Mar 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group G – Brazil 0 North Korea 4

FT//28 comments • 1,197 views

Group G’s second game sees Brazil take on North Korea. Brazil are the most successful side ever in the football World Cup – in pop competition they are more of a sleeping giant, and it’s down to Chris Ambrose to revive their fortunes. As for North Korea, it’s been more than 40 years since anyone in the West has even seen them play: Mark Sinker is the spokesperson for their management team.

Despite formal protests from the DPRK’s representatives we will still be using the concept of “voting” to decide the outcome of this match. You have until midnight on the 8th March.

BRAZIL: Los Hermanos – “Quem Sabe” The manager says – “The famously tight-lipped Chris Ambrose is going to let his game do the talking in this first match.”

NORTH KOREA: Wangjaesan Light Music Band – “Singosan Taryeong” The manager says – “Victorious Greetings from the Hermit Kingdom! Prepare dismally to grasp all you know is wrong, by the medium of HOT YOUNG DPRK WOMEN PERFORMING LEGGY PEOPLE’S ROCK WITH KEYTARS AND EVERYTHING. The Wangjaesan Light Music Band soar above your puny imperialiist tweetings. “Singosan taryeong” is a puissant polyform ballad in which peasant and proletariat, united, surge across the ploughed fields to defeat the emaciated lion of individualistic delusion. Let the barbarian “jazz” of the pitiful outer layers roar and whine in feeble acknowledgment: ALL SHALL WORSHIP US AND DESPAIR.”

Group G Match 2: Which track did you prefer?

  • North Korea: Wangjaesan Light Music Band 77%
  • Brazil: Los Hermanos 23%

Total Voters: 62

Poll closes: 8 Mar 2010 @ 23:55

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COMMENTARY BOX ANALYSIS: “A physical ska-rock formation isn’t what neutrals necessarily expect from Brazil, and it’ll be interesting to see how well these direct tactics work against a Korean side with a lot more individual flair than I think many anticipated.”

RESULT! Cameroon 1 Japan 1: Cameroon had by far the better of the first half but faded badly in the face of a Japanese fightback and can consider themselves very lucky to have escaped with a point. “Cameroon is OK, a bit “incidental music on a visit-our-beautiful-country advert with added miaowing”, but OK.” “The Japanese are left panting, but their breathlessness energizes them, somehow, are far more resilient than you’d expect from a band whose manager labels them “indiepop.” The motion is one-track in comparison to Cameroon’s, but has a similar beauty, and if the track takes them to the goal, what’s the complaint? I hear a much closer match than the other commenters do.” “After reading the comments I was expecting a poor entry from Japan, but this really is great stuff. Cameroon have novelty value, but not enough to win it here.”

Coming Up! The tournament’s final group brings us Honduras against Chile on Thursday, while on Friday Spain and Switzerland are the last of our 32 countries to play their opening games.


  1. 1
    wichita lineman on 2 Mar 2010 #

    Unlike the glorious ’66 team who ran themselves into the ground every single game, the C21 North Korean squad switches tempo and styles with baffling ease. And that’s a definite injury time goal, isn’t it? Or are they collectively expiring after such a splendid ninety minutes? An easy win for them against a hirsute, defensive, disappointing Brazil.

  2. 2
    Dasal Abayaratne on 2 Mar 2010 #

    Japan’s nemesis North Korea may dismiss the rest of the world’s music as “jazz”, but they can afford to with fantastic pop such as this.

    It hurts the might empire of the rising sun to admit this, but North Korea’s state sponsored tactics may finally be starting to show some merit. However, Brazil also show some promise with a superb penetrating offensive horn section punching holes in the synth-pop Korean defense. Will it lead to a goal or a win? It’s too early to tell.

    Faiing a win in the PWC, one has to feel for the Korean players who will surely be put to death.

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 2 Mar 2010 #

    NKs fluid changes of pace and tight team play behind a confident front player create problems for Brazil from the start. The latter seem content to rely on familiar set plays and complacent showboating which may not be enough to win but may just salvage a draw. NK are the more exciting of the two and deserve a point at least.

  4. 4
    Birdseed on 2 Mar 2010 #

    North Korea is going to go far in the tournament on this form. The slow start is a ruse to lure Brazil in (who indeed seem to falter part-way in), but then the second half is quirky, pacy, full of inspired play and unexpected strings of passes. For a country praising collectivism, it’s also able to bring out good play from all sorts of individual performers.

  5. 5
    Kat but logged out innit on 2 Mar 2010 #

    The expectation on N Korea has been immense in the pre-tournament build-up, but they don’t disappoint. Their powerful, speedy striker darts round the Brazilians (who are not quite their usual selves today) and pops a key change in the back of the net.

  6. 6
    Rob Hakimian on 2 Mar 2010 #

    Brazil have brought more brawn and less flare to this game than is to be expected, perhaps resting their more renowned skill players for their tougher upcoming fixtures. Their hulking centre backs manage to hold off the Korean attack for much of the game but in the second half Korea’s heretofore unseen skills really flourish. With the addition of a couple of impact subs by means of a guitar solo and backing singers they win this game with relative ease.

  7. 7
    Matt DC on 2 Mar 2010 #

    Blimey, they don’t take any prisoners, the North Koreans.

  8. 8
    awwooo on 2 Mar 2010 #

    DPRK shows SK that they don’t need no “jazz-o-tune”. Well done! Nice to see Brazil bringing Rip Rig & Panic’s brass section along but at the end of the day Brian they fail to shine up-front.

