Feb 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group D – Ghana 3 Serbia 0

FT//26 comments • 895 views

A quick check of the FIFA site says I’ve been promoting the Group D clashes in the wrong order – so today it’s Serbia taking on Ghana in the group opener. Ghana are managed by Ben Graham, and Serbia‘s gaffer is Tim Emanuel. Both countries made it through the group stage last time (Serbia still in a pop federation with Montenegro) so expectations are high, even in this strong group.

Also, a quick clarification on the SCORING RULES since I haven’t mentioned them since the first match. To get a win and 3 points, you need to get 58% or more of the vote. 43-57 gets you a draw and 1 point. 42 or less is a defeat. Final group positions are decided based on the points, then on cumulative percentage over the 3 games, then on votes. Phew! Anyone can vote, and this match ends at midnight on the 24th February.

GHANA: Ayigbe Edem ft Sarkodie – “Give It Up” The manager says: “Some in Accra have questioned Ben Graham’s managerial ability, and his selection of two inexperienced young players for the tough opening encounter with Serbia is sure to raise even more eyebrows. The two frontrunners for ‘Discovery of the Year’ at the 2010 Ghana Music Awards, Ayigbe Edem and Sarkodie team up here, as the manager unveils an attacking formation, hoping to catch the Serbians by surprise.”

SERBIA: JK – “Insomnia” The manager says – “This is Insomnia by JK [Jelena Karleusa]. It’s the title track from the Serbian pop veteran’s forthcoming 11th album.”

Group D Match 1: Which track did you prefer?

  • Ghana: Ayigbe Edem ft Sarkodie 74%
  • Serbia: JK 26%

Total Voters: 62

Poll closes: 24 Feb 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: “A very positive start from both teams – they clearly see this as an opportunity for three points in a tough group. These Ghanaians are a technical side, playing a skilful possession game though I wonder if some of their younger players might be prone to a little showboating. The Serbs are more direct and more physical – as is often the way with the smaller European sides their final ball might let them down. Whatever the result, an exciting clash.”

Results: GREECE 1 SOUTH KOREA 1 – Korean players angrily surrounded the referee after Greece’s injury-time equaliser denied them all three points. “This is a tough one – two tracks with something excellent (Speed-bouzouki and inventive cut-up electro-hip-hop bits) and something not so good (boring europop vocals and autotune)” “that electric bouzouki or whatever it is has really got under my skin.” “South Korea for the win from where I sit; in energy as well as pure style they’ve left Greece panting and clutching their knees all over the field.”

Coming Up! Tomorrow Germany take on Australia, and join us on Monday as Holland open their campaign against Denmark.


  1. 1
    Tom on 18 Feb 2010 #

    Can’t believe I forgot the poll! Hold on… there you go.

  2. 2
    Alan not logged in on 18 Feb 2010 #

    it’s open results at the moment too.

  3. 3
    Tom on 18 Feb 2010 #

    Comical moments as the ref loses his whistle at kick-off.

  4. 4
    Ewan on 18 Feb 2010 #

    This is a really tough match to judge! It could go either way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the teams’ respective strengths cancel each other out and this ends up a goalless draw, though it certainly won’t be a boring one to watch.

  5. 5
    Tom on 18 Feb 2010 #

    The substitute Ghana bring on near the end is quite something, though I can imagine his endless stepovers infuriating some spectators.

    Tempted by Ghana here – the Serbia track has everything a modern pop song needs except a killer chorus, but maybe future plays will reveal it can do without one.

  6. 6
    Kat but logged out innit on 18 Feb 2010 #

    Entertaining play from both sides – Serbia’s defensive hoover tactics battling Ghana’s dexterity on the ball. I might have to listen to both again in extra time before I vote!

  7. 7
    Ben on 18 Feb 2010 #

    Ghana manager says: I have the utmost respect for Tim and his Serbian team and was expecting a tough tactical battle. Both sides like to play fluid attacking music so it should be a good game for the neutral. It’s vital to get off to a good start in such a tough group, we can’t afford any slip-ups. I’ve reminded my players of the importance of keeping focused for the full 90 minutes. Go Ghana!

  8. 8
    Adrian on 18 Feb 2010 #

    I really do respect Ghana here, playing a good game.

    Serbia is in fact a REAL footballer’s wife, which combined with frenzy-pop, wins it for me. I’ve never had insomnia that sounded like that before, mind.

  9. 9
    Matt DC on 18 Feb 2010 #

    That’s some performance from the Ghanaian sub there towards the end. But it’s no mere fannydangle, it’s a magnificent solo effort, collecting the ball at the half way line then leaving three defenders on their arse, wrong-footing the keeper and putting the ball right into the top corner. He then runs the length of the pitch to soak up the applause from the Ghanaian fans. I’m a sucker for ridiculous fast and fluent rapping in languages I can’t understand, but for me that’s still the best individual goal of the tournament so far.

    Serbia gamely hoof it forward and I like the electro backing a lot here, but like so many Eastern European teams in these tournaments they fall down in front of goal with a naff vocalist. So Ghana for me.

  10. 10
    Dave on 18 Feb 2010 #

    I’m giving this one to Ghana for a true team effort — Serbia’s flash and bang, though it flashes and bangs admirably, gets in a few crucial early points but then succumbs to general fatigue. Ghana’s in it for the long haul.

