PORTUGAL V GHANA
Darren Sharp — Music writer
Portuguese Football Team (08) — 'A Portuguesa'
“This edition of the Portuguese national anthem is in fact sung by their football team, which, while quaint, doesn’t exactly lend itself to too many vocally acrobatic moments. Let’s call a spade a spade and acknowledge that there are no Sias on the pitch this particular day. Certainly it doesn’t help that the verses are completely tuneless, but neither does the giant at 0:20 having his own Sarah Harding moment. Does he have that much trouble controlling the volume of his voice in everyday life? Something to ponder. But then finally, FINALLY, the chorus hits and WHAT A CHORUS. It comes crashing out of absolutely nowhere like an off-key ‘Kiss Me Once’. It doesn’t justify everything that came before it, but combined with the 10/10 seriousface being delivered by most of the team it makes the whole thing palatable. Could use a Duke Dumont remix, mind you.”
Soraya Simons — 'God Bless Our Homeland Ghana'
“This anthem was written by a student in the ‘70s who won a national anthem writing competition, which is to say we’re not working with Max Martin levels of lyricism here. A quick Google search for performer Soraya Simons reveals that this is quite literally her only performance. Ever. But pop is so often more than the sum of its parts, and ‘God Bless Our Homeland Ghana’ is, against all odds, a tender ballad with a gorgeous melody straight out of the Toby Gad playbook. Close your eyes and you can almost picture an X Factor winner belting this out with confetti falling and tears streaming down his/her face. Like so many ballads these days it could use a key change in the final third, but let’s not nitpick."
Darren's full time score:
Portugal 1 — Ghana 3
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Next up: Algeria vs Russia and South Korea vs Belgium