Feb 14

PWC14: Group D Match 1 (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy)

Pop World Cup 201423 comments • 2,331 views

Disclosure Welcome one and all to Group D! England are probably the biggest pop name in the group, but they haven’t won the Pop World Cup since Revolver came out. Can manager Ronald change that? Two other countries have gone for experienced hands – PWC ’10 finalist Andrew Hickey takes over Italy, and minnows Costa Rica have recruited Europop 2008 winner Pete. Perennial dark horses Uruguay, under manager Matthew, make up the group.

As usual, perm 2 from 4 in the poll below the cut.

URUGUAY: Dani Umpi ft Marabish – “3 Pasos”

“Sambayón,” the latest single by genderfucky Uruguayan Dani Umpi, has a wonderful and trippy video that’s worthy of far more than the 10,145 views it’s scored thusfar on Youtube. Sadly, though, the song itself isn’t so hot. This song, on the other hand! This song is hot. There’s counting! Counting is always good. “3 Pasos” was the lead single from Mormazo, the follow-up to Umpi’s kooky 2009 covers album, which featured folksy, chaotically pronounced renditions of classics like “Rent,” “Lovefool,” and “The Sign.”

COSTA RICA: Colornoise – “Button”

“Costa Rica, home of the Resplendent Quetzal, Three-wattled Bellbird and the Bare-necked Umbrellabird, has never been renowned for its indigenous music scene. Over-shadowed by the other Rico – Puerto that is – there is still no end of folklorica, reggae and a surprisingly vibrant strand of death metal. But when looking at the bench, there was really only one group straining at the bit to represent their country – the experimental noise pop post punk angular shooting styles of Colornoise. Button is a no nonsense short blast of Dry era PJ Harvey shoutiness – an oddly compulsive earwormer. We are rightly seen to be the minnows in this group, but we are coming out all guns a-blazing, enjoy Alison and Sonya: Colornoise.”

ENGLAND: Disclosure – “You And Me (ft Eliza Doolittle)”

“Disclosure takes a classic garage beat and updates it for today. This song fluctuates between a cool, polished gleam and feverish energy. It makes you want to dance but also gives you some room to breathe. They’re definitely one of the bright lights to emerge on the music scene recently. They have such a musical touch that belies their ages (19 and 22). For me personally, You & Me is the song that best illustrates their ability to meld dance and pop sensibilities into something beyond your run of the mill dance pop.”

ITALY: Radio Days – “Don’t Break My Heart”

“Don’t Break My Heart is by Italian powerpop band Radio Days, whose single Love & Fun was listed in Andrew Loog Oldham’s “Coolest Songs In The World 2013″. This is less powerpoppy, and less McCartneyesque, than most of their stuff, but still has as many hooks as their more uptempo tracks.”


D1: Which TWO Tracks Do You Pick?

  • ENGLAND: Disclosure 65%
  • URUGUAY: Dani Umpi 42%
  • COSTA RICA: Colornoise 33%
  • ITALY: Radio Days 29%

Total Voters: 92

Poll closes: 10 Feb 2014 @ 12:00

Loading ... Loading ...

RESULTS: A dominant win for the Netherlands in Group B, taking home 3 points thanks to a home crowd-like enthusiasm. They really acted as a 12th man here.* Australia’s dreampop trailed some distance behind, but 2nd place is 2nd place, and they grab 2 points. Chile get off the mark with a single point – scant reward for the extreme length of their track, some might say. And finally Spain have had a rocky start to their PWC campaign, with their traditional tactics getting them only “a Eurovision” in this match.

*Just to reiterate what I said in the comments thread: please do NOT directly bring the PWC to the attention of the artist or their label. One RT from a featured act can break a match completely, especially as – if the Holland experience is anything to go by – none of the influx of fans bother listening to the other records! This result stands, though, cos I didn’t formulate the rule until after the match.


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 3 Feb 2014 #

    these have been some of the most entertaining matches of the tournament for me so far.
    Uruguay demonstrate an assured and varied fluidity, swapping roles with swagger and dazzling the opposition.
    Costa Rica impress with their youthful vigour and play an attacking game although their defense looks a bit shaky and vulnerable to set pieces .
    England look surprisingly spry – unbothered by the tropical climate but their reliance on a traditional centre forward makes them an easy target for determined opposition and they will need to shake things up in future if they want to progress.
    Italy begin at a deceptively slow pace but before their opponents are aware the forwards are camped out in the box sending in shot after shot.

  2. 2
    Mark M on 3 Feb 2014 #

    England suffering from a classic lack of flair, Uruguay working the element of surprise, Italy (as ever) steeped in tradition… and Costa Rica bring my attempts at footballing analogies to a sudden halt by pitching me back into a New Cross pub c.1993…

  3. 3
    thefatgit on 3 Feb 2014 #

    Strong group this. So let’s get this started. Uruguay play colourfully with lots of ideas in a quite frankly, dazzling display. Some subliminal signalling from the technical area got me thinking about The Deathly Hallows!?! Quite distracting. You’re a horcrux Dani!

