Taika Waititi's Next Goal Wins scores accolades at Toronto International Film Festival

Taika Waititi has celebrated his latest film's world premiere in Toronto where ice blocks were handed out to the audience by people dressed as the national football team of American Samoa.

Next Goal Wins is the story of the "world's worst soccer team" ahead of their World Cup Qualifiers in 2001, where they went on to lose their qualifying game against Australia 31-0.

Video of the premiere posted online shows Waititi calling the film a "true underdog story" as he introduces it. He also acknowledged the lands the screening took place on before asking an elder to bless the event.

The Thor: Ragnarok and Boy filmmaker took to the stage afterwards with the movie's real-life characters, Thomas Rogen - the Dutch coach played by Michael Fassbender in Waititi's film - and Jaiyah Saelua, the first openly non-binary and trans-woman to compete in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.

"Normally you don't see a sports film about winners who keep winning," Deadline reported Waititi as saying after the film had screened.

"I couldn't believe this was a true story. As a kid growing up, there weren't many opportunities to see yourself on screen.

"I never thought I'd make a sports film, especially about a sport I knew nothing about,"  he said at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.

"I came away knowing less of the sport."

Pictures also showed the Next Goal Wins-adorned popsicles which were being handed out after the screening.

Online comments praised the film as being a "real crowd-pleaser".

"[It] ticks all the inspirational sports movie boxes, but it's as feel-good as it gets," one said.

"Genial, large-hearted, inclusive sports comedy is sure to be a huge crowd pleaser. Third act smaltz is like extra icing on already sweet cake but audience will gobble this up," another at the premiere said.

Another said the movie had received a "big standing ovation" after it had screened.

Waititi was last at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 for the premiere of Jojo Rabbit, where it won the Grolsch Audience Award before going on to land the filmmaker his first Oscar.

Next Goal Wins is due to open in New Zealand cinemas in December.