  11. 11
    Jonathan Bogart on 19 Feb 2010 #

    Ghana may be accused of showboating, but to my mind they’ve proven themselves to have the skills to back it up. Star players or no star players, if you can score that consistently and strongly you deserve the win.

    Meanwhile, Serbia’s forward lineup attempts to showboat and falls flat on its face. Cybernetic enhancements are really only valuable in certain styles of play, and their weedy, falling-to-the-ground-at-the-hint-of-a-tackle performance does them no favors.

    Both teams’ defensive sides do excellent work, but here again I have to give the edge to Ghana: their clipped, efficient power makes up for what foolhardy attackers might think of as sparse coverage. Serbia’s old-world elegance looks pretty on paper, but there’s not a chance in the world they can keep up with those blur-legged forwards.

  12. 12
    Martin Skidmore on 19 Feb 2010 #

    I like the end of the Ghanaian track, with what sounds like an old bloke babbling on unstoppably – I see Abedi Pele called in for the last 10 minutes of a must-win match and dribbling through four defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home from a tight angle. So despite consistently strong play from Serbia, Pele’s dramatic injury time winner gives it to Ghana.

  13. 13
    Steve Mannion on 20 Feb 2010 #

    I can only echo above comments re the Ghanaian supersub but it’s a solid performance from them generally despite an early synth-brass howler nearly gifting their opponents an early lead. Serbia could find themselves losing without actually playing too badly themselves. I’m expecting a draw but Matt’s right re goal of the tournament so far!

  14. 14
    koganbot on 21 Feb 2010 #

    Holy cow! This is the match of the tournament so far. Serbia comes on running like a hurricane and slicing with AutoTune, scoring while the Ghanaians have barely warmed up. They keep pushing, riffing the freestyle so that the attack never goes stale; and while the striker tends to tire herself out, she’s got support on the left side by equally deft teammates. Yet the Ghanaians counter with the most versatile performance we’ve seen, employing freestyle and misdirection of their own, nonstop glides and passes that look easy and unhurried, but they evade tackles and baffle defenders with complete aplomb. Seem to have an unending number of strikers as well, one stepping forward, another moving into support, quick footwork and subtle headwork. They score an equalizer, the Serbians respond with yet more ferocity, but the ball tends to stay with Ghana, and Serbia finally has trouble taking it away. My deep respect to Serbia, but congratulations to Ghana for the better performance.

  15. 15
    jeff w on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Both these songs are in the same key. Which I remark upon just to highlight that the two tracks may in fact have more similarities than differences, in spite of appearances. I do like Ghana’s speed-rapper and yes, he’s certainly worth a goal. On the other hand, Serbia’s all round attacking play cannot be denied. If they grab at least a point by the final whistle then it will only be justice IMHO.

  16. 16
    lex on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Both solid 7/10 tracks for me; standard, not spectacular. The speed-rapper pushes GHA into the lead, I think. I’ve heard a bit of Jelena Karleusa before (isn’t she the daughter of a Mafia boss or something? Or a Serbian MP?) and suspect that this is the kind of manic turbo-folk she’s pumped out in her sleep for most of her career.

  17. 17
    Matt DC on 22 Feb 2010 #

    A quick search reveals her to be the WAG of soon-to-be-unemployed Portsmouth defender Duško Tošić, so she may have fallen on hard times lately.

  18. 18
    Birdseed on 24 Feb 2010 #

    The team quality here is amazing – generally both teams are incredibly solid at all positions, potentially making this perhaps the best and hardest-fought game in the contest so far. Let’s see if it translates to a good game…

    Ghana start of a bit confused, but some beautifully timed harmony between the midfielders and strikers sees them score an early surprise opener, before settling into a well-considered pace to keep the opponents at bay. Serbia’s marvellous oriental-melismatic-autotune attack seems to no avail, until just after the break a quick set-piece that seems to borrow from bhangra more than any middle-eastern tactics gets them a quick goal. Soon afterwards they score again with the autotune, which sends Ghana on a mad pace to try to catch up – scoring one with only the last quarter to go, it’s all apace, and should rightly be a draw – until Serbia sends in another autotune-delivered beauty. 3-2 to Serbia, what a belter of a game!

  19. 19
    Tom on 24 Feb 2010 #

    You only have until the end of today to vote in this!

  20. 20
    Tom on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Brutal result for the Serbs.

  21. 21
    Steve Mannion on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Woah yeah this is harsh. Cruelly denied at least one goal the Serbs, never offside!

  22. 22
    weej on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I think the biggest lesson of the tournament so far is “avoid autotune”.

  23. 23
    Ben on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Woo-hoo! Go Ghana!

  24. 24
    Lex on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I’m shocked this was so one-sided.

    WTF is people’s issue with Autotune?

  25. 25
    Tom on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I don’t think the autotune’s a problem necessarily – South Korea came within a vote of winning and used it to the max.

    I think what happened here is a lot of people (me included!) liked both and decided Ghana edged it, and it ended up with a one-sided vote that didn’t really reflect the balance of play. Congratulations to the Ghana manager though and I hope the Serbians can bounce back in their next game.

  26. 26
    Matt DC on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I think autotune is very easy to employ badly and quite difficult to use well. That said I’m not sure autotune was necessarily Serbia’s problem in this game.

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