Apr 10

How To Win A Pop World Cup

FT/35 comments • 627 views

You may be loving the Pop World Cup (we hope you are!). You may be thoroughly sick of it (in which case – sorry! But we’re more than halfway through now). But I hope you’d agree that the basic question it’s asking – how do you represent a country’s music? – is an interesting one. Certainly in the comments boxes this year we’ve seen a lot more people expressing outrage or delight at the choices the managers’ AREN’T making as much as those they are.

Which can get pretty confusing. Too little Latin pop! Too MUCH afropop! Too Eurovision! Trying to be American! Novelty nonsense! Only the North Koreans sit serenely above this fray because nobody had any idea what to expect of them anyway.

As I said in a comment box this morning, the PWC asks a player to balance three things: their own music tastes, the music of the country they represent, and the preferences of the crowd. The precise weighting of these is what makes it tricky. But the tactics the players use point to more general issues around ‘pop’ and ‘world’ music. So let’s look at some of the strategies we’ve been seeing!

Pop World Cup 2010: Group C – USA vs Algeria

FT/28 comments • 718 views

This group’s as tight as anything. Any of the four could go through, any of the four could go out. This is not time for letting up or blooding the weaker squad members. This is a time for giving it everything and worrying the knockout rounds if and when it comes to that.

This match closes at midnight on Tuesday 13th April

Pop World Cup 2010: Group C – England 0 Slovenia 3

FT/20 comments • 577 views

Slovenia have made a lot of friends so far in this tournament but have not secured many points: they need a win to have any chance of progressing. England are developing a reputation for versatility, but that also means that the outcome of their games depends very much on which team turns up on the day. A draw is no good to anyone – we should expect both managers to be throwing the kitchen sink at the opposition.

This match closes at midnight on Tuesday 13th April

Apr 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group B – Greece 0 Argentina 4

FT/34 comments • 863 views

Both of these sides have a single point to show for their first two games, and both are staring an early exit from the competition square in the face. Either side could still qualify but to do so they will need a handsome victory and even then will  require a sizeable win in the Nigeria –  Korea Republic match. It’s one for the statisticians, for sure. Will it be one for the neutrals?

Wait… the Greek manager appears to have a piece of paper in his hands…

This match closes at midnight on Monday 12th April

Pop World Cup 2010: Group B – Nigeria 3 Korea Republic 2

FT/30 comments • 1,232 views

A draw, Gary. It’s the hardest result to play for in Association Pop – who can judge how to gain somewhere between 42 and 58% of the votes in a game? No-one, that’s who. It’s a result which would probably please both managers here, because it would see both teams through to the next round. A loss here, though, and Greece or Argentina might take advantage…

This match closes at midnight on Monday 12th April

Apr 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group A – France 1 South Africa 1

FT/30 comments • 752 views

Real Actual Crunch Time here, in the first real decider of the tournament. South Africa only need a point to be sure of qualification but France are in a mathematical nightmare. They could win and still go out, or lose and go through, depending on what exactly happens in the other match, every percentage point and vote will be absolutely vital, even South Africa aren’t through yet! Due to the incredibly high standard of play across the competition this is something we’re going to have to get used to over the next fortnight, and I can’t help thinking there may be some tactical voting from the managers and their supporters…

This match closes at midnight on Sunday 11th April

Pop World Cup 2010: Group A – Mexico 2 Uruguay 2

FT/47 comments • 1,112 views

Here we go then, this is where it all gets hectic, and the calculators come out to decide who goes through to the round of 16 and who gets sent home. We’ll be doing TWO matches per day, so that, as in the football based world cup, the groups finish at the same time. First up it’s Group A, with both Mexico and Uruguay dependent on the other game’s result, and the Mexicans in particular needing a stonking win to advance, we should be in for a rollicking tie.

This match will close at midnight on Sunday 11th April

Apr 10

Pop World Cup: The Story So Far II

FT6 comments • 291 views

We’re halfway through the Pop World Cup 2010 (in terms of the total number of tracks), and here’s an opportunity to select your favourites from our 32 competing nations’ second selections. Choose your favourite FIVE from the last set of matches. The top tracks will be used to promote the Pop World Cup elsewhere but will also go through to a final poll where the award for the tournament’s top individual player will be determined.

Poll below the cut!

Apr 10

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

FT/24 comments • 707 views

The two winners from the first set of games in Group H meet here, three points in hand and ready to see who will really make the pace in this group. A win here will put either side within touching distance of qualification.

Voting on this match finishes at midnight of Thursday the 8th April.

Apr 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group H – Chile 1 Switzerland 1

FT/20 comments • 536 views

One of the secrets of the Pop World Cup, like it’s recently-invented footballing cousin, is that very often matches between unfancied outsiders generate the most exciting moments. Chile ans Switzerland, both losers in their first games, are dead set on scoring some points now.

Voting on this match finishes at midnight of Wednesday the 7th April.