    Costa Rica make a beautiful racket, but we’ve seen this type of formation many times before in the Camden Lock Friday Night Conference. They’re out of their depth at this level, though. Brave performance nonetheless and they’ll win many friends here, I’m certain.

    England always tend to swagger into these tournaments, but get found out due to the agility and guile of their opponents. Not this time! Their strikeforce are on top of their game here. Even if their formation harks back to turn-of-the-millenium past glories, there were some skilfully executed moves there.

    I was hoping the Italy that showed up for this round would be all flair and dazzle, but they get bogged down on a sticky pitch. Inevitably they gesticulate wildly and voice their frustrations as the game goes away from them. Less Balotelli, more Materazzi I fear.

  4. 4
    Tom on 3 Feb 2014 #

    At last an England side I can get behind! It’s coming home etc. etc. (even if they got outplayed by Uruguay).

    ALTHOUGH I’m quite tempted by Costa Rica too. The thing about managing a small country is that you can’t always play in the formation you’d like – if you unearth a talent you might have to build a side around them. I think Costa Rica have been slightly unlucky with their draw here – they are playing a style of a similar vintage to the Aussie side which just got a solid 2 points in Group B, but I can see their more aggressive moves picking them up a card or two. Leaning England, but need a couple more plays.

    (As for Italy, this is what they will have hoped for when they appointed Hickey manager, and he knows these old-school tactics inside-out. It’s personally not how I like to see the game played but I can see them getting a point here and waiting for flashier opponents to tire in the other group matches.)

  5. 5
    lartsaegis on 3 Feb 2014 #

    Before I get into some analysis, let me say that I sympathize with the Costa Rican side — I found a lot of metal documented for Chile — it’s surprising how worldwide it is.

  6. 6
    lartsaegis on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Alright — here we go — big up to England, who played it extremely safe with their pick, but extremely surefooted. I hate seeing the Disclosure face because it seems like it’s everywhere, but I’ve been into their stuff on the outskirts ever since I heard their remix of Artful Dodger’s Please Don’t Turn Me On, and this track delivers with the same consistency in hooks, technique, vocal power, and fleet-footedness. People are going to chide for a lack of flair, but again, it’s a safe pick in the early going, and don’t we all wish we had one? I feel like Disclosure was obvious, it was just a matter of when they were going to show. Seeing them come out first was a bit of a surprise, so I wonder what’s up next in their camp, whether they’ve got anything stronger — I’m sure they do.

    Costa Rica was second in my books, enough aggression to break through Italy’s best in this round, and while they didn’t manage to out weird Uruguay’s entry, their own weirdness was enough to defend and counter their tactics. It seems like they’ve remixed the easy button to suit their needs here. If Uruguay could get by on style points, they’d take second at best, but musically I’m not so into what they do in four minutes as compared to my top picks this round in around the same amount of time. Italy reminded me of The Kooks, but without the flair of even their slowest songs (like Sway) — the pace of this one held it back from being as outstanding as the rest.

  7. 7
    Garry on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Re: Metalwatch. I am yet to find any Metal for the Cote D’Ivoire. Or anything like rock. And believed me I looked. Though I can probably put together an exciting jazz fusion formation (in the late Gong mould) from several disparate artists.

  8. 8
    Mark M on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Re 5 & 7: Metal (and more trad hard rock) is certainly massive throughout Latin America, from the Rio Grande to (I’m guessing) Tierra del Fuego.

  9. 9
    Kat but logged out innit on 4 Feb 2014 #

    The Honduras management can confirm there is an abundance of mostly-terrible metal in the local leagues. As yet there’s not much worthy of a place up front, Brian.

    This group is all about Uruguay v England – deft footwork in the midfield and some lovely touches make it likely to be a high scoring match in my mind.

  10. 10
    Peter Baran (@pb14) on 4 Feb 2014 #

    So my first entry as Costa Rica in the Pop World Cup is up. Is the PJ Harveyish Button by Colornoise good enough? http://t.co/ttWTkg11y1

  11. 11
    Rezmat of Zermatt on 4 Feb 2014 #

    We observe a footling chitter in the outer layers. Far be it from the enlightened to mock or chide: but in this instance permit us gently to chaff: FALSE METAL IS INDEED EVERYWHERE, SO WAT SO WAT. All will seem puny, cometh the day cometh the match.

    Peace out, yr pal Rezmatt

  12. 12
    @stealthmunchkin on 4 Feb 2014 #

    http://t.co/RyCvdbLeQs Vote Italy!

  13. 13
    Garry on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Wow: Uruguay have possibly provided the most complete performance thus far. Metronomic passing, the mobility up front and the impact sub right at the death. This team is the surprise packet thus far.

    Surprise cannot be labels given to the other three teams, unless like me you were likely to be surprised by anything out of Costa Rica. All three teams give solid performances with nary a shocker on the park.

    England impress with trademark heart and soul in defense and midfield, but their striker only hints at the subtlety required to provide a goal threat.

    Italy play tactics which were very popular in the Australian Indie leagues during my years in commentary surrounding the turn of the millennium. This familiarity leaves my impressed by their technical abilities but not by their conservative play. A slightly freer approach would have benefited.

