Mar 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group H – Spain 2 Switzerland 0

FT//27 comments • 839 views

The last of our 32 teams take the field of pop: Spain open their campaign against Switzerland. Spain’s Alberto is new to pop management at this level: his opposite number in the Swiss dugout is Greg Fanoe. Good luck to them both!

Voting for this match closes at midnight on the 11th March.

SPAIN: Juniper Moon – “¿Volverás” The manager says – “Spain’s rookie manager faces the tough task of making his debut in international pop against Switzerland, the winners of EuroPop 2008. In preparation for this difficult challenge the Spanish training staff practiced many different formations and tactics. In the end he has decided for a direct and fast-paced approach, hoping to catch the Swiss by surprise. The organized chaos by Juniper Moon will hopefully confuse the reigning EuroPop champions enough to take the 3 points back to Madrid.”

SWITZERLAND: Touch El Arab – “Muammar” The manager says – “Touch El Arab are apparently a Swiss one hit wonder from 1987. I have absolutely no idea what this song is about but it’s really pretty and atmospheric and nicely bloopy. It also has a really catchy sample.”

Group H Match 2: Which track did you prefer?

  • Spain: Juniper Moon 71%
  • Switzerland: Touch El Arab 29%

Total Voters: 68

Poll closes: 11 Mar 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: “A beguiling approach from the Swiss but somewhat one-paced – Spain on the other hand are a little more ragged in their passing and crossing but have speed and energy on their side.”

RESULT! New Zealand 3 Slovakia 1: It may not have drawn much of a crowd but this was a fine performance from New Zealand, who soon took complete control of the game despite a bright start from Slovakia. “Slovakia shows a few nice moves to begin, but, unfathomably, from about 1 min 20 sec on they just start passing the ball around themselves at the back, never to be seen again. This back-line needs a bass-line to stand a chance of success.” “NZ mutant disco v. the Slovak Jack Johnson (straight faced or not)? The Kiwis have it.” “NZL go out and win it with a forthright, attacking disco-revival performance; solid rather than spectacular, but I like the way the playfulness of the vocals overcomes what initially seems like harshness.”

Coming Up! Next week you’re in the capable hands of Tim Hopkins and Steve Hewitt who will be masterminding the second batch of group stage matches. South Africa take on Uruguay on Monday, then France play Mexico on Tuesday with the loser facing an end to their qualification hopes.


  1. 1
    Birdseed on 5 Mar 2010 #

    Is there some sort of irony implied in the choice of a song featuring an ahdan call from a country recently most famous for banning minarets?

  2. 2
    Tom on 5 Mar 2010 #

    There’s certainly a bit of a selection storm in the right-wing Swiss press!

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 5 Mar 2010 #

    Another close match to my ears but Spain just edge it with their tight assertive playing style. Switzerland are an attractive side on this showing but their play becomes too predictable over the course of the match and Spain should take full advantage.

  4. 4
    Tom on 5 Mar 2010 #

    I’ll be interested to see how Spain do as I haven’t seen this kind of full on indiepop tried too often – they do it pretty well I have to say. Not sure it’s enough to beat the Swiss but…

  5. 5
    Martin Skidmore on 5 Mar 2010 #

    The Islamic Swiss midfielder flatters to deceive at the start and intermittently throughout, but he can’t quite do enough to lift an otherwise functional side against a lively Spanish team with its fast interchanges.

  6. 6
    Matt DC on 5 Mar 2010 #

    Great match, both teams reminiscent of PWC USA ’94. The Swiss team are content to play a deeper, slower, passing game but they certainly know how to surprise. Meanwhile what the Spanish side lack in technique and finesse they more than make up for in speed, directness and just plain knowing where the goal is.

    I can’t really choose between them right now, although I’m leaning towards Spain as a) it’s a relief to hear someone play an indie-pop track that is actually good and b) I’m still hurting from when Switzerland beat my Italian side in the Europop 2008 final.

  7. 7
    Matt DC on 5 Mar 2010 #

    Also judging by Last.fm, this Spanish side have enthusiastically indulged in the full range of cliched 90s indie band promo shots.

  8. 8
    juje80 on 5 Mar 2010 #

    mmm…quite difficult to choose…i guess im going for the spanish band and its indie rock spirit…the swiss-northern african style it seems quite artificial…though it sounds great

  9. 9
    koganbot on 6 Mar 2010 #

    First real on-field controversy of the tournament as the officials accuse the Swiss of faking injuries in order to generate cards against their opponent. The upshot is that it’s the Swiss who are issued a couple yellows, despite the Swiss captain’s insistence that his players’ tendency to fall over is no more than a simple tendency to fall over. A melding of style and content, says one color commentator. Having lodged no complaint themselves, the Spanish take everything in good spirit, using a pleasantly daft strategy from the mid 1970s that feels just as daft in 2010, their first priority being not to score goals but to insure that everyone on the team gets a multitude of touches and shots, which they attempt while taking care not to injure the sweetly prone Swiss.

  10. 10
    Lex on 6 Mar 2010 #

    Wow, the SUI track really is something, its deeply odd mix of constituent parts works against all the odds. Who knew that an Islamic muezzin sample + an early-hours, maudlin, bluesy cabaret turn + wheezing fairground organ + judicious beats’n’bleeps could work together so well? This is bloody brilliant and one of my favourites so far. DOWNLOADING.

    ESP are unlucky, they might have gone through against a lot of the subpar performances we’ve seen so far; the acapella intro seizes your attention right away but once the high-octane teenpunk guitars come in, it gets ordinary fairly quickly.

  11. 11
    Tom on 6 Mar 2010 #

    I kind of want a remix, or just a rebalancing, of the Swiss track – really liked it but the drums just a little too high in the mix.

  12. 12
    Kat but logged out innit on 7 Mar 2010 #

    The youthful Spaniards appear to be playing LACROSSE (which is totally fine by me). The Swiss are putting forward a more mature game but it’s skillful and steady, and they’d definitely be deserving of a goal. However in the second half Spain distract them with a shout of ‘LOOK OVER THERE, IT’S A DOG ON THE PITCH’ and start hitting the Swiss goalposts with their lax sticks in a very amusing fashion.

  13. 13
    Jonathan Bogart on 7 Mar 2010 #

    What might at first be mistaken for thin coverage on the Swiss side turns out to be some of the most imaginative play we’ve seen in this tournament. The players are all wearing different colors (deeply confusing to the well-drilled, practically hivemind Spanish side), but they pass so elegantly and effortlessly between them that in almost any other game they’d simply whirl, lounge, and pop & lock away with the game.

    But this Spanish side isn’t to be taken lightly: high-octane to be sure, but far from being brutish or relying on pure muscle. There’s an intricacy to their play which some commenters blinded by their speed might ignore, and the striker is one of the most confident, graceful ball handlers to take the field.

    I’m calling this a high-scoring tie, even if we haven’t yet seen half the game.

  14. 14
    byebyepride on 8 Mar 2010 #

    Strong, positive – if haphazard – play from the Spanish that keeps the ball up near the opposition goal, but what looks like a lack of tactics on the part of the Swiss turns out to be a subtle plan to catch the Spanish off-balance. If the Swiss defence can continue to soak up the energy of the Spanish assault, then once the counterattack develops, the game could be anybody’s. Good match, and the crowd seem to be appreciative.

  15. 15
    Rob Hakimian on 9 Mar 2010 #

    The Swiss certainly bring a stylish game but the Spaniards have so much energy! They keep running and running and by the end they look as though they could go for another 90. The Swiss just can’t keep up.

  16. 16
    weej on 10 Mar 2010 #

    The Spanish have plenty of vim and vigour here, and put in a performance good enough to beat plenty of the teams we’ve seen so far. The Swiss track, however, now that’s something special!

  17. 17
    Tom Lawrence on 10 Mar 2010 #

    A game of two halves this: the Spanish play much quicker from the kick-off and full of energy but lack discipline. By the time they’ve given everything they had to give, the more methodical Swiss are just starting to reach a peak.

  18. 18
    am-brosio on 10 Mar 2010 #

    The Swiss song is as boring as long. The Spanish entry is full of vigour

  19. 19
    Pete on 11 Mar 2010 #

    I am chuffed to see Switzerland continuing how I left them, playing a classy number from the annals of history. And this is a 1987 track! Spain is much better than most indie pop entries and she has a pleasing delivery, but the Swiss track may well be the find of the tourney so far.

  20. 20
    Tom on 11 Mar 2010 #

    Until midnight tonight to vote in this!

  21. 21
    Tim on 12 Mar 2010 #

    You wouldn’t have guessed the result from the comments, and you certainly wouldn’t have predicted the clear margin of victory. The silent voter bloc is an unpredictable force to be reckoned with.

  22. 22
    Lex on 12 Mar 2010 #

    If I ever run a contest I shall only open voting to people who COMMENT. Ugh ugh ugh @ the silent majority. For one thing, how the hell are managers meant to gauge their audience if you don’t fucking SPEAK UP~~~~

  23. 23
    Tom on 12 Mar 2010 #

    There was a surge of votes late on in this – which I suspect may mean some external linking. All quite within the spirit of the game – if your goalkeeper gets put off by the opposing fans’ flares that’s just bad luck – but it may explain the gap between result and perception.

    Also, to be fair, Spain got a LOT of positive comments too, and did well in the “round-up” poll. In fact looking at the comments it’s about 10-5 in favour of Spain – sorry Lex!

  24. 24
    Matt DC on 12 Mar 2010 #

    Yeah there’s loads of pro-Spanish comments here. Think the Swiss were hard done by here though, they would have beaten a lot of other sides.

  25. 25
    justfanoe on 12 Mar 2010 #

    Ah nuts, was really hoping to sneak away a point with this one. Oh well, on to the next round! I promise you SWISS FANS I will do better next time!

  26. 26
    Pete on 12 Mar 2010 #

    This result is a travesty! The Swiss track is genuinely one of the best things from this PopWorldCup so far. Clearly the crowd turned on the reigning European champs!

  27. 27
    SteveM on 13 Mar 2010 #

    Voted for the Swiss but reluctantly. The pitch-shifting of the sample is clunky (reflecting the age of the track perhaps) but the track has a haunting quality still.

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