Both of these sides have a single point to show for their first two games, and both are staring an early exit from the competition square in the face. Either side could still qualify but to do so they will need a handsome victory and even then will  require a sizeable win in the Nigeria –  Korea Republic match. It’s one for the statisticians, for sure. Will it be one for the neutrals?

Wait… the Greek manager appears to have a piece of paper in his hands…

This match closes at midnight on Monday 12th April

GREECE: Vegas – “Tous Ponaei” The Manager Says: “In 1885, the delegates of the Football Association gathered to make a crucial decision that was to solidify football as the most important sport in the world (until pop football eclipsed it in popularity). Rather than, as was the custom at the time, restrict the sport to amateurs only, they left the doors open to professionalism through the payment of so-called “boot-money” to participants. It was one of the first sports in the world to do so.

But what’s wrong with amateurism, you ask? On the surface it encourages, perhaps, the proper spirit, fair play, lack of greed. But the backside is equally clear: it is elitist as it it restricts participation to those wealthy enough to afford expenses. Conversely, it also solidifies and ossifies a code of quality, based entirely on the wishes of that moneyed elite, and it restricts progress as their values are the only ones that count. And of course, it helps keep the sport tiny, an internal upper-class affair.

So that decision in 1885 really made the difference that set association football ahead of all the rival codes, and made sure that it would progress much faster in quality and become much more popular than its amateurist rivals. It’s taken many years, but now most other footballing codes have also followed suit, with most recently rugby union limping into full professionalism and apparently a simultaneous surge in popularity everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except in Argentina! Because in Argentina, they still cling on to their amatuerism in rugby, which has cast their rightful participation in the Tri Nations into doubt.

To understand this, it is vital to know that Argentina is one of the countries in the world with the largest income gap between rich and poor. Its elite is to a significant extent cut off from the poor culturally as well, which shows not least in its choice of a different sport to the poor peoples’ football. Amateurist rugby suited the self-image of the wealthy argentinians just fine. No matter how stultefying.

And of course the same cultural gap exists in music.

The destitute in the villas miseria around Buenos Aires listen to cumbia villera music. But the elite for the most part wouldn’t touch that section of the population with a pole. Instead they concoct their own rigid indie music, of which we’ve so far seen two examples presented by the Argentinian coach – and I bet we’ll see a third here! Because if you’re entrenched in those values of the elite, cumbia villera – like professionalism in sport – is seen as crude, stupid, full of rabble. The elites of Argentina persist in their amateurism and their indieness. The two are intimately connected.

Meanwhile, observe Greece. By one ranking, the most egalitarian country in the world. In music, all sorts of artists crossing over genre-to-genre, with little regard for boundaries. And here presented to you, the extreme of popularity (in the best sense of the word) and of professionalism: a group of diverse ethnicity and gender, only recently at the top reaches of the Greek charts.

This is your chance to strike a blow for the notion that pop is as good music as anything else. Like that decision in 1885, I ask you to determine the future of pop football: will amateurism succeed, as represented by the Argentinians, or will the professionalism of the Greek side triumph? This single decision will serve as symbolic for the rest of the tournament, and indeed for the direction taken by the readers of this site in general.”

ARGENTINA: Princesa – “Más Fuego” The Manager Says: “Since no Caribbean teams managed to make it to the World Cup this year, Argentina pays tribute to their sun-kissed styles of play, which include some of the most joyous and effective in the global pop game, in what is likely to be our last showing on this pitch. Dancehall and reggaetón meet the neocumbia scene (Princesa is associated with the legendary female hip-hop group Actitud Maria Marta as well as the cumbia-ghettotech all-stars at ZZK) in an explosion of righteous hip-moving rhythm. Mo fiya!

(Interested parties may wish to view the highlight reel of practices for this game.)

Group B Match 6: Which of these tracks do you prefer? [ballot]

  • ARGENTINA - Princesa 82%
  • GREECE - Vegas 18%

Total Voters: 68

Poll closes: 12 Apr 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis
Well! There’s a feeling in the press room that the Greek manager’s outburst was carefully calculated to take the pressure off his team and allow them to play their energetic natural game. But his political attack on the Argentinian Pop FA and pop culture in general has led him to field a team set up specifically to deal with a languid indie formation which doesn’t materialise. Argentina have changed things around and fight fire with, um, “fuego”.  Which team has the fiyapowa to score the goals?

Coming up: All crunch time, all the time at this stage of the PWC: tomorrow we’ll see the return of the English team (whose formation has been decidedly variable so far) against a Slovenia who know their route one BOSH tactics very well indeed.