A Playlist for the Beautiful Game


Coming to you from Voutiro, Greece. I’ll be watching at the local coffee shop, Amadryades. France v. Croatia. Unexpected before the tournament started, Croatia certainly looked a tough team in group play. In the knockout rounds they proved that fatigue is only in the mind, winning all three games in extra time or penalties. Croatia’s talented squad faces off against one of the pre-tournament favorites. And what a team. Able to play finesse when they can and grinding when necessary. Think about all the people France left off the squad. I’m not sure who to pull for. Should be a very interesting match.  As for music…Hope you’ve enjoyed the playlist.

I’m floating around 
Feeling nothing 
I can’t touch the ground. 
Can’t you hear me, 
hear me laughing, 
One last time before I slip into the void.


Žen,     a gdje su staze, https://tinyurl.com/ybhspvq9

Sonicna taktika, https://tinyurl.com/y7gncelm

Nellcote, Future’s Gone, https://tinyurl.com/y8sqaoor

Atomsko skolniste, Ne cvikaj, generacijo, https://tinyurl.com/y7g6ohfu

On a connu les colonies, l’anthropophage économie
La félonie, la traite d’esclaves, la dette, le F.M.I
Bruno, Jean-Marie, si je cours, j’ai des raisons
Les mêmes que les deux nègres maigres sous un avion
Avant c’était déjà grave de voir des fers qui entravent
Paysage de Gorée, Maison des Esclaves


MC Solaar, Les Colonies, https://tinyurl.com/ybmag5a9

L’Impératrice, Vanille Fraise, https://tinyurl.com/k3mue3j

Ina-Ich, Ma Chair et Mon Sang, https://tinyurl.com/ycjshpug


Third place game.

The underachievers v. the overestimated. Belgium has gotten the reputation for failing to play to the level of their talent, but hopefully this World Cup will change that. The counterattack to beat Japan was unreal, and the semifinals could have gone either way. Perhaps France’s experience in big games was the difference? England always consider themselves better than they are.  Fans in the United States (which is where most are listening from) always think England is great because…Premier League? English-language commentators from Great Britain? They were lucky to get as far as they did.  For as good as the Three Lions are in their heads, this is only the third time the men’s team has made it past the quarterfinals….


De Kreuners, Wachten Op Een Trein, https://tinyurl.com/yc4nh9uk

Balthazar, Blood Like Wine: https://tinyurl.com/ybpgoo4b

SLM, Aba:  https://tinyurl.com/y8j9yktt


Public Image Ltd., Swan Lake: https://tinyurl.com/ycfjzuab

Craig David, Fill Me In: https://tinyurl.com/y8338mdq

Steel Pulse, Rally Round: https://tinyurl.com/y7ss4qly


Semifinal # 2 England v. Croatia     

Should I be torn on this one? England, with its IKEA-trashing fans and holier-than-thou attitude about soccer, vs. Croatia, with ultra-nationalists trying to hijack the team’s success. (Check out @DarioBrentin, @AlexHoliga, @JamesPiotr, and @JurjavVrdoljak for great commentary on this). Inventor of modern game or upstart young nation….Country that attacks its Afro-descended footballers in the press or country where player feels he needs to renounce his heritage officially to be safe…



New Order,  https://tinyurl.com/y8zogn4q

Edward Elgar interpreted by Jacqueline du Pre, https://tinyurl.com/l6m3u5o

The Rolling Stones, https://tinyurl.com/j4r3m8w


Azra, https://tinyurl.com/yccr8ajr

Bosko Petrovic, https://tinyurl.com/y7fbj86h

Denis & Denis, https://tinyurl.com/qh2z7e7


Semifinal #1 Belgium-France

This could have been an amazing final….No more to say on it, really.  Other than this: this semifinal playlist was created by my 13-year-old daughter, Sofia. To channel her for a second, “so…yeah.”



Lara Fabian, https://tinyurl.com/y8bmwjad

Coely, https://tinyurl.com/yaaaw984

Noordkaap, https://tinyurl.com/y9nhzk4o


MHD, https://tinyurl.com/y8vawhpo

Parabellum, https://tinyurl.com/yaoqt2ox

Mireille Mathieu, https://tinyurl.com/y9jg9xxu

Music to Watch By, Round 2

Coming to you from a village in the mountains of Greece, with the smell of grilled meat lingering in the background, and a view of Mt. Parnassos in front of me. It was absolutely gutting to see Senegal and Nigeria dumped from the tournament in Round 1, not only because of their play, but the music that they add to the playlist. Alas. Germany, good riddance.

