If World Cup teams were bands, who would they be?
There are several inescapable parallels to be drawn between the worlds of football and music. Both of them feature artists who stride the stage imperiously for a time, yet whose successes are all too fleeting; both of them feature the same gallery of keen rivalries and preening frontmen. With these similarities in mind, I will therefore make the comparisons as best I can; and apologise in advance for my inevitable bias, which reflects my musical tastes.
On the evidence of this and previous World Cup campaigns, Italy are the Jay-Z of football. Though their desire sometimes seems dimmed by the ravages of age, their pedigree is unquestionable. Much like their Brooklyn-born hip-hop avatar, their flamboyant appearance is strangely at odds with their conservative end product. .
Portugal are The Kooks: carefree and crowd-pleasing, qualities which win them many fans yet ultimately prevent them from being taken too seriously. Meanwhile, Holland are The Roots; though adored by critics and neutrals, truly mainstream success continually eludes them.
On the other hand, Germany are Madonna. The outward appearances may change but the canny beast keeps advancing. Thoroughly self-aware and desperately resilient, you can never quite count her out as a chart-topper.
Spain are Radiohead. In the early days their efforts spoke of magnificent potential, and now each performance of theirs is breathlessly awaited. The consummate team, excellent in every position, we expect them to renew their genre at every attempt; and, whenever they disappoint us, there is genuine shock.
England are The Fugees. One huge early hit had us expectant of continued success, but despite promising follow-ups they have never quite returned to their previous heights. Rumours of their resurgence will forever quicken the pulse.
Brazil are Stevie Wonder. The true guardians of the genre, everyone loves them, and they effortlessly fill stadia. Their plunge is another artist’s pinnacle. Rarely do they drop their level of play, and when they do their demise is exaggerated.
The possibilities are endless, so I’ll halt there; leaving you to wonder who France and Argentina might be; both teams being supremely rock-and-roll in their sensibilities, combining fragile esteem with extraordinary talent. I hope this game of parallels gives you some pleasure; and I hope, unlike me, you won’t fret too long on why Nigeria, or any of their African counterparts, have so far failed to prove themselves the Fela Kuti of football.
(Photo: Getty Images)Tagged in: Brazil, england, Fela Kuti, germany, holland, Italy, Jay-Z, Madonna, Portugal, radiohead, Stevie Wonder, The Fugees, The Kooks
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