Apr 14

PWC14: Group H Finale (South Korea, Algeria, Belgium, Russia)

Pop World Cup 201413 comments • 1,236 views

k3 Welcome to the final group stage game in the Pop World Cup! I’m sorry it’s been so delayed – the result is that we’ll have a truncated voting time: you have UNTIL FRIDAY AFTERNOON to get your votes in on this. So let’s see how things stand.

South Korea (managed by Iain Mew) are in pole position with 5 points. Anything short of last place in this game and they’re through. Below them it’s something of a dogfight. Algeria (Katherine St Asaph) maintain a slender advantage with 3 points to Belgium (Glynn)’s 2.5. Russia (Chelovek Na Lune) have 1.5. Russia need to go for the win, but all these sides really need to beat the other two.

Songs, votes, and a bumper results report below the cut.

SOUTH KOREA: Lip Service – “Yum Yum Yum”

“We may be nearly through, but we’re not there just yet, and our team are still hungry. Really hungry. Did someone say ‘hamburger’?”

ALGERIA: Cheba Sihem – “Mazel Nebgigh”

“French-Algerian artist TRANCES OUT! Featherweight multitracked vocals, a big instrumental breakdown, solos, vocoder solos, reverb, and generally everything else one could possibly want.”

BELGIUM: K3 – “Ey-O”

“From what I can gather (and if it turns out this is actually an extended sketch by Ghent’s version of Smack the Pony then I apologise) K3 are a full on 360 degree media empire, encompassing sitcoms, stage musicals and a reality show. They’re also very much ‘for the children’, but in a world where everyone watches Adventure Time and Bis exist then that shouldn’t put you off. Look beyond the pirate costumes and theres something almost terrace-chant-y about this song, which rings the maximum possible amount of hook out of its two syllables. Harks back to a pre-xenomania age where pop was naff and Phillipe Albert still had a moustache.”

RUSSIA: Mooncake – “Gazania Blossom”

“Road-tested just now on a spring evening on headphones on the top deck of a double-decker bus hurtling down country lanes, Mooncake play a long, patient, proficient, mature, game, building, and building, until VICTORY IS THEIRS. Watch out for the orchestra at the start of the second half – they are the most prized of our strikers. Not a second wasted in this performance. They were, they are, they will be.”


H3: Which TWO Tracks Do You Pick?

  • SOUTH KOREA: Lip Service 76%
  • ALGERIA: Cheba Sihem 46%
  • BELGIUM: K3 43%
  • RUSSIA: Mooncake 27%

Total Voters: 37

Poll closes: 25 Apr 2014 @ 16:00

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RESULTS (1): In Group F, Nigeria were already qualified and Bosnia-Herzegovina already eliminated, but those sides responded in very different ways. The Bosnians rallied to win their final game and depart their debut tournament with heads held high, while Nigeria’s decision to rest key players resulted in zero points. Inconsequential? Perhaps not. Nigeria’s defeat meant Iran’s 2 points were enough to see them top the group on percentage difference, with Argentina settling for third. Iran go on to face Switzerland in the Round of 16, while Nigeria have a tasty tie with France to look forward to. Congratulations to Wichita Lineman and Cis, commiserations to Scott and Chris, and thanks to them all for their excellent efforts. Final Standings: 1 – Iran (6 points, avg 54%). 2 – Nigeria (6 points, avg 51%). 3 – Argentina (3 points, avg 46%). 4 – Bosnia-Herzegovina (3 points, avg 38%).

RESULTS (2): Group G’s three-way tie resolved itself by another handy win for an imposing Ghana side, with the USA picking up second place in all three matches to take the second qualifying spot (and line-up a potentially mouth-watering tie with the Koreans). Portugal couldn’t manage to get anything from their final game, with Germany taking a single point home – some consolation at least for a frustrating campaign. Congratulations to Jonathan Bogart and The Lex, commiserations to Weej and Tak. Final Standings: 1 – Ghana (7 points). 2 – USA (6 points). 3 – Portugal (4 points). 4 – Germany (1 point).


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 22 Apr 2014 #

    are the Algerians still in the changing room?

  2. 2
    Tom on 22 Apr 2014 #

    Aargh! You’d think after 24 games I’d have learned to stop doing that.

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 22 Apr 2014 #

    South Korea put on a tasty display of confident attacking football
    Algeria look a bit vulnerable in midfield compared to their last outing. They still manage to put in some shots on goal but are open to counterattack.
    Belgium play three up front and they prove very adept at getting the crowd behind them. The manager takes a risk by putting on a young substitute but they quickly win the hearts of spectators with their commitment. A winning combination.
    Russia play elegantly, as if they want to be admired, but technical expertise on its own is not enough to score goals. Other teams pick up the ball and whizz past them.

  4. 4
    lockedintheattic on 22 Apr 2014 #

    That’s a pretty classy final game from the Koreans here. They’re really showing their confidence here – not content to show off the usual K-Pop styles we all know and love, they’ve clearly been studying the US and European leagues and are quite confident playing in dubstep and hip-hop formations too. It’s going to take a lot to get past this team.
    The Algerians may be playing moves that wouldn’t have looked out of place at a Pop World Cup 20 years ago but this classic style works perfectly for them and I hope it’s enough to get them into the next round, they’ve been one of the suprise outfits of the tournament so far for me.
    Belgium are bit outplayed by the grown-ups here, although they still manage to bang a couple past the Russians, who appear to have gone home and left us with the Aeroflot in-flight muzak as a two-fingered farewell.

