wrap up their 2018 footballing campaign with the prospect of clinching a Champions League, Copa Italia and the Serie A title all hindering on the fortunes of Juventus’ final few months in the football calendar. While the first part dived much more deeply into the various complexities of running one of the most successful Italian teams in history, this second part feels much more straight forward – depicting the on-pitch action with the familiar biased commentary from the Italian commentators showcased in the first season.
One of our biggest gripes with the first part was the way this documentary painted Juventus in a godly light, failing to address the Italian match-fixing scandal which Juventus themselves were involved in. While there are only a few fleeting mentions of this scandal here, the second part does at least try to include this although it feels more like an after-thought than a meaningful inclusion. Most of the 3 episodes play out in a relatively straight forward manner though and with the focus squarely on the football, there’s a fair number of matches showcased.
While this method alone would be absolutely fine, the Italian commentary ruins any semblance of impartiality with an incredibly biased account of Juventus’ final matches. It’s a shame too as the Real Madrid VS Juventus match was rife with tension and drama but hearing the commentators bemoaning their fortunes with phrases like “Can we please just end the match?” sucks any drama out of these moments. It’s not helped either by the editing of these matches which was another big point last year. The slow motion recaps and sudden cuts from the TV cameras to close-ups and back again ruin the immersion and do make it difficult at times to figure out what’s happening on the pitch.
The bias continues late on too and after the infamous 93rd minute penalty that sent Juventus crashing out of the Champions League, controversy surrounding Buffon and his over-reaction toward the referee is never fully addressed here. While it is understandable given the final episode ends on a high with Buffon himself retiring, there are more than a few hints in this last episode that the penalty awarded was wrongly given and that Juventus were robbed.
Still, having said all that First Team: Juventus’ second part does a good job closing out the season and finishing what it started during the first 3 episodes. With less emphasis on the backstage action and players and more on the matches themselves, most of these three episode feel like a formality, showcasing the action at the end of Juventus’ season complete with biased commentary and some scrappy on-pitch editing. Those who enjoyed the first part will certainly enjoy but those looking for a more in-depth analysis and history around the Italian club may well find it better served elsewhere.