Feb 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group E – Denmark 1 Holland 4

FT//31 comments • 1,035 views

Group E of the Pop World Cup brings us our first all-European match of the tournament: Holland take on Denmark in this opening game. The Dutch have a poor recent record at international pop and will be looking to manager Iain Forrester to revive their fortunes. Following Sweden’s shocking failure to qualify the Danes are the only Nordic representatives at the PWC: a region’s hopes rest on Rob Hakimian‘s shoulders.

Vote away, and this match will run until midnight on the 28th February.

DENMARK:Sukkerchok – “Kaemper For Kaerlighed” The manager says – “In recent years Denmark has become one of the leading countries for supplying art-rock bands, which leaves me with several interesting options for this tournament. However for this opening fixture I have decided to start with an unchanged lineup of unabashed dance-pop; what Scandinavia is known best for. I present to you Sukkerchok. Regardless of what their name looks like it means, the true meaning is “sugar shock,” which is exactly what I expect them to bring to the table in this fixture. Their energy will give them zip in their speed, fizz in their passes and crunch in their tackles; they will completely outdo their opponents in all areas of the pitch. Such is the amount of energy that these young guns are known for that the offers to be the face of Lucozade’s Scandinavian advertising campaign are already rolling in.”

HOLLAND: Caro Emerald – “Back It Up” The manager says: “I’ve chosen to give a newcomer a starring role for the first match, but Caro is very well versed in classic tactics (well, jazz tactics) and has some neat tricks up her sleeve. Addictive retro pop with hopefully enough skill to outclass the Danes.”

Group E Match 1: Which track did you prefer?

  • Holland: Caro Emerald 73%
  • Denmark: Sukkerchok 27%

Total Voters: 79

Poll closes: 28 Feb 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: “Games between two European sides are always likely to produce some classic Europop tactics – the Danish formation might seem predictable but the fans won’t mind if they can get the 3 points. Holland though are staying away from Route One, playing a fluid, pretty passing game.”

RESULTS! England 0 USA 2: England left the field with their tails between their legs after a woeful performance. USA could have scored a hatful as their opposition crumbled, though a still more emphatic scoreline would have flattered this youthful but sloppy side. “With this level of commitment, neither side really deserves to go through to the next round.” “The English wear their passion like weights on their legs” “Something fresher is needed to combat the USA’s dazzling high-octane skills.” “That noise you hear after both tracks is the sound of millions of pounds of sponsorship money pissing up a wall.”

Coming Up! Cameroon play Japan tomorrow in Group E’s other game, then on Thursday it’s Italy v Paraguay in Group F.


  1. 1
    Kat but logged out innit on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Excellent stuff! Vibrant, flowing play from both sides – a pleasure to watch and too close to call from where I’m standing. Penalty shoot-out maybe?

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 22 Feb 2010 #

    In a group game? I doubt it…

  3. 3
    Kat but logged out innit on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Doh. You can tell how much actual football I watch.

  4. 4
    lex on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Great stuff from NED – love her poise and sense of timing. It’s a big tune, but she doesn’t overplay it – she holds back, it’s all in the details of her phrasing, her judicious pauses and “mm-hmm”s. Only negative is the slightly cheesy scratching towards the end, oh Europe will your pop ever rid itself of naffness.

    That said NED could have got away with a great deal less against DEN, whose play here is dated, predictable and joyless. Dance, where the drug of choice is a Haliborange. Completely neutered and pointless.

  5. 5
    Tom on 22 Feb 2010 #

    I’m less hostile to the Danish track than Lex – solid enough, good chorus, might have held worse opposition to a draw… but the Dutch track is a bit of a find. I’ll be interested to see how it holds up over future listens – might even find my way to getting the album…

  6. 6
    Matt DC on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Yeah Holland are completely outclassing Denmark here. I thought we were in for a real firework display when I heard those cracking drums at the start of the Denmark track but then it lapses into pretty tepid route-one eurobosh. That didn’t really work as a tactic for Holland in 2006 and Denmark have now fallen into the same trap.

  7. 7
    mm on 22 Feb 2010 #

    Sukkerchok has a great melody, though, and delivery too I think. It’s classic stuff, for sure, but performed with enough self-confidence and pizzaz to thrill.

    Holland’s choice is an example of strong craft and a pleasant result.. but in my opinion even more conservative and safe. Denmark it is.

  8. 8
    Steve Mannion on 22 Feb 2010 #

    The Danish track is actually the kind of thing I’ve been expecting South Korea or Japan to deploy at some stage. At the same time, as with Greece, a sense of mid 90s Eurovision feel is hard to shake off but it’s suitably pumped and tho not one I’d go back to, tolerable fare – I agree with Tom.