  5. 5
    thefatgit on 22 Apr 2014 #

    South Korea have proved to be real powerhouses in this group. And they send an equally powerful message to their next opponents with “Yum Yum”. Hard hitting. Strength in depth. Unstoppable? On this form, maybe.

    Algeria take accordions and mix them with autotune. They play defensively and invite tons of pressure, but they find themselves boxed in with no outlet. Accordions and processed vocals feel a bit like drinking honeyed Bovril.

    Belgium provide some classic Europop in Flemish. Nice. I could see K3 cleaning up in a Eurovision-style tournament. These players are really enjoying their time on the pitch.

    Poor Russia. Well, it was uninspiring muzak in the first half. It suddenly got very glacial in the 2nd half. I like a bit of post-rock, me, but it’s awfully slow and ponderous compared the all-action Koreans and Belgians. до свидания

  6. 6
    lartsaegis on 22 Apr 2014 #

    1. S. Korea
    2. Belgium
    3. Algeria
    4. Russia

    S. Korea have proven themselves as bonafide headers head and shoulders above this group with another tasty and consistently infectious pop-rap treat. Heading into the knockouts it seems their team is showing no signs of dissolution — so any team that may bump heads with them should go a little harder.

    Belgium take a risk fielding a cute tot as an assist striker during the later half, resulting in some oohs and ahhs that bring a surprised change of pace to the entire stadium chanting their chorus along with them. And they definitely should get in on this effort, playing to their biggest strength.

    Algeria’s effort was more appealing to me this time, milking these virtual instruments for all their worth behind an excellent vocal effort compared to past outings. I don’t know if it’s enough on the whole, but this may be the thrust they needed.

    Russia’s fate is an unfortunate one, it seems — strategically. They built up their first games on central pop styles, breaking even on the second, so they decided to veer into more out there territory in a tactical risk as other teams have during this, like us in our first, or the USA in their last game. This seems like the worst time to employ a tactic like this, there are beautiful stretches that grasp for the clincher but without a sturdy defensive line, the more fit, compressed teams can adapt to it and cut through easily, especially at this stage, where everyone is playing harder. It may be a long goodbye for Russia.

  7. 7
    Garry on 23 Apr 2014 #

    A vote for Belgium because the kid is cute and the whole thing is overblown goodness smashing the post-Easter blues. A vote too for Algeria because they do what they do well.

    No vote for Korea though they also deserve one, but surely will stream-roll into the next round regardless. And I can’t handle that poker dot lips right at the moment.

    Russia are playing the closing credits of their campaign. For what it is it’ fine, but it just speaks of coda and finality the energy of the other three teams tramples all over it.

  8. 8
    Tom on 25 Apr 2014 #

    This one’s a formality for the Koreans, but there’s a real depth in the squad and a determination for everyone to prove their worth to the team. Easy winners, I think they’re improving with every game.

    Algeria start slow and you fear their game is going to settle into possession football with no real cutting edge. But there’s enough movement from them after a couple of minutes to launch an attack or two and win a vote.

    Russia have got a great losers’ highlights reel – though the slow motion is meant to be applied in post-production. No, actually, this grew on me – a bold and different approach but not quite enough to get past Algeria.

    As for Belgium, I may be tempting fate by saying it but… you don’t win anything with kids.

  9. 9
    Tom on 25 Apr 2014 #

    Well done Korea and Algeria!

  10. 10
    lartsaegis on 25 Apr 2014 #

    Big up to Korea and Algeria indeed. Ghana v the latter and USA v the former are looking like real money matches, especially seeing that Korea are the highest scoring group in the whole thing. Sorry to Belgium and their slim loss, I guess pop football isn’t child’s play after all. Farewell, Russia.

  11. 11
    Chelovek na lune on 25 Apr 2014 #

    Ah, well done to the glorious winners of the group, and thanks to those who voted for Russia… When we entered this as we had no idea of quite what we’d be up against – well, the reputation of Korea was known, and evidently deserved (not that K-Pop is generally my thing…): but Algeria also excelled, while Belgium put up one absolutely sparkling track (the Stromaë). So we pack our bags with a heavy heart – and how interesting it has been to explore the realms of Russian popular music.

    If anyone is interested, here are a few tracks that almost got played (the first one especially):
    – care-free happy guitar pop that rather recalls Laurent Voulzy (tho the vid is, deceptively, in Kiev, not France): Denis Maidanov – Proletaya nad nami https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o11VJvAr1Ak

    – St Petersburg space-age ska: Markscheider Kunst – Ku https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pApK3i_Z5Rw

    – commercial disco-pop by one of the most commercially successful acts of the last couple of years : Nyusha – Vospominaniye https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOjSvcFjmlo

    – something genre-crossing spoken word-house-pop from a veteran act: Diskoteka Avariya – KUKLA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6KbjwbXaqw


    – folk pop crossover, an everyday tale of country folk: Fabrika – Ne Rodis’ krasivoi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuSf1UcFRq0

  12. 12
    Iain Mew on 25 Apr 2014 #

    I love Vospominaniye a lot. Ivan Dorn’s house track Nevoapitannyy also deservedly did very well on the Singles Jukebox last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7EUnomoM00

    I am obviously very pleased with this result! Thank you to everyone who has voted for South Korea.

  13. 13
    Shedder on 30 Apr 2014 #

    Algeria sounds like a bog-standard Eurovision entry being drowned and Russia don’t show up. Leaves Belgium in second, by default, with their LazyTown reject. South Korea’s Nyan Cat meets the Spice Girls effort is clear winner.

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