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? [ballot]

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

Total Voters: 49

Poll closes: 9 Jun 2014 @ 21:00

Loading ... Loading ...

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”.