Jul 18

Pop World Cup 2018 Group F Match 1

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An intriguing group for this third Pop World Cup match, with two of the sleeping giants of pop football – Sweden and South Korea – lined up against the always capable Germany and dark horses Mexico. Group of death? In a sense, they are all groups of death when YOU have the casting vote. Pick your favourite two tracks and may the best manager win!

Pop World Cup 2018 Group F Match 1: Pick TWO tracks

  • SOUTH KOREA: Taeyeon 64%
  • MEXICO: Clorofila 55%
  • SWEDEN: Those Dancing Days 52%
  • GERMANY: Wolkenfrei 17%

Total Voters: 42

Poll closes: 10 Jul 2018 @ 18:15

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SWEDEN (Manager: Dan Watkins): Those Dancing Days – “Can’t Find Entrance”

“In my mind the Swedish pop WC team, turn up as at the tournament as a ragtag collection of individuals, who haven’t seen each other or worked together since the last tournament. In such situations, all a manager can do is put out the “players” who’ve been world beaters in previous tournaments.

If this world cup was allowed to use songs up to 2008, Those Dancing Days would be the band I’d have saved for the final. (the song would be Hitten – my belief that hitten is one of the 2 best songs of the 00s is a hill I would happily die on). TDD were formed when all the members were at school, and split up 4 years later when they all went to different universities. In those 4 years, they wrote, what is to my mind, some of the greatest indie pop music ever written, the living embodiment of euphoric joy. Can’t find Entrance is my favourite song from their second album.

If any of the voters want to give me the best possible chance, I’d suggest giving the song until the chorus before making a first judgment. To me the song is at it’s best if you let it play all the way through, then put it on repeat for a second time.”

GERMANY: (Manager: Joris): Wolkenfrei – “Wolke 7”

“… because everybody likes a bit of schlager (especially dressed up in big synths) (and bathing suits)”

MEXICO: (Manager: Dorsalstop): Clorofila – “Baby Rock Rock”

Drawn in the group of death with pop powerhouses Sweden and South Korea as well as plucky Germany, we have to rely on the strength of our collective* (even if one of us takes a star turn here). Today, we fuse elements of our traditional style of play with the kind of game we expect our opponents to play, and also aim to charm neutral spectators with our visuals. Some on our own team seem to think ‘something’s missing’, but I believe we can beat the odds.

*Clorofila is part of a group called Nortec Collective, and the album artist is a.k.a. ‘Nortec Collective presents Clorofila’

SOUTH KOREA: (Manager: Ludo): Taeyeon – “I Got Love”

“Dark synth stabs take us for a majestic sexy ride. Taeyeon’s wails sound heavenly, but the crazy-ass weirdo ‘chorus’, brings us right back to the ground. Stampin’ our feet. Blood is on the dancefloor, and it isn’t Taeyeon’s. She’s way too cool for that”

RESULTS: Brazil’s manager sets out to lay their group stage curse to rest with a dominant Group E win and 3 points which sets them up nicely for the second match. It’s nip-and-tuck between the fancied Swiss team and a spirited Costa Rica side, but it’s the Europeans who carry home 2 points and leave Costa Rica with 1. That leaves poor Serbia to bear the brunt of a tough group – the manager will have some thinking to do for next time.


  1. 1
    Tom on 4 Jul 2018 #

    Here’s the updated Spotify Sticker Album https://open.spotify.com/user/freakytrigger/playlist/1BUvb5jt0r9Bnr41WbOO9T?si=dptG_8ryQkWkkPp0G8GRKg – no Swedish track on there sadly so make sure you play the YouTube before you vote!

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 4 Jul 2018 #


  3. 3
    Joe on 4 Jul 2018 #

    South Korea and Sweden, Mexico close behind, Germany pretty distant.

  4. 4
    Tom on 4 Jul 2018 #

    The South and Central American teams have hit form this Pop World Cup and this group is no exception. But while Mexico get my first listen vote I’m going to have to go back and give them all another few plays to work out who else gets the nod.

  5. 5
    Jonathan Bogart on 4 Jul 2018 #

    Sweden and Mexico both opting for indie squads while Germany and South Korea go with sleek dance-pop formations make this a difficult one to predict. What a match, though: all teams putting high energy into it, a true pleasure to watch.

    On first listen, South Korea’s elegance, speed, and ability to turn on a dime put them as the clear field leaders (as I imagine most experienced pop football watchers expected them to be), while the other three battle it out on charm points. For my money, they’re surprisingly well-matched: Sweden’s muscular jangle, Mexico’s buzzy dream-pop, and Germany’s unpretentious bosh all have their own very different but very appealing charms.

    My second vote, for Mexico, is as much tactical as anything else: a Pop World Cup with Mexico in it is more interesting to me than one without.