    The Dutch are bouncing around the park at a slower pace but with some elegance. I think they’re lacking the touch to really kill this game off but I can see them winning by one goal and that’s all it takes Gabby.

  9. 9
    swanstep on 23 Feb 2010 #

    The Dutch track’s a cracker… total football indeed.

  10. 10
    koganbot on 23 Feb 2010 #

    The Danish coach has drawn up a gorgeous gameplan, and the team are well-drilled. Seem to be lacking in passion, though, and they’re faced with a Dutch back line that embodies total love for the game, you can feel buoyancy even as they shift their feet. Although the Dutch strikers are too restrained by their debutante affectations, they’ve got an inner fire and they stroke the ball in a precise line; they’ll be hard to stop.

  11. 11
    jeff w on 23 Feb 2010 #

    Netherlands song reminds me strongly of the varied output of August Darnell. This is a good thing obv. I’m not writing off the Danes yet though.

  12. 12
    Pete on 23 Feb 2010 #

    It seems we are not in a position where singing in the mother tongue vs English is having much of an effect, not that the language the Danes are singing in would make much difference. The Dutch track is another order of quality though, the song itself isn’t all that interesting but she tackles it with the right kind of lacksadaiscal aplomb. Part of me would like to throw the Danes a bone, but this is looking a bit one sided, at least until the scratching and then it becomes some kind of 1980’s hell. Still the Netherlands have Nether sounded this good.

  13. 13
    Martin Skidmore on 23 Feb 2010 #

    The Denmark track sounds generic, and even though it’s a genre I always quite like, I am much keener on the Dutch Lily Allen.

  14. 14
    Birdseed on 24 Feb 2010 #

    Fairly paceless from both sides, though I should send a sympathy vote to the other manager who, like me, thought this was Eurovision. Holland are a smidgen groovier, unfortunately.

  15. 15
    CarsmileSteve on 24 Feb 2010 #

    martin on the money here, i think, dutch lily-as-produced-by-all-seeing-i gets it from me as well.

  16. 16
    Adrian on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Steve Mannion – Mid 90s Eurovision was all dull Irish balladry and Celtic twee-ness. This is mid-2000s Eurovision, all europop, stilted drumming and dancebeats. And probably some strutting.

    So much so that Sukkerchok have tried to enter Eurovision for Denmark twice in recent years. And get my vote.

  17. 17
    Tim on 25 Feb 2010 #


  18. 18
    Lex on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Yes, on the subject of Eurovision again, can all managers be reminded that THIS IS NOT SODDING EUROVISION and anything that smells of it will AUTOMATICALLY LOSE MY VOTE.

  19. 19
    Birdseed on 25 Feb 2010 #

    What’s wrong with Eurovision?

  20. 20
    Matt DC on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Europop Vase, call it by its name.

  21. 21
    weej on 26 Feb 2010 #

    Denmark seem to be content to stick to the pedestrian tactics that did well for them in the 90s. Holland’s combination of jazz, hip-hop and, um, Lily Allen works a charm. An easy vote, this one.

  22. 22
    Jonathan Bogart on 27 Feb 2010 #

    Lily Allen? If she had a voice, maybe.

    But yes, faux-satin retro soul-jazz-cum-ska has it over tinny lycra eurodisco any day of the week. (Though when did scratching become a bad thing? Eric B for President, still.) All managers are hereby put on notice: if your track includes marimbas I WILL AUTOMATICALLY VOTE FOR IT.

  23. 23
    Tom on 28 Feb 2010 #

    You have the rest of today to vote in this.

  24. 24
    Garry on 1 Mar 2010 #

    The Danes lack any tactical sophistication, and just play it safe with a well known formation. The Dutch are in tune with the latest, fashionable tactics, though one which is a UK variant something US shed a while ago. Both teams are professionals, so it’s less about skill but everything to do with finding flexibility in well known formations, and the Dutch just shade it.

  25. 25
    Tom on 1 Mar 2010 #

    A thumping win for the Dutch.

  26. 26
    Pete on 1 Mar 2010 #

    No big surprise there Brian.

  27. 27
    koganbot on 1 Mar 2010 #

    Rob, I enjoyed your track, even though I ended up voting for the opposition. But I have a question for you that has nothing to do with the Pop World Cup, which is why I’ve held off asking until the match was over.

