Jun 14

PWC14 Semi-Final: Chile v Nigeria

Pop World Cup 201417 comments • 650 views

Four more games to go in this Pop World Cup, and our first semi-final sees lartsaegis’ Chile face off against Cis’ Nigeria. Nigeria got here with a win over Ghana, and as defending champions will be used to the pressure at this level. Chile, meanwhile, enjoyed a narrow victory over Japan and will hope to be peaking at the right time for another giant-killing.

SF1: Chile v Nigeria - Which track do you pick?

  • NIGERIA: Starboy ft LAX & Wizkid 55%
  • CHILE: Kali Mutsa 45%

Total Voters: 49

Poll closes: 9 Jun 2014 @ 21:00

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The match is up until Monday – songs are below the cut, along with a tribute to quarter-finalists Croatia.

CHILE: Kali Mutsa – “Quispe”

kalimutsa “After two narrow victories against two of the most strongest pop nations on the globe, I took to my bed and flat-screen TV (as detailed in the official PWC rider) to soak in the highlights. A clipboard lay on my chest as I knocked around some potential names, bags under eyes, five-o’clock shadow on my face. As I scanned my reserve list, I heard a large wave of brass shake the distance. It could only be one person.

I dedicate this round to the majesty of La Gata Negra, The Pachacutie from Pachacuti, #andeanfusion reincarnate, Kali Mutsa / Celine Reymond. Starring in Chilean telenovelas by day light, guiding her caravan of silken ilk through the sands of the desert by moon light, performing to any town or city her ebullient presence crosses alongside legendary composer/director Sandoje Catiri.

Kali Mutsa was one of the first players I signed. However, she had to take leave during the group stages to finish her debut album Souvenance. I bowed and entreated her to take as much time as she needed — I was faithful she would return stronger than ever — but when I heard the horns blast the radiance of a mythic past interwoven with the hooks of the present, intermittent with future visions outside of our Brazilian camp, I knew that this: 2014, was her time in the emerald shine.

She takes the captain armband and center-forward position against another favorite, the champions of the last Pop World Cup, Nigeria. I had a dream we were against England, but I woke up and saw that we were, in fact, under more compressing odds. I think it’s safe to say that if we can’t beat them, we have no business winning the whole thing. Kali Mutsa greeted me with a single souvenir from her peregrinage — the tarot card entitled The World (where in the dream she gave me Strength). I clamored to Wikipedia to see what it all meant:

The World represents an ending to a cycle of life, a pause in life before the next big cycle beginning with the fool. The figure is at once male and female, above and below, suspended between the heavens and the earth. It is completeness. It is also said to represent cosmic consciousness; the potential of perfect union with the One Power of the universe. It tells us full happiness is also to give back to the world, sharing what we have learned or gained.

And so she gave me the most ambiguously doomy card in the entire deck. I instantly remembered a quote from a Dream Theater song I liked in 6th grade: “Remember that death is not the end, but only a transition.” This is our hardest game yet, definitely. All the world’s a stage, so let’s play some footy, shall we?”

NIGERIA: Starboy ft LAX & Wizkid – “CARO”

“It’s easy to focus only on the strikers in the pop football game – and Wizkid, in the lead here, is truly top-flight – but I’d like to take a second to focus on the boys behind. Listen to that engine room of a percussionist on the back line, keeping the rhythm light-footed with a three-two son clave that international pop football pundits might recognise from its rival developments in the sub-Saharan leagues and among the great Cuban tacticians. Keep an ear out for that sweeper, a bubbling synth line that goes box-to-box, breaking free of the verses’ midfield to assist L.A.X in his plangent middle-eight. And how about the choruses’ shifting formation from delicate piano to casual party brass? Wizkid may be the frontman of the Starboy squad, but pop football’s a team game, and we hope you’ll thrill to how tightly this Nigerian team move.”

SO FAREWELL THEN….: Croatia, one of the most unpredictable teams in the tournament, who caused the first big shock of the 2014 Pop World Cup by sneaking through Group A against the odds and relegating hosts Brazil to onlookers at their own party. Croatia switched tactics fearlessly, finally bowing out after their indie formation against England backfired. But there’s something for everyone in the squads they’ve sent out here. Here’s their finest moment – scraping home by a percentage point difference in that final Group A match thanks to Pavel’s “Cuvaj Me”.


  1. 1
    Erithian on 4 Jun 2014 #

    Well well – imitation the sincerest form of flattery and all that, the Guardian’s running its own World Cup of World Cup songs. OK, it’s all being done in a day, and it’s limiting itself to yer actual World Cup songs, but at the time of writing they have a Belgium-Bosnia final and our old friend Stromae is involved.

  2. 2
    lartsaegis on 4 Jun 2014 #

    A Nigeria this united will be hard to chop through. Strangely enough the percussion line is mixed so up front that it seems like the vocalists and all other elements are backing that up, and even if we can get past that, the midfielders (Starboy AMF, the others CMF) put up a capable, swaggy, and shifting attack and defense on their own accord — I haven’t even seen this type of tactic in soulful house tracks with vocalists on them. Very interesting!