The round of 16 still has some fascinating matchups, hope you enjoy the show:


France:            Edith Piaf, tinyurl.com/ybsejk5z

                        Madmoiselle K, tinyurl.com/y8pbfx7h

Argentina:       El mató a un policía motorizado, tinyurl.com/y7mjzzeh

                           Diego Maradona, tinyurl.com/d7lv2ul

Portugal:         Toranja, tinyurl.com/ydgg93ec

                         The Gift, tinyurl.com/y8lqh96s

 Uruguay:         Alfonsina, tinyurl.com/y865g5hq

                           Latejapride*, tinyurl.com/qeau8vh

Knockout rounds, Day 2

I’m still a little gutted about Argentina’s loss, but Sampaoli’s strutting rooster thing had already worn on me after the Albiceleste’s second game.  They were never going to be fast or smart enough to defend France’s two-pronged attack. It should be three-pronged, but Giroud’s contribution seems to be miscommunication with teammates.  At least Uruguay came through when it mattered, halting the other crowing rooster (Ronaldo). Is there some cosmic justice in both Messi and Ronaldo being knocked out on the same day?  Today’s games, on paper, should be straightforward affairs for Spain and Croatia. But never count out the home team (an early red card for Ramos?), especially when Shostakovich is on their side.


Spain:              Buika, tinyurl.com/nm25yfy

                         Pony Bravo, tinyurl.com/yav4w3v4

Russia:            t.A.T.u, tinyurl.com/mczvrh3

                         Dimitri Shostakovich, tinyurl.com/y76fx34g

Denmark:        Manus Nigra, tinyurl.com/ybpjeylo

                          VETO, tinyurl.com/yb8vzn2m

Croatia:           Puncke, tinyurl.com/y7e99pc7

                          Vlasta Popic, tinyurl.com/ybzuagq4

Knockout Rounds, Day 3

Today is the day: Mexico v. Brazil. As I’ve disclosed elsewhere on this blog, I am an avowed Mexico fan. I’ve loved El Tri at least since the days of Jorge Campos’s garish kits. I sweat out the final group game against Sweden. Now Brazil…

As with yesterday there are two teams that are odds on favorites to go through to the next round. But soccer is a beautiful game, and favorites don’t always win.  Today’s playlist, with some extra help for #MiseleccionMX:


Brazil:              Caetano Veloso and Os Mutantes, bit.ly/2lOPWLO

                           MC Marcinho, bit.ly/2tQZYiW

Mexico:           Molotov, bit.ly/2lO1ZZL

                         Chavela Vargas, bit.ly/2z7WK0a

                          Cronómetrobudú*, bit.ly/2lR6kuV

Belgium:         Témé Tan, tinyurl.com/m3f6jlw

                          Angèle, tinyurl.com/y9xpxth3

Japan:              Wagakki Band, tinyurl.com/kyhev5m

                          Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, tinyurl.com/y7vkujeq

Knockout Rounds, Day 4

Well. Now who. Mexico’s loss left me as adrift as Belgium’s counterattack left me breathless. It showed what they’re capable of, that’s for sure. I’d be a little concerned if I were Brazil.

Sweden:          Erik Lundin, https://tinyurl.com/y7a7qr8u

Bengt Hallberg, https://tinyurl.com/y792df23

Switzerland:    Mwenga, https://tinyurl.com/y7erslpp

                        Sophie Hunger, https://tinyurl.com/px8e9sm

 England:          The Clash, https://tinyurl.com/qxjw4lo

                        Lord Kitchener, https://tinyurl.com/gnoeqry

For the Windrush generation

Colombia:        Juan Luis Guerra, https://tinyurl.com/ybtqxswl

                        La Payara, https://tinyurl.com/ycrh8w9a

Joshua Nadel is an associate professor at North Carolina Central University and is the author of Fútbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America and Futbolera: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Latin American Sports History. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2019. (co-authored with Brenda Elsey).