    I clicked the link on your name through to One Thirty BPM, and I was wondering if your connection to One Thirty BPM goes beyond your just writing for them. The reason I ask is the first thing I did when I got to the site was read the piece, “Why Taylor Swift Won Album Of The Year,” not by you, and it seemed as if the fellow who wrote it hadn’t actually listened to Taylor’s albums, since he said things that were demonstrably untrue, and projected stereotypes onto her that she doesn’t actually conform to. Now, people say ignorant things about music all the time on the ‘Net, so this is hardly shocking; nonetheless, when intelligent, congenial people sneeringly dismiss something they don’t understand, there is value in challenging them. (Not that I have any idea if the guy who wrote the piece is an intelligent, congenial person, but I might as well hypothesize that until I find out otherwise.) So, is it worth pursuing this issue? And is it worth pursuing it with you?

  28. 28
    Rob Hakimian on 3 Mar 2010 #


    well I write for onethirtybpm and do a bit of editing, but I didn’t have anything to do with that piece. I speak to Brent (the author) often and he’s a nice guy and surely didn’t mean to sound nasty towards Taylor or condescending to her fans. I guess he probably hasn’t heard it but he does follow American pop culture quite closely, which is probably why he has strong opinions but evidently doesn’t qualify him fully to pass judgement.
    He’s not the only person I’ve heard speaking in the same way on this issue; renowned American critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kott had similar things to say on their Sound Opinions podcast, but perhaps they’ve heard the whole album, I can’t say.
    If you want to pursue it I’m certainly not the person to talk to as I can’t speak for Brent. If you feel strongly you can email onethirtybpm@gmail.com
    anyway thanks for reading, even if you didn’t like the things we said, I hope it doesn’t put you off The site entirely. I really believe this site has potential and any constructive criticism is welcome.

  29. 29
    Brent Koepp on 6 Mar 2010 #

    Actually, I have heard her albums before – and I find her music to be generic, and her lyrics to be juvenile at best. I’ve also seen a good amount of live footage, and I do not think she is the best singer. So when her vocals are “okay”, and the songwriting is mediocre, then there isn’t much worth raving about. If you disagree with me, that is 100% fine. But at the end of the day music is Subjective, and we all have opinions. To suggest that I have never taken the time to listen to her music is just false. Altho I should point out I was not reviewing her music, simply stating my opinion on how I felt the music awards played out. Yes, I recognize that I threw some shots at her (regarding her musical ability) – and I still stand by this. I’m sorry if you don’t agree.

    I for one, do not think she deserved album of the year by a long shot. Even if I were to enjoy her music, there is nothing about her that shows “album of the year” or “artist of the year” to me, outside of sales and popularity.

    I’m not really sure what else you want me to say? I’m sorry for having an opinion that differs from yours. Even though I disagree with what you are saying on here, I have the decency say that I think you are an intelligent person. I appreciate the feedback, and I assure you I have actually heard her albums front to back.

    At the end of the day, listen to what you love. If that is Taylor Swift, then damn the haters.

    Lastly, the site has a diverse amount of writers, with varying opinion. I hope that you don’t think the whole site is shit – just because you don’t like what I have to say.

  30. 30
    koganbot on 2 May 2010 #

    Ah, didn’t see this response until just now.

    Sorry, I didn’t need to be so rough in the way I wrote that, but what threw me was your claim right at the start that Taylor Swift “isn’t singing about sex,” which simply is not true – unless by “singing about sex” you mean “doesn’t describe sexual intercourse in the way that, say, Rihanna* presents an elaborate metaphor for the sex act in ‘Shut Up And Drive.'” In Taylor’s teen world they’re driving as a prelude to parking, but sex is sure at issue during those nights on lover’s lane, even if in “Tim McGraw,” for instance, the song doesn’t specify whether Taylor is having intercourse or just making out. (And obv the song might be fiction, but that’s not the point.) And you can say she doesn’t specify exactly how far the cheating boyfriend went in “Should’ve Said No.” And it’s her friend’s not her own sex life that’s dealt with in “Tied Together With A Smile,” and it’s another friend who gives “everything she had to a boy who changed his mind” in “Fifteen” (though Taylor has a boy of her own in that one, and age fifteen was when she wrote “Tim McGraw”). She’s coy in the fakeout in “Our Song” (“He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel/And the other one on my [pause] heart”)(not to mention this fakeout). But the point is that Taylor in her complexity isn’t living or performing according to the stereotyped dichotomy of your piece, with its smirking contrast between parents’ wet dreams/Disney’s erection and Taylor’s supposed avoidance of the subject of sex. I’m fine with you designating her a wholesome role model so long as wholesomeness can include sexiness and being sexually active while wrestling with and thinking about consequences, but no one would get that from the way you frame the issue.

    *Taylor covers Rihanna and Beyoncé in concert, so it’s not like she’s drawing a line between herself and the pop world.

  31. 31
    Iain F on 5 Feb 2012 #

    Has been quite interesting to see Caro Emerald slowly actually become successful in the UK since the Pop World Cup! Nice to be ahead of the curve.

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