Mar 08

Europop 2008: Group C – Holland 0 Italy 2

FT25 comments • 617 views

A perennial pop underachiever and a sleeping giant of the game square up in this intriguing Group C clash. Click below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, match reports and previews.

HOW TO VOTE: Pick the track you like best and vote below. This poll will be up until sometime on April 7th.

Holland v Italy: Which track do you prefer?

  • Italy: Piotta 70%
  • Holland: Golden Earring 30%

Total Voters: 23

Poll closes: 7 Apr 2008 @ 10:00

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HOLLAND: Golden Earring – “Radar Love”

The manager says: “For Holland’s first entry we’re reaching back in time to bring out the heavy artillery. Golden Earring is the premiere Dutch band, in continuous service since 1961, the same line-up since 1969, and still going strong today. Even the Rolling Stones can’t match that. “Radar Love” is perhaps their best known international hit, one that still bears repeating–so much so that it frequently features in US automotive commercials. And why not? It’s one of the all-time best driving songs, full of life-affirming energy and that moment of anticipatory excitement and ecstasy known to anyone in a long-distance relationship. The band is at the top of their form, their musicianship tight, the beat relentless. And a song that alludes to Brenda Lee’s “Coming On Strong” can’t be half bad, now can it? Nederlandse macht!”

Our analyst says: Holland are bringing out the big guns here – a veteran side with the most-decorated players the country has to offer and literally centuries of experience between them. Can this side still cut it in today’s faster-paced game, though? The experience and game intelligence of the back four is formidable but fans are wondering if the big lad up front has the speed and subtlety to compete.

ITALY: Piotta – “Troppo Avanti”

The manager says: “Our early exit from the inaugural Pop World Cup hit the nation of Italy hard. When Italy weeps, it weeps as one. When Italy is angry, we are angry as one. Czech, American and Ghanaian musicians were ostracised from society for the indignity that they had visited upon this country, one of the great nations of world pop. But we have healed, we have learned, and we have realised our own failings. Never again shall an Italian team attempt to defend a 1-0 lead for 85mins of sludge metal. Never again shall this great nation stray from the righteous path of DISCO. And it is with this that we give you… a fat man with a beard. FORZA ITALIA!”

Our analyst says: The combination of a fluent rapper and a goal-hanging shouty bloke is one several nations have worked to their advantage, and this Italian side will certainly give the Dutch a game (and the referee a verbal going-over). The traditional Italian defensive virtues are present and correct but this is more direct in midfield than most were predicting – a lot rests on the shoulders of that front pairing.

MATCH ANALYSIS: Austria 1 Croatia 1

A last-minute Austrian goal ensured the points were shared in this match, but Croatia will feel hard done by after an entertaining and positive display. They took the game to Austria from the opening whistle but miserly Austrian defending allowed them no return on their endeavour until shortly after half time, when gung-ho Croat attacking combined with a rare defensive lapse to gift a free-kick which the Croats banged home. They continued to attack and a second goal always looked likely: it was to go to Austria, whose clinical counter-attack sliced open a tiring Croat defense. Both sides will have positives to take from this game – Germany may provide Croatia with a bigger challenge.

COMING NEXT: Sweden are one of the most feared names in Europop 2008 but suffered something of a crisis after their shocking first-round exit in the Pop World Cup: a very traditional Swedish attacking side simply failed to do the job. Fans are wondering if the “Golden Generation” of Martin, Bard, et al are past it, and new coach Jel is promising radical change. His first test is against largely unfancied Greece, who have recruited the former Holland coach Tom – not an appointment the fans are entirely happy with: the new gaffer’s commitment to the long ball game is well-known and supporters fear some kind of bouzouki rave humiliation. Are they justified?


  1. 1
    Kat but logged out innit on 31 Mar 2008 #

    Either the streams aren’t working or my work has blocked them :(

  2. 2
    Gerhard Whippenpfeiffer (assistant coach) on 31 Mar 2008 #

    Nice legs these Italian players…UM, I MEAN…nice bit of flair, qualities you’d expect up front. Love the Dutch too but is their total football sexy enough?

  3. 3
    koganbot on 31 Mar 2008 #

    Netherlands: Rolling drums, eight-to-the-bar fake boogie, galomphing vocals, and a tremendously well-constructed song, would seem to be on its way to victory when, in a controversial move, under new Europop rules, they were penalized A GOAL AND A HALF for violating the spirit of the competition by being too obvious and well-known by half (#14 in the U.S., #8 in Britain). (I mean, what if Britain decided to play “West End Girls”? I’d disqualify the side.) Others of you (say, those born after 1970) might disagree.

    Italy: With its unexpected advantage, what does Italy do? Start very promisingly with genuine ripped-off funky break beats, and I’m touched by the guilelessness of the rapping; problem is that until the crazy gruff guy comes along about 2 minutes in, the rapping itself is far too plain.

    So can Italy capitalize on its opponents’ misfortune? (Not sure. “Radar Love,” despite its excellence, goes on a bit, doesn’t it? But it is strong. I don’t know. Is my penalty too severe?)

  4. 4
    Tom on 31 Mar 2008 #

    Yes, I thought “oh too obvious” (while hiding away my Aphrodite’s Child mp3s) but then I realised I’d never actually HEARD “Radar Love”, or hardly ever, I just knew of it. And it’s good!

  5. 5
    koganbot on 31 Mar 2008 #

    Actually, #13 in the U.S. and #7 in Britain.

  6. 6
    koganbot on 31 Mar 2008 #

    But I’ve not heard it all that much either. And it’s good!

  7. 7
    koganbot on 31 Mar 2008 #

    (Thought the crowds treated the Italians very shabbily in the Pop World Cup.)

  8. 8
    Matt DC on 31 Mar 2008 #

    I prefer to think of our main striker as “tidy in possession”.

  9. 9
    Pete Baran on 1 Apