Santiago Munez (Becker) is back for a second helping of his rise from Los Angeles garden labourer to soccer superstar.

Having been given the chance of a lifetime by Newcastle United, the young Mexican's career enters the stratosphere when, 18 months on from where the original film ended, Real Madrid express an interest in his services.

With the transfer window deadline looming, the Latino lad has a major life-changing decision to make - and quick. As it turns out, there's not much of a decision to be made, and 'Santi' soon swaps the gloom of England's Northeast for the heat and glamour of Central Spain.

However, this involves leaving his fiancée Roz (Friel) behind on Tyneside to complete her nursing exams, and the distance soon starts to affect their relationship.

Many football fans will scoff at the speed at which Santi is willing to walk away from the Magpies, especially after they had plucked him from amateur obscurity. Although this may mirror the lack of loyalty shown by many professional soccer players nowadays, it doesn't endear the hitherto hero to the audience.

Upon becoming a Galactico, Munez starts to share the same dressing room as some of the world's greatest players, and David Beckham. Mercifully, we are spared any attempt to underline just how incompetent the former England captain, who has admitted he has no plans to pursue an acting career, is at delivering lines. Anyone who saw the original 'Goal!' will know how cringe-inducing he can be.

Another sticking point is the presence of Santi's old Newcastle team-mate Gavin Harris (Nivola) at the Spanish giants. Aside from a stellar last-day performance against Liverpool in the first film, the cocky Cockney didn't show us anything to suggest that he would become a target for one of Europe's top clubs. However, American actor Nivola's English accent is so eerily accurate that this particular faux pas can be overlooked.

This film is, as the oldest of football clichés goes, a game of two halves. The opening period makes for quite good viewing, leaving you with the misguided belief that it will go on and eclipse its predecessor, which itself was an above average sporting flick. However, once Munez settles at the Bernabeu, the movie loses virtually all of its entertainment value.

Apparently, a series of poor results for Real last season threw a spanner in the works. They would have been one of the favourites to land the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League title, but the famous white jerseys were dumped out of the competition in March by the eventual runners-up, Arsenal.

This unexpected result obviously affected the action scenes. The slow motion footage of the likes of Raul, Zinedine Zidane and Guti can be captivating at times, but the goalscoring sequences pale in comparison to the quality of the original.

Other aspects of the movie are equally inferior. A number of subplots, which include a number of mini-dramas in Santiago's private life, are blatantly underdeveloped. The viewer is left to connect too many dots in order to make sense of it all. This would be fine if director Jaume Collet-Serra's offering eventually delivered on the film's early promise. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

The makers have taken their eyes off the ball here, probably due to the difficulties they experienced and the distraction of having another production in the offing.

'Goal! 3' will be based on the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This may have been a lacklustre follow-up, but with a rub of the green, the next instalment could add up to an aggregate win.

Séamus Leonard