    This leaves Costa Rica who play a very uncomplicated but effective direct formation. Despite bypassing midfield they are experts at keeping possession and maintaining a continual though patient goal threat. A vote from me.

  14. 14
    Pete on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Very few people marked this out as the Group of Death, but I have to say that my fellow managers in this group have clearly all come out to win. I wonder if I should have left the Colornoise for a later game? Anyway I think the Uruguay track is playing an excellent version of Atari soccer circa 1982, which would normally guarantee a goal from me. A cannot begrudge an England keen to play something classy like Disclosure, I have previously managed one of the big teams with expectations (US) – and know there is no right tactic, you get press criticism whatever. Perhaps I might have been more adventurous. If guitar votes are being split between Costa Rica and Italy then that is only fair. I’d be happy with a point from this game.

  15. 15
    Chelovek na lune on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Clear statement of intent from Uruguay: they’re dangerous on the dancefloor, for sure: and competent on the football pitch too. A nice rhythmic passing game, looking for gaps in the opponent’s defenses, with flair to outwit and outscore them.

    England: slick and smooth, but need to break out of the midfield a bit more frequently in future games is further progress is to be assured

    Costa Rica: may be one of the few states without a military, but their opening match form suggests they were on the front lines in the fiercely-fought five-a-side proto-shoegaze indie football wars of the early 90s. An entertaining team to watch, but the technique that counts in this game involves scoring goals, and I’m not sure there’s sufficient hunger here to pull that off.

    Italy: verging in places on being a tired rehash of past glories, but certainly competent. I fear this is a little too stiff to bring victory in the World Cup.

  16. 16
    Billy on 4 Feb 2014 #

    Interesting contrast in styles here. Uruguay edge it for me with their flair and swagger, whether this will be enough to get them out of the group remains to be seen but it’s a strong, positive start from them.

    England as always promise much but are usually found wanting on the international stage. Clearly the influx of foreign talent into the game has allowed some subtle, fluid touches to inform their work rather than the straight ahead 4-4-2 normally favoured by them. They narrowly squeak by in extra time.

    Uruguay confound with a bold, angular formation. They display some neat touches and catch fire at times, but overall can’t quite deliver the killer blow required.

    Sadly Italy are disappointing. The manager has clearly thought that a traditional approach would reap dividends but wily opponents soon find them exposed.

  17. 17
    Matt DC on 5 Feb 2014 #

    England make it look effortless, so much so that you wonder how much effort has gone into this performance. Like the USA, England have traditionally struggled in the PWC, there’s that Big Team problem – do you go the obvious route or opt for relative obscurity and risk the win? No reason why the latter route should put you at a disadvantage to any of the other teams. This is one of the most obvious formations imaginable at this point in time, but it’s a good one and comfortably the best track here, so they get my vote, although they won’t if they pick such a well-known track in subsequent rounds.

    As a former Italy manager I can confirm that, despite fond memories of Giorgio Moroder’s great side of the late 70s and early 80s, the current talent pool is not the strongest, so the manager has my sympathies. Plenty of enthusiasm here but little in the way of flair, excitement or unpredictability.

    So it’s between Uruguay and Costa Rica for the final vote. Uruguay’s attacking electrohouse formation is a lot of fun although their frontman is a bit lightweight, but Costa Rica put in a surprisingly enjoyable performance as well. Costa Rica could possibly do with a bit more crunch in the tackle, especially towards the end, so Uruguay narrowly squeak past them, but this is a terrific group overall.

  18. 18
    Pete on 5 Feb 2014 #

    Yours is clearly a tactical vote Matt, to avoid me in the quarters (I’ll have run out of songs by then!)

  19. 19
    Matt DC on 5 Feb 2014 #

    MIND GAMES. (They might be working)

  20. 20
    @BeefcakeFactory on 5 Feb 2014 #

    Oh hey I don’t think I mentioned this yet but I’m managing Uruguay in the Pop World Cup: http://t.co/Hn2Jy1npzb

  21. 21

    […] First off, I’m in the Pop World Cup again. VOTE ITALY! […]

  22. 22
    koganbot on 7 Feb 2014 #

    On the Latin American metal watch, I happen to know an Ecuadoran metal band that camps out in Denver from time to time.

    I’m looking for reasons to vote Colornoise and give Disclosure the cold shoulder, but can’t do it. The latter’s chill viscera are still visceral enough to carry me. Dani Umpi doesn’t really bring the heat either, but he brings the joy; and had the match come to a tie-breaker, the amount of time while watching the video I spent wondering what was in the bag would’ve decided it for him. I think Radio Days have more color in their noise than Colornoise do, while the latter have more enthusiasm. They’re both outmatched here, but I liked listening to each.

    (But if Croatia’s 3rd place finishers Stampedo & Deafness By Noise had been playing in the this group they’d have sliced the competition.)

  23. 23
    Erithian on 18 Feb 2014 #

    A very promising performance by England, and you just hope fixture congestion doesn’t do for them by the end. Unexpected approaches from Costa Rica and Italy, the latter style easier on the eye, and as for Uruguay, you’re too distracted by their shirts!

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page