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The Philosophers' Football Match was a sketch on Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus and later a part of Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.


Fliegender zirkus2.7.jpeg

The sketch depicted a Football (soccer) match in the Olympiastadion at the 1972 Munich Olympics, between philosophers representing Greece and Germany, including Plato, Socrates and Aristotle on the Greek team, and Heidegger, Marx and Nietzsche on the German team. Instead of playing, the philosophers competed by thinking while walking on the pitch in circles. This left Franz Beckenbauer, the sole genuine footballer on the pitch (and a "surprise inclusion" in the German team, according to the commentary), more than a little confused. Confucius was the referee and Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine (sporting haloes) were the linesmen. The German manager was Martin Luther.

The sketch is split into the first half and second half.


Fliegender zirkus2.9.jpeg

Nietzsche receives a yellow card after claiming that "Confucius has no free will"; Confucius says "Name go in book". Socrates scored the only goal of the match in the 89th minute, a diving header from a cross from Archimedes (who gets the idea of using the football first after shouting out "Eureka!"). The Germans dispute the call; "Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx (with apt materialism) is claiming it was offside."


Germany Greece
Gottfried Leibniz Plato
Immanuel Kant Epictetus
Georg "Nobby" Hegel Aristotle
Arthur Schopenhauer "Chopper" Sophocles
Friedrich Schelling Empedocles
of Acragas
Franz Beckenbauer Plotinus
Karl Jaspers Epicurus
Karl Schlegel Heraklitus
Ludwig Wittgenstein Democritus
Friedrich Nietzsche Socrates
Martin Heidegger Archimedes
Karl Marx - substituting Wittgenstein during the 2nd half


  • The narrator mentions that Germany had beaten "England's famous midfield trio, Bentham, Locke and Hobbes" in the semi final.
  • In the sketch, Archimedes is played by John Cleese, Socrates by Eric Idle, Hegel by Graham Chapman, Nietzsche by Michael Palin, Marx by Terry Jones and Kant by Terry Gilliam.
  • Brazil's World cup team of 1982 and 1986 featured a player called Sócrates.
  • The replay proves that, according to the offside rule, Socrates' goal was indeed offside.

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