  3. 3
    thefatgit on 4 Jun 2014 #

    I was unprepared for this. Starboy plays a high line with LAX & Wizkid darting into space, but most of the work from Nigeria comes from the percussion. I think this might need a couple of replays to be absolutely sure where those shots came from. All I can say for now is Nigeria’s momentum is so great it would take something phenomenal to derail this train…

    …which brings me to Chile. Kali Mutsa pulling in inspiration from sources as diverse as star strikers; Edith Piaf and Nicki Minaj. There is so much energy and sheer force of will from Chile here, I’m inclined to believe they might, just might pull off the surprise result of the tournament.

  4. 4
    dollymix on 4 Jun 2014 #

    Nigeria settle into a good rhythm with touches of flair, but Chile’s aggressive tackling and rapid clearances keep them at bay. And then, with extra time starting to beckon as Nigeria continues to search for that elusive goal, Chile ditch the route-one tactics to suddenly put together a languid extended passing move that catches the Nigerians completely off guard. The fans seem to go silent in disbelief as the ball is rolled past Nigeria’s stranded goalkeeper. Pundits will wonder how Nigeria lost this game, but Chile prove that surprise is often the best tactic.

  5. 5
    chelovek na lune on 4 Jun 2014 #

    Early doors the defending champions are way out in front: they’ve proved their continuing world-beating class throughout this tournament, and their performance this time is, again, strong, flowing and competent. Confident, too.

    The challengers, however, well, have never been less than one of the more experimental teams in this PWC, and this willingness to try new formations – diamond, rhombus, flattened dodecahedron – hasn’t always paid off. And it first, here, it appears they are being a little too unconventional, relying at first too much on intimidation, or is that even some kind of voodoo hex? However….and this is an important however, once they’ve worked out how to get round their opponents way of play, it seems this opening period has been about watching and learning, letting the opponents come close to tripping themselves up in their own brilliance. The tactic works, too – by the final third of the game Chile are firmly in control, going places no other team here has reached: their fluent technique lets them not so much dominate as control the entire stadium, and a well-deserved (and in retrospect superficially effortless) victory is theirs.

  6. 6
    katstevens on 5 Jun 2014 #

    Cracking pop football from both teams in this match – fizzing brilliance from Chile, perfect tactics from Nigeria. I can’t pick a winner here…

  7. 7
    Query on 5 Jun 2014 #

    I think my colleagues are mistaking novelty for brilliance here, Brian. Chile’s tactics are certainly aggressive and unconventional, but my money is for Nigeria’s supremely assured and coherent team performance to carry the day.

  8. 8
    loneilgrim on 5 Jun 2014 #

    Nigeria play with self assurance and swagger but are a little too narcissistic. Chile use protean tactics that see them change from an enveloping blitz attack to some surgical strikes that take advantage of the lapses in concentration from the African team.

  9. 9
    Matt DC on 5 Jun 2014 #

    That Nigeria video is filmed in the middle of Clerkenwell, you can see St John’s Gate and the Modern Pantry in the background. Incredibly bizarre choice of location.

    With respect to England and Iran, whoever wins this deserves to go on and win the tournament, because both of these are sides of the highest quality. I am #teamnaija forever but the Chile track is probably the performance of the tournament, just bonkers.

  10. 10
    weej on 6 Jun 2014 #

    Nigeria are on top form here, but the hunger in this Chilean side makes them unstoppable.

  11. 11
    jeff w on 9 Jun 2014 #

    The whole of the Kali Mutsa album seems to be streamable on soundcloud. I got enjoyably lost in it at the weekend. Might Buy!

  12. 12
    koganbot on 9 Jun 2014 #

    I found the Chilean track really irritating, and the Nigerian track smooth, inventive, and forceful. And I voted for Chile. So hit me on the head with a 2 by 4.

  13. 13
    koganbot on 9 Jun 2014 #

    Listening to Souvenance right now. Soap opera star’s vanity project? Clearly we don’t have enough vain soap stars.

  14. 14
    lartsaegis on 10 Jun 2014 #

    A hearthitting defeat. We have one more game — for third place, I’ll see you all there. Thank you, to those who believed! Chile is now on your Pop radars. Souvenance is indeed streamable on Soundcloud, glad I was able to expose her a bit more, definitely a favorite of this year.

  15. 15
    katstevens on 10 Jun 2014 #

    Relieved at Nigeria’s win as I have replicated the PWC results so far for my office sweepstake bracket – obviously I had to guess the final and 3/4 play-off results, so as defending champions I put the Nigerians as the eventual winners. Five quid WELL SPENT.

  16. 16
    cis logged out on 10 Jun 2014 #

    phew, that was a hard-fought game – Chile’s unique spark and ingenuity has been a delight to see on the pitch and a redoubtable force to play against. What a fine pop footballing nation!

  17. 17
    Garry on 11 Jun 2014 #

    Sad to see Chile bow out but happy they get another match against England or Iran. Thus far Chile have been my favourite team in the competition.

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