After 100 years, you would think that the Copa América Centenario might have the national anthems of South American countries straight.
The day after the special 100-year anniversary edition of the soccer tournament mistakenly played the wrong anthem for Uruguay, and then promised such an error would “not occur again,” organizers stepped on Chile’s anthem and played Pitbull instead.
“Mr. Worldwide” suddenly became even more worldwide than he imagined.
On Sunday night, before Uruguay’s opening match against Mexico, its team was “honored” with the national anthem of Chile.
On Monday night, when it was Chile’s turn to play Argentina, its anthem did come out of the loudspeakers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, but it faded out halfway through, only to be replaced by Pitbull intoning, “Mr. Worldwide … Becky G … Let’s set the world on fire.”
The confused Chilean team – only the reigning champions of the Copa América, which is normally contested only by South American teams – valiantly tried to keep singing the next verse of their anthem.
Maybe the mistake undermined the psyche of the players: Both teams whose anthem was botched went on to lose the match: Argentina defeated Chile, 2-1, and Mexico beat Uruguay 3-1.
After the Uruguay snafu, the tournament issued a statement reading, “This evening during the pre-match ceremony, due to human error, we inadvertently played the incorrect national anthem. We sincerely apologize to the Uruguayan Federation, the Uruguay national team, the people of Uruguay and to the fans for this mistake. We will work with all parties involved to ensure such an error does not occur again.”
The song that played in place of the Chilean anthem is “Superstars,” by Pitbull and Becky G, the Copa América Centenario’s official song.
According to Sports Illustrated, organizers said that the recording of the anthem that was used had been selected by the Chilean delegation. As for “Superstars”? The song -- just happened to be the next one on the stadium’s playlist.
These are not the first such instances at a U.S. stadium hosting a Latin national squad. Last March, before a friendly between Argentina and El Salvador, at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C., the stadium blared out the anthem of the Isle of Man in the U.K., rather than Salvador’s.