World Cup 2022: Memorable Moments of Latin Music in Qatar (Updating)

The FIFA World Cup 2022 kicked off November 20, and a handful of memorable, outstanding and outrageous moments are already beginning to pile up — from Argentina’s first shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in their first game, to Mexican professional boxer Canelo Álvarez starting beef with superstar player Lionel Messi on Twitter, and plenty more.

For this list, however, we’re focusing on moments in Latin music and/or with Latin artists. Here are five so far that have been particularly memorable, with plenty of time left for more still to come.

More from Billboard

Shakira… slated to make her triumphant return to the 2022 World Cup?

When plenty of news outlets, both credible and dubious, began circulating that Shakira would be returning to this round’s tournament in Qatar, an avalanche of excitement began to pour over the web. Sports sites like Marca mistakenly claimed that the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer would perform alongside Black Eyed Peas and BTS — the latter act being close to accurate, because BTS member Jungkook did recently take the world stage.

For weeks, there continued to be plenty of online speculation whether the Colombian superstar would return to the World Cup or not — after all, the unofficial World Cup queen did co-pen one of the most enduring FIFA anthems of all time, in the billions-streaming juggernaut “Waka Waka.” There is even a petition on to bring Shak back!

Other media are claiming that she quietly canceled her performance, and is “boycotting” the big games due to human right violations in the Middle East. She has previously performed in three World Cup opening ceremonies: Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010, and Brazil in 2014.

Ricky Martin celebrated Argentina’s triumph with “The Cup of Life”

Hands down, Ricky Martin has delivered one of the most memorable World Cup Latin songs of all time, “The Cup of Life” (1998). His anthemic soccer song, fascinatingly, even helped further push the so-called Latin music crossover movement of the new millennium; it also gave Latin execs of the time a reason to launch the Latin counterpart to The Recording Academy. You see, the transcendental “Cup of Life” is larger than life. So when Martin presented the song alongside a symphony in Argentina’s Movistar Arena on December 1st in front of 11,000 attendees — in honor of their national team — fans went utterly wild. The singer even showed Argentina making a goal against Poland via the backdrop screen to further exhilarate them.

Paulo Londra bestows Leonel Messi his prize after defeating Australia

After the 2022 World Cup match between Argentina and Australia on Saturday (Dec. 3) for the 16 round, superstar athlete Messi won the award for best player of the match. The charming thing about the moment is that the soccer player received his prize from the hands of singer/rapper Paulo Londra. Gushing, Londa took to instagram to write, “I can’t believe these things are what make me say every day that I owe everything to God for the luxuries that allow me to live.” He continued, “You are light Leo, an example of a player and a person, I love you and God bless that left foot always.” Undoubtedly, a memorable moment.

Brazil turns the World Cup stage into a dance floor 

For Brazilians, dance culture runs deep. In fact, Tite, the coach of Team Brazil called dance a “language” for their nation. Their jubilant dance moves combined with the Seleção Brasileira, shone in all their glory at the World Cup on Monday (Dec. 5), following Brazil’s 4-1 victory over South Korea. Be dazzled by their joyful moves in this video showing them in action, sometimes even alongside their coach.

La Mosca’s “Muchachos” becomes a soccer anthem for Argentina fans

When the widely regarded best soccer player in the world Lionel Messi was asked about his favorite song in an interview before the World Cup started, he named “Muchachos, Ahora Nos Volvemos a Ilusionar” and even sang it on TV.

The song, by Argentinian fusion rockers La Mosca, not only became an instant fan favorite for those rooting for Argentina’s triumph, but the entire team made the rounds on social media, seen ecstatically singing it at the top of their lungs, celebrating their win over Mexico on Saturday (Nov. 26). After all, the opening line does go, “I was born in Argentina, land of Diego and Lionel, of the kids from the Falkland Islands, whom I’ll never forget.”

Earlier this week, Billboard spoke with La Mosca lead singer Guillermo Novellis about the moment when Messi first sang it: “I mean, it’s like arriving in Rome and being introduced to the Pope,” claimed Novellis. Was the singer surprised by the song’s sudden big moment? He continued: “They [the lyrics] have to do with our frustrations, our success, our hopes, the Falklands, finals lost and finals won. And of course, the hope of being champions again. Maybe that’s why it resonated so much with the fans and players.”

Hordes of Mexicans do the Caballo Dorado rodeo at the World Cup

As Mexican soccer fans began to arrive at in Qatar, hundreds of them were recorded line dancing in unison. The song that inspired the moves is the classic “Payaso de Rodeo” by Caballo Dorado, and it’s a wedding and quinceañera staple. But what was also quite memorable to see was Doctor Simi among them. The popular plushie itself became the face of the Mexican pharmaceutical chain called Farmacias Similares. Earlier this year, the doll had another interesting moment when a new trend emerged, consisting of fans throwing them at famous performers like Rosalía, Coldplay, the Killers, and Mac DeMarco, and others.

Los Tucanes’ “La Chona” becomes a favorite in Qatar

Los Tucanes de Tijuana’s Mario Quintero Lara was among the large crowd of Mexicans who showed up at the World Cup in support of Mexico on Saturday. But as Mexican soccer fans spotted the famous Tijuanense frontman — while next to a troupe of mariachi players (!) — the crowed unleashed a massive sing-along to “La Chona,” a norteña classic. One attendee tweeted in Spanish, “Going to Qatar and having Mario, lead singer of Los Tucanes de Tijuana, sing La Chona with you was totally worth the trip.”

Maluma walks out of an interview in Qatar

The Colombian superstar recently made international headlines, and not just as the co-author of an official FIFA World Cup song “Tukuh Taka,” alongside Nicki Minaj and Myriam Fares.

A journalist asked Maluma if he had no problems performing in Qatar, citing as an example that, “Shakira and Dua Lipa refused to take part in this World Cup due to the bad records of Qatar regarding human rights.”

The question puzzled the Colombian artist. “Yeah, but it’s something that I can’t resolve,” he answered. “I just came here to enjoy life, enjoy soccer, the party of soccer,” he added, looking uncomfortable.

“But can you understand that people are going to say that by the very presence of you here you are helping whitewashing,” insisted the reporter. Clearly pissed off, Maluma told him he was “rude,” got up and left.

Click here to read the full article.