  9. 9
    Matt DC on 2 Mar 2010 #

    It’s just like watching Brazil! Except rubbish. Fair play to them for daring to try the much maligned ska-punk formation but Brazil’s complacency against the ultimate unknown quantity is threatening to embarass them.

    Meanwhile this North Korean track is entertainingly bollocks. Pointless Bond theme bit! Widdly keytars! Axe solo! Preposterous key change! I for one welcome our tolitalitarian plastic discopop overlords.

  10. 10
    mm on 2 Mar 2010 #

    I actually find this to be a very entertaining match. Catchy stuff, attractive play, from both sides.

  11. 11
    jeff w on 2 Mar 2010 #

    That’s more like it. Less than 5.5 MB between the pair of them. Lean, mean, fighting machines I’m hoping.

  12. 12
    Matt DC on 2 Mar 2010 #

    It’s just like watching Brazil! Except a bit rubbish! I fear the ska-punk formation is an enormous risk at the best of times but Brazil’s complacency against this most unknown of quantities could lead to embarassment.

    Meanwhile this North Korea side are enterainingly bonkers. Pointless Bond themey bit! Widdly keytars! Axe solo! Ludicrous keytars! I for one welcome our new totalitarian plastic discopop overlords.

  13. 14
    koganbot on 2 Mar 2010 #

    Brazil start in unexpected but exciting form, battering forward with emo outfront and power in the legs, then go island and tropical simultaneously without losing the force, adding drama and horror almost as an afterthought. A varied but focused attack, hard to stop one would think, but what one would think and what one does think are plucked and divided by a Korean squad that dances while marching and marches while dancing, skips to my lou and to Rio without raising an eyebrow, yet displays emotion that makes “emo” seem foreshortened in comparison, with a near-infinite variety of change-ups. Humor in the midst of hilarity. They play footsie with the footy, in a fashion that recalls polka.

  14. 15
    Garry on 2 Mar 2010 #

    The moment the explosive keyboard opening switches to the high, suspended vocals is the goal of the tournament so far. And obviously Mike Oldfield has at some time been officially endorsed influence on Korean guitarists.

    I like what Brazil is trying to do – I love good ska, and the sax squonk is a killer. But it’ll be 3-2 to the Koreans for me. So much energy, so much joy.

  15. 16
    Kat but logged out innit on 3 Mar 2010 #

    #13 I want to hear ‘Music of Mass Rhythmic Gymnastics’!

  16. 17
    jeff w on 3 Mar 2010 #

    #8 more like The Piranhas than Rip Rig & Panic, surely?

    The DPRK have grasped the pop rudiments. And those changes in tempo are pleasing to the ear. But let’s not overdo it. Their frontperson has been drafted in from a different sport entirely and is getting regularly caught offside. There’s a lot of huffing and puffing here to little effect. Still, I wouldn’t begrudge them a point.

    I’m liking Brazil a lot. True, it’s the aggressive Brazil of 1974 – Rivelino, Luis Perreira et al – rather than the graceful strength of Brazil 1970. But they’re doing enough here to force a win.

  17. 18
    fernando on 3 Mar 2010 #

    this could be the musical equivalent to the 1950 finals : North Koreans underdog beat brazil and put them to shame. As is the opening match for both of them, I’m tempted to say it looks more like the 1990 opening, with a dull Argentina beaten by a ruthless Cameroon

  18. 19
    Lex on 3 Mar 2010 #

    PRK nearly had this won after their press conference, tbh, but their performance is ridiculously good. They talked the talk, and they’re walking the walk.

    One can only hope they haven’t peaked too early though; such is BRA’s lacklustre showing that any old shit would’ve got PRK past them. Bafflingly poor tactics, rejecting everything from cumbia to tropicalia to funk carioca for dated and impotent rock.

  19. 20
    Matt DC on 4 Mar 2010 #

    According to Wikipedia, the North Korean act were established by Kim Jong Il himself, no less.

  20. 21
    Tom on 4 Mar 2010 #

    Kim Jong Il is their Bez.

    In the world of the real world cup, I kind of suspect Sepp Blatter’s strong line on no ‘government interference’ in football must include a DPRK-size exemption.

  21. 22
    lonepilgrim on 4 Mar 2010 #

    re20&21 Do you think KJI takes the opportunity to croon ‘Ronely- so Ronely” with them some times?

  22. 23
    Martin Skidmore on 5 Mar 2010 #

    I can’t say either side appeals to me hugely – force but no grace from Brazil, oddness from DPRK. I’m abstaining, meaning for me it’s a 0-0.

  23. 24
    Jonathan Bogart on 7 Mar 2010 #

    Oi! The Bond themey bit is on the Brazil side!

    Nevertheless I have to side with the conventional wisdom on this one. It’s the Dear Leader’s to lose, with an acrobatic gracefulness and fluidity that is more than a match for the Brazilians’ somewhat oafish up-the-center tactics.

  24. 25
    Tom on 8 Mar 2010 #

    You have until tonight to vote in this one.

  25. 26
    Tom on 9 Mar 2010 #


  26. 27

    As Miss Susan Cooper has announced, THE DPRK IS RISING. The swell people of the coming settlement thank you for your inevitable crushing support.

  27. 28
    jeff w on 9 Mar 2010 #

    0-4 does not reflect the run of play, IMHO. Clearly North Korea took their chances while Brazil must have fluffed all theirs. But that’s football, Susan.

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