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Feb 14

PWC14: Group G Match 1 (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA)

Pop World Cup 2014 • 1,544 views

eazzy_pics Is this the Group of Death? That’s what early pundits dubbed Group G, featuring pop giant the USA up against three nations with deep musical heritages of their own – Ghana, Germany and Portugal. Taking on managerial responsibilities are Tak for Germany, Weej for Portugal, Jonathan Bogart for Ghana and long-term USA gaffer The Lex.

The format should be familiar by now – listen to the four tracks, allot your two votes in the poll below the cut. To battle!

GERMANY: Anajo – “Madchenmusik”

“A jolly 2 minute slice of Bavarian Indie Pop. As Franz Ferdinand aimed to make rock music for girls to dance to, Anajo have aped the ambition and gone one further and named their song by this mantra. While I’m not sure how history maps the amount of influence that floppy-haired post-heyday Brit-pop made on the German charts, this is energetic and catchy enough to at least get a few of those too-cool-for-school indie chicks swaying.”

PORTUGAL: Moullinex – “Sunflare”

“The Portuguese management are fully aware that there are no easy games in the group of death – that’s why we’re bringing out a star striker for the opening fixture. After a few successful seasons in the Deutsch Elektronische Musik Liga, Moullinex (two Ls, he’s not a food mixer) is returning to represent his home country with a stunning display of fancy footwork.”

GHANA: Eazzy – “Wengeze”

“Ghana’s record in the regional and continental matches speaks for itself. While some commentators complain that the squad relies too heavily on the azonto formation that’s brought them success over the past four years, star players like Eazzy show that it’s possible to maintain the formation while still playing with idiosyncratic flair, style and aggression.”

USA: Trina ft Gunplay & Ice Berg – “Beam”

“My dream is to see an Olympic gymnast do her beam routine to this: wouldn’t those drum rolls, bursts of horns, flashes of beatboxing and that great cascading piano be absolutely perfect for all manner of lithe, athletic feats? And, of course, the pure elation in nailing something so perfectly.”

THE POLL:

G1: Which TWO Tracks Do You Pick?

  • GHANA: Eazzy 62%
  • USA: Trina 61%
  • PORTUGAL: Moullinex 41%
  • GERMANY: Anajo 32%

Total Voters: 71

Poll closes: 20 Feb 2014 @ 12:00

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RESULTS: In our tightest match yet in Group E, France will be delighted to have squeaked through at the top and got 3 points on the board. Second were Honduras, again underlining that these supposed minnows are a force to be reckoned with. Ecuador take home a point from a tight group, and Switzerland’s aggressive tactics won them admirers in the commentary box, but have not translated to goals quite yet. All to play for in the second game!

Comments

  1. 1
    Tom on 13 Feb 2014 #

    Gosh, Eazzy is very big in that photo and I can’t seem to resize her.

  2. 2
    lonepilgrim on 13 Feb 2014 #

    Germany off the pace with an uncoordinated effort that eventually sees the players shouting with frustration at the ref, the crowd and one another.
    Portugal seem disappointingly tame and anonymous. It’s a polished performance but they need to get down and dirty if they want to cut through tough opponents.
    Ghana play a high paced game, with precise passes and a tight formation. They take a more defensive approach in the first half but some well worked set pieces after the interval see them score.
    USA press the opposition in the opening 45 minutes and take advantage of their strength in depth to bring two attacking players off the bench to ensure victory.

  3. 3
    Tom on 13 Feb 2014 #

    A pacy but ultimately a bit directionless performance from the Germans – these Chiefs need a Kaiser. I hope they’re successful in getting the ladies on the floor – and perhaps on the pitch – next time.

    Portugal have a real striker problem – the midfield keeps possession (of your feet) well enough but their No.11 has a very limited repertoire and can’t seem to change his play up to meet the opponents’ tempo.

    USA – like England in their group – seem to have a renewed sense of purpose after a couple of disappointing tournaments: no messing about here, they’re in for the kill with a frontwoman holding up play and letting others on the team strike from a dizzying variety of angles. Great chorus set-pieces too. A real, high-scoring statement of intent.

    But I have to wonder if they’ve underestimated Ghana here. An absolutely solid back four gives the Ghanaian playmaker an awful lot of freedom to try different moves, and she forms a very interesting partnership up front with a box-hanging second striker. He goofs around, misses an easy pass or two, but before you know it he’s drawn off two defenders and left Eazzy with a tap-in.

  4. 4
    lartsaegis on 13 Feb 2014 #

    Starting out with the US — very killer performance here — Trina (the Baddest Bitch) retains her title and flaunts it on the pitch. She’s back as if she never left. Glitz, glamour, that fucking beat was more impressive than I ever expected it to be. Gun Play, who I expected to fly all the way off the handle on said beat was way more melodic and attuned to the groove than Ice Berg in terms of flow. Very surprised, very satisfied though. TEAMWORK.

    Moullinex gains the 2 for me here. I don’t think I’ve seen a more potent syncretism between track title and atmosphere of the song since the US’ entry. Definitely head and shoulders above most electronic-based songs entered here yet in terms of production, everything’s bright — and it even brought a little sunshine into my day.
    The parts gel really well together, they’re strongly consistent. Being 3:00, they impress more than wear, and it even builds on the chorus at the end of the song. I know the “if it ain’t broke” mantra has become sort of a sacred cow, but if you can improve on a swell chorus with something new, fitting, sweet, do it. Even if the end isn’t all there in terms of a finishing touch, they’re more potent than Ghana’s play, and Germany’s for that matter.

  5. 5
    Chelovek na lune on 13 Feb 2014 #

    Germany: not quite.

    Portugal: a creditable performance following the team’s recent promotion into the Orange Juice Tribute League, but Jules Rimet never loved that Mr Collins, alas.

    Ghana: a great bit of performance, goals scored.

    USA: A bit of excessive and occasionally unattractive aggressive attitude doesn’t manage to detract from the multifarious skills on display here. Great teamwork gets the result they were looking for.

  6. 6
    thefatgit on 13 Feb 2014 #

    Now here’s a group to get your ass up off that plastic seat and join the locals in their ongoing celebration of The Beautiful Game.

    Germany, so often the grafters and with an ingrained sense of discipline at their core, suddenly go off-message. There are too many loose passes here and their defence is a shambles. Back to the drawing board, methinks.

    Portugal’s Moullinex try to mix it up (couldn’t resist) but I’m not feeling their striker is tracking back to win the ball. Instead he cuts a lonely figure up top, while the rest of the team are kept in their own half.

    Ghana’s energy and commitment is there for all to see. Who can resist those darting runs? They’ve found their way to goal before the opposition can even get a touch. If this is an indication of what’s to come from them, then we’re in for a treat. In the words of Gary Neville: “AAAAAAAUUUUUUUGHHHHHHH UN…BE…LIEVABLE!”

    USA, so adept at what they do, play to their strengths. Some fantastically evocative horns tackle and break up any opposition attack, and inevitably the goals come thick and fast. Hard to resist when they’re in this kind of mood.

    And now I think I need a lie down after shaking my booty with the local supporters. Phew!

  7. 7
    Garry McK (@garrymck) on 14 Feb 2014 #

    Is this the Pop World Cup Group of Death: http://t.co/WheoS76jr4 – Germany v Portugal v Ghana v USA

  8. 8
    taDOW on 14 Feb 2014 #

    “these Chiefs need a Kaiser” – disgraceful

  9. 9
    Matt DC on 14 Feb 2014 #

    The German fans will be calling for the manager’s head here, not for the performance per se but for the very notion of a nation with such a proud musical heritage resorting to nicking a formation from one of English pop football’s more unlamented periods. A rapid change of tactics needed here if we are not to write off the Germans this time round.

    Portugal have punched above their weight in the PWC in the past, and this is an eye-catching performance, crisp, sparkly Balearic play all over the pitch, but sadly let down by a misfiring frontman.

    But it’s hard to see past Ghana and the USA for this one. The azonto formation is probably the single most exciting development in pop football in the past four years, and while this isn’t up there with the best examples, they’ve clearly got a lot more in the tank and I for one would be perfectly happy to see them play like this all the way to the final.

    Performance of the round definitely goes to the USA though. Trina was CONTROVERSIALLY benched in the 2006 PWC in favour of some 12-year olds, but this is just an awesome, fast, pressing game, they’re up in the opposition’s face right across the pitch, first to every ball… until the ropey autotune dude turns up halfway through and catastrophically puts the ball in his own net. But they’re capable of scoring a boatload as well and should easily ride out that scare.

  10. 10
    Rory on 14 Feb 2014 #

    #8: Too soon?

  11. 11
    Jessica L. H. Doyle (@ofcaladan) on 14 Feb 2014 #

    #PopWorldCup2014: vote in Group G (US, Germany, Ghana, Portugal) & learn how my French squad fared in its first match http://t.co/LC6xMYwlkp

  12. 12
    byebyepride on 16 Feb 2014 #

    The German team come onto the pitch full of cock and bull, claiming to know what girls like – only to see two predominantly female teams comprehensively outplay them. Europe very much looking like the old world in this match.

  13. 13
    koganbot on 16 Feb 2014 #

    I like Anajo and their crazed-Brits routine way more than the rest of the commenters do, maybe because Denver, unlike London, doesn’t surround one with crazed Brits. Ultimately didn’t give ‘em my vote, though.

    It’s been 13 years since I called Trina my favorite voice in hip-hop, and I’ve gotten antsy with her shtick since then. Still like it enough to vote for it here, and I’m intrigued by how the track runs away from her and towards a muted and diffuse autumn palette. My liking for it is in the category “Interested” rather than “Excited,” but I do like it. I like the Eazzy track more; has the pushiness and drama and sensuality that I tend to associate with Trina, actually.

  14. 14
    Erithian on 18 Feb 2014 #

    Sorry, but this is the Group of Deadly for me. It’s a bit of a second-string round – hard to believe there isn’t better on the bench, and Ghana seem to have left their shorts in the dressing room. Germany and Portugal the best of a lacklustre bunch, the others too derivative.

  15. 15
    jeff w on 19 Feb 2014 #

    Sitting this one out (and not just because I won’t be near a computer that will let me vote before the poll closes). I like all four songs, so don’t want to disadvantage anyone by picking only two. Special mentions though to Moullinex, who are pressing all my buttons with their Daft-Punk-lite electronica meets Brazilian indiepop confection (those chords in the middle 8 especially) and to the brass stabs on the Trina track.

  16. 16
    Tom on 19 Feb 2014 #

    There are but a few hours left to vote on this! And there’s only one vote between the top two – our closest game yet.

  17. 17
    Weej on 20 Feb 2014 #

    From the comments above I assume the one vote is between the USA and Ghana, which is fair enough, two very tough competitors indeed.

    I was waiting up until the last minute to pick between this version of the Moullinex track and the club mix, which I actually prefer. At 7 minutes it’s a bit long, though, and it doesn’t help that it takes two and a half minutes to get going. And the vocals are the same, and that’s what people don’t like. Still, perhaps need a tactical rethink.

    I should probably save the postmortem for when the match has finished.

  18. 18
    Garry on 20 Feb 2014 #

    I’m glad the Ghanian and UK strikers are at opposite ends of the pitch or there might be mutually assured red cards. I do feel sorry for the other two teams who can’t match the sheer will to win.

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