Mar 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group A – France 4 Mexico 2

FT/23 comments • 793 views

Well this is going to be a titanic struggle, if either France or Mexico lose this one they’re on the first flight to face the brickbats (and possibly bricks) of the fans back home. Tom and Alex will both be hoping it’s not their head the press are calling for…

Voting for this match ends at midnight on 15 March.

FRANCE:  Françoiz Breut – “Si Tu Disais” The Manager Says: “One of those songs that feels on first listen as though it’s always existed somewhere, such is the ease with which Françoiz Breut – original stage name Françoiz Brrr – taps into a familiar strain of pensive, elegantly (re)strained melancholy. Taken from her (thoroughly excellent) 2000 sophomore album Vingt à trente mille jours.”

MEXICO:  Los Dug Dug’s – “Smog” The Manager Says:  “In our first game we were very much playing to the crowd back home, and failed to ingratiate ourselves with the global audience that had tuned in for the opening salvo of the tournament. Now, with a pressing need to get points on the board, the changes have been rung, the big name players have been dropped, and a group of veterans from the Mexican league with little international experience have been called up. In spite of this, they play a forceful, compelling game, recognised the world over, and the management are confident that they won’t be over-awed by the occasion.”

Group A Match 4: Which song did you prefer?

  • France: Françoiz Breut 67%
  • Mexico: Les Dug Dug's 33%

Total Voters: 60

Poll closes: 15 Mar 2010 @ 23:58

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Commentary Box Analysis: “Beguiling chamber pop from the French here, but will it have the skills to get past the muscle and the FLUTE of this pacy Mexico attack? This is the first real decider in PWC10, who will take it?”

Result! Brazil 0 North Korea 4 It’s like Ayresome Park against the Italians all over again Brian, but should we really be that surprised? Lord High Everything Else Mullah Resmat knows how to pick teams to impress the crowd. North Korea is going to go far in the tournament on this form. It’s just like watching Brazil! Except rubbish. Their performance is ridiculously good. They talked the talk, and they’re walking the walk. Acrobatic gracefulness and fluidity that is more than a match for the Brazilians’ somewhat oafish up-the-center tactics.

Coming up: Group B is tighter than a tight pudding, what will Argentina and South Korea have to lift them above the rest of the teams? I hand you over to my co-anchor (i said anchor) TimH…


  1. 1
    CarsmileSteve on 9 Mar 2010 #

    FLUTE is clearly the Claude Makelele of PWC10…

  2. 2
    Tom on 9 Mar 2010 #

    This is possibly my game of the tournament so far – the French track is the loveliest thing anyone’s played; the Mexico gaffer has been canny though and gone for the tactics which got Uruguay a win against them, except LES DUG DUG’S are even better than Los Shakers because they’re more primitive and harder in the tackle.

    I’m voting for France though: a real find.

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 9 Mar 2010 #

    The French team’s tactic of holding a pre-match huddle, while sharing a sacramental madeleine sees them enter the playing field with muttered cries of “Pour Piaf! Pour Gainsbourg! Pour Hallyday!’ and their glowering passion to win is matched by their existential attitude on the ball.
    Mexico appear callow in comparison and despite some attractive flute work up front lack depth in defence.
    A win for France.

  4. 4
    Kat but logged out innit on 9 Mar 2010 #

    A great match here, both sides fighting to the death for those crucial points. France just tip it for me.

  5. 5
    Matt DC on 9 Mar 2010 #

    Zut alors! Ce n’est pas the sort of backs-to-the-wall performance you’d expect from a French side staring the humiliation of early elimination in the face. But stare it in the face they do, and then come through with astonishing composure, grace and poise, that string arrangement is pure loveliness.

    By contrast Mexico try their hand at an aggressive snarling, blustery desert rock game but it doesn’t quite work for me. It could do with being noisier, heavier, nastier. Also while the flute works as trilling psychedelic effect on the main riff, there’s too much of it, too far forward in the mix, and when the solo kicks in it just gets annoying.

    Easy win for France here I’d say – their lightness is a virtue, Mexico just feel lightweight.

  6. 6
    Matt DC on 9 Mar 2010 #

    Incidentally I recommend that everyone type ‘Los Dug Dugs’ into Google Image Search because their record slaves are amazing. They manage to tick every box when it comes to ridiculous 70s rock costumes (namely pastoral hippies, kaftan dudes and spangly space wizards).

  7. 7
    Martin Skidmore on 9 Mar 2010 #

    Matt is spot on, I think.

  8. 8
    Rob Hakimian on 9 Mar 2010 #

    C’est magnifique! This is a magnificent display from a French side picked from the relative unknown of the French domestic leagues and coming up trumps. Alex Macpherson is truly the Arsene Wenger of the competition.

  9. 9
    Birdseed on 9 Mar 2010 #

    I’m happy to see the French tactics working out well so far, it seems like a fruitful way to go forward for other teams as well, then.

    That said, I’m a sucker for unusual classical midlfielders deployed in free roles, so it’s Mexico all the way for me.

  10. 10
    mm on 9 Mar 2010 #

    The crowds are doing the mexican wave but, crucially, for Mexico’s opponent — and I can’t help but feel that the mass suggestion is making the French out to be a little bit richer than they actually appear on the pitch. Pleasant, admirable stuff, sure, but I’m not decided on my vote just yet (even if early reports suggest a comfortable win regardless).

  11. 11
    fernando on 9 Mar 2010 #

    It’s champagne football from the french side vs an anti-pot song on the other. The mexicans got the flute but the finesse of the french does it for me.

  12. 12
    jeff w on 10 Mar 2010 #

    Mexico song is fab! This is why 70s pop trounces all other decades for pop, people. (OK, I’m guessing it’s from the 70s, but it sure sounds like it)

    Mz Breut I have come across before, when I was living in Brussels. In fact I may have even heard this very track previously, as it was her big single of “La Rentrée” 2000 and has appeared on several Le Pop Nouveau comps. I didn’t really take to her. Not as soporific as Keren Ann, for sure, but still not really my thing.

  13. 13
    koganbot on 10 Mar 2010 #

    Mexico’s bearded, flute-playing center threatens to make everyone else superfluous, his flute being a propeller, a telescope, or a golf club as needed. Problem is getting him the ball: the French play a vulnerable, open game, but make no mistakes, their deceptively slow and subtle shifts keeping the Mexicans off-balance – which is how the Mexicans like to play, but sometimes the energetic somersaults and cartwheels are simply the band’s putting a good face on their tendency to lose their footing. France takes this match impressively, against a fascinating foe.

  14. 14
    weej on 11 Mar 2010 #

    What a match! Both sides fighting hard for survival. Really hard to choose between these two, both would beat 90% of what we’ve had so far.

  15. 15
    Jonathan Bogart on 15 Mar 2010 #

    France for me — I may roll my eyes at the manager’s press conferences but his fielding skill has been unparalleled — and even laughably so. With a pop bench as deep as any country on earth’s, why Mexico is digging into the vaults for a slice of progressive buffoonery mixed to sound like Jethro Tull left their amplifiers in the bus is a mystery to me. They play as though hoping the referees are big fans of campy irony, while France, its lone striker backed up by a wall of strings that have their own progressive debt (they sound like the Mellotron on an early Moody Blues album), simply saunters up the center and nods the ball into the goal.

  16. 16
    Tom on 15 Mar 2010 #

    This match closes tonight!

  17. 17
    Tim on 16 Mar 2010 #

    Well done France on what turned out to be a convincing victory in an excellent game.

  18. 18
    Lex on 16 Mar 2010 #


    I really encourage everyone who enjoyed this to check out Vingt à trente mille jours, it’s a great album (and on Spotify) – I had to deliberate whether to play this, “Portsmouth”, “Il n’y a pas d’hommes dans les coulisses”, “Je ne veux pas quitter” or “Le verre pilé”. For my part I’m going to be investigating more of her albums, this is the only one I own and that needs to be rectified.

    *blows kisses to all four corners of the court in manner of a victorious Maria Sharapova*

  19. 19
    Matt DC on 16 Mar 2010 #

    Deserved victory for France here but it looks like poor Mexico are on the first plane home.

  20. 20
    Tom Schaller on 16 Mar 2010 #

    Darn. I felt confident coming into this game, but I have to take my hat off to the French – I don’t think there would be too many teams in this competition who could have matched that performance. This has been a very tough group.

    At least it means we can go into our last game with the pressure off. Although, what happens if South Africa beat France and we beat Uruguay, thereby leaving three teams on three points? Goal difference?

  21. 21
    Tom on 16 Mar 2010 #

    Yes – Mexico aren’t QUITE on the plane yet though the suitcases are certainly packed.

    If the scenario Tom outlines happens then 2nd place is decided by cumulative percentages or vote totals, I am going to consult with my fellow organisers to work this out.

    Similarly, if Uruguay and France both win then SA might yet be out of the competition with six points on the board.

    All still to play for!

  22. 22
    Matt DC on 16 Mar 2010 #

    From a managerial POV I’d say that cumulative percentages would be fairer as the number of votes is tending to vary from match to match. It’s closer to goal difference as well.

  23. 23
    Tom on 16 Mar 2010 #

    Yeah that was my thinking. Percentile difference would give nice and easily understandable +/- numbers too.

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