Holy Pinto’s Guide to the 2018 World Cup

Cross-cultural exploration is major theme for Holy Pinto, the indie-pop project of English musician Aymen Saleh.

Following the release of Holy Pinto’s debut album Congratulations, Saleh decided to take his show on the road. He relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and embarked on a tour of rural America. While his quintessentially British pop might seem out of place in small Midwestern towns, Saleh forges ahead with infectious cheer and confidence. He’s warmly received by local audiences, who appreciate his earnest affability. The video for his latest single “Gold Leaf” depicts his performance at a tiny settlement in Nebraska. Saleh’s love for the intimate locale shines through in the video. He’s making a name for himself with his unique approach, forgoing the comforts of settled life to pursue his musical dreams.

Saleh’s charm is rooted in his honesty; he never pretends to be anything he’s not. Originally from Canterbury, England, Saleh’s accent is unmistakable as he belts out his lyrics. Like any good Englishman, Saleh is a soccer (aka football) fan. He shared his thoughts on the World Cup with us, providing insightful analysis from a true British perspective.

Check out the video for “Gold Leaf,” the latest single from Holy Pinto’s upcoming EP Tales from the Traveling T-Shirt Salesman, and scroll down for Saleh’s World Cup predictions!


2018 World Cup Guide by Aymen Saleh

Since I’ve been known as the Gary Neville of the music scene for a while now, and my father’s name is Mohammed Saleh, (which, let’s be honest, is basically the same as the star footballer Mohamed Salah), I thought I’d use my new-found “expertise” to weigh in here with some things to watch at the World Cup.

Who’s gonna win it: Argentina
They looked completely void of all joy against Iceland the other day, but I think they’ll do it. Expect to see them hobble through the group stage and Messi will drag them through the final, somehow.

Dark horse of the tournament: Russia
Although not a great team, they seem to be playing with the belief and confidence that a host nation should possess. Cheryshev scored two sublime goals in the opener and he seems to have found his shooting boots in the subsequent game too – they’ll be getting through to the latter stages.

Player of the tournament: Leroy Sané (Germany)
The only issue here is that after I made this call, Leroy actually wasn’t picked to be in the squad and isn’t even at the World Cup. Germany’s decision to leave him out was just as baffling and stupid as the “Mo Salah deliberately faked his injury in the Champions League Final so he could be fit for the World Cup” conspiracy theory that my friend Nate told me the other week. I still stand by my prediction though, and I’m sure he’s currently playing some wonderful stuff on some beach in Dubai, right now.

The (actually-participating) player of the tournament: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
I wish I had an original hot-take on this, but we’re only one game in and Cristiano’s already scored at a hat-trick against Spain. He’ll be making nations of people cry until at least the quarter finals.

England’s chances of winning it: Pretty dire, though I hold hope we’ll get to the quarterfinals.
The opening game against Tunisia was pretty standard fare. We squandered what felt like a thousand chances and only just managed to scrape a win because Tunisia’s defense cleverly decided not to mark Harry Kane, our best player, in the 6 yard box. You can’t miss a single one of those chances if you’re going to beat any of the stronger teams in a knockout tournament. I like a lot of the players and Gareth Southgate seems to have carried himself with a lot of dignity in his handling of the media (a typically tough part of any England World Cup campaign), and I really do want to see this particular bunch do well.