A 12-year-old Brazilian boy who longs to see his team win out over Italy in the 1970 World Cup match finds his entire world turned upside down as his left-wing parents are forced into hiding and he is sent to live with his grandfather in São Paulo's Bom Retiro district. Though his country is being held in the grip of a military dictatorship and the war in Vietnam is raging abroad, young Mauro can't seem to think about anything else but the upcoming World Cup match between Brazil and Italy. If Jairzinho, Pelé, and company can just win their third World Cup title, team Brazil will earn their third star on the strip -- a feat that no other team in the history of the sport has ever managed to accomplish. When his Catholic mother and Jewish father are suddenly forced to go "on holiday," young Mauro is swept out of his middle-class existence in Minas Gerais and taken to stay with his paternal grandfather in bustling Bom Retiro. A multi-ethnic district in which Jews, Arabs, and Greeks all live side by side, Bom Retiro begins to heat up with World Cup fever as things both at home and abroad all seem to be spiraling toward disaster.