Now the massive popglut of the final group stages is over, we return to a more sedate pace, though the pressure is by no means off the managers. Big beasts are everywhere. There are no easy games at this level, and there are no second chances. This is particularly true given that 50.01% is a winning score from now on (the procedure for precise 50-50 finishes is to be published later).

In our first game of the Round of 16 (swapped into being the first for administrative reasons, sorry for any confusion), we see a mighty clash between to much-fancied competitors: The Lex’s France against Matt DC’s Nigeria.

Fifteen more games. Thirty more songs. The excitement is growing.

This match closes at midnight on Sunday 2nd May

FRANCE: Poni Hoax – “Budapest” The Manager Says: “Dark, desperate death disco: starts ominous, gets paranoid, never loses intensity of either feeling or beats.”

NIGERIA: JJC – “We Are Africans (Naija Remix)” The Manager Says: “While the tournament has already seen many, many great goals, we haven’t yet seen a great team goal – a ten-man passing move (well, nine men and a woman) that ends in the back of the net. So here it comes, courtesy of Nigerian expat producer JJC and a great big rap posse featuring the cream of Nigerian MCing talent. Additionally, his is a historic day for world pop football. Never in the history of the tournament have so many African teams qualified for the knockout stages. So this is as much a match as an occasion for continent-wide celebration, one I’m sure my fellow African managers will join me in. Say it loud. Say it proud. YOU. ARE. AFRICAN.”

Round of 16 Match 1: which track do you prefer? [ballot]

  • NIGERIA - JJC 56%
  • FRANCE - Poni Hoax 45%

Total Voters: 77

Poll closes: 2 May 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis Neither manager is risking a weakened squad in this crucial game, and both are playing to traditional national strengths here: the French deploy simmering, building dance cool, the Nigerians rock the intricate exuberance which has served them well up to now. It feels like a close one from here.

Coming up The next game will be the game which we thought would be our first: the might of South Africa against the pop finesse of Korea Republic.