  6. 6
    speedwell54 on 4 Jul 2018 #

    Wow. It’s the third time we’ve had three outstanding tracks. (I agree with Joe, Germans not quite there for me on this occasion )

    Those Dancing Days song is terrific. I wanted to play it again, whilst it was still playing. It’s Teenage Kicks. I want them to win the World Cup now.*

    Clorofila this is a lovely song and the instrumentation to my ears, is really interesting; loads going on, layer upon layer of sound.

    Taeyeon – I am quite a fan of K-Pop singles and Girls Generation were right up there. This is a more mature sound, and what you would expect when a lead singer goes it alone. Great choice.

    *It was a good win, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we’re just thinking about the next match, we’re taking it one game at a time.

  7. 7
    koganbot on 5 Jul 2018 #

    I don’t want to miss the opportunity to point out that Thomas Troelsen, co-writer-producer of the South Korean selection, has produced tracks for both Super Junior and Junior Senior.

  8. 8
    Ludo on 5 Jul 2018 #

    I had no idea, awesome :-)

  9. 9
    lockedintheattic on 6 Jul 2018 #

    I always expected this one to be the group of death and it’s definitely lived up to expectations. What I hadn’t expected was there to be such a runaway winner.

    The Swedish song is absolutely terrific and already I’m annoyed it’s not on Spotify so I can’t listen to it on repeat on my way home. This whole tournament is worthwhile for a song like that.

    Elsewhere things are much closer.
    South Korea displaying a more mature, grown-up sound than I’ve come to expect from them and it’s classy and effective.
    German Schlager is always lots of fun, and this is a great example of the genre if utterly unsurprising (well, apart from discovering that Cloud 9 translates as Wolke (Cloud) 7 in German – wonder why ours is two more than theirs??).
    But the surprise package here is Mexico – while I like a lot of Mexican music, the brass & accordion-heavy Norteño style has never been my cup of tea. Who knew that fusing that with indies stylings would be so effective. So a surprise second vote to Mexico from me.

  10. 10
    dollymix on 6 Jul 2018 #

    A great contest here – on the face of this evidence, it’s a pity two of these teams have to go home after the group stages. Even the lowest scorers here, Germany, play a refreshingly straightforward brand of football that could have gotten results against weaker opposition. But lacking in guile, it can’t do much against the high-tempo pressing of the Swedes or the creativity of the Mexicans and South Koreans. Ultimately, Mexico run away with this thanks to a great balanced performance with a fluid backline, rhythmic midfield, tricky wing play and a subtle performance from the striker. South Korea in contrast play a minimal approach, with Taeyeon giving a terrific false nine performance. While it’s not enough to get through Mexico (the defense is a little too porous), it does see them past a Swedish team that plays very well but gets too repetitive in the final stages.

  11. 11
    Garry McK on 8 Jul 2018 #

    Mexico sneak past South Korea for me, with the other two nations trailing but hard done by to be in such a difficult group.

  12. 12
    koganbot on 8 Jul 2018 #

    Clare says “Can’t Find Entrance,” “Wolke 7,” and “I Got Love” were all adult contemporary in their pace, no loose ends. “Baby rock rock” in contrast was sharper and more person-centered, woman-centered. I thought indeed that “Baby rock rock” left a lot of space for variety, for figuring things out, the mild beat-bubbles good for snatching joy where you can find it in the midst of the workaday. Wish there’d been more of a song, though.

    The German song was not pretending that it was not pretending, says Clare. It knew what it was. Written by men for women? Very Song for Europe. I grooved nonchalantly to the rubber-band beats, waved my hand at passing soap bubbles. Felt like I was lounging around waiting for the movie to start. Maybe that was what they intended.

    Clare felt Those Dancing Days had an authentic ’80s synthesizer. I liked its nice full sound; reminded me of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” but this was the happy version. The words were about uncertainty but the drums and keybs rolled along confidently, and the singer wasn’t so timid either.

    Taeyeon’s got a strong accompaniment that provides limits for her to locate her voice within. (Clare: “Does she have blue contacts in? I don’t care if she does, really.”) Honestly, this is the first solo single of hers I can stand, first where she doesn’t flop around strenuously and lamely. Clare says it has that Britney Spears thing where she’s obviously structured within the video, but Taeyeon has that sparkle Britney used to have.

    Frank’s order: South Korea, Sweden, Mexico, Germany.
    Clare’s order: Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, Germany.

    Our votes go to South Korea and Mexico.

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 9 Jul 2018 #

    Germany and South Korea keep it tight and professional but Mexico and Sweden playing without the weight of expectation and are a joy to behold – with each match drawn they go forward on the Fair Play rule.

  14. 14
    jeff w on 10 Jul 2018 #

    I missed the match (work got in the way), but watching on ‘catch up’ I’d have voted for Sweden and Korea – that probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome? I did like the Mexico song though, especially the cheap synths, so happy to see them get 2 points.

    That said, FIPA needs to step in and show some yellow cards for all these players removing their kits in their videos.

  15. 15
    weej on 10 Jul 2018 #

    Yeah, I also missed voting on this one, results came through in roughly the order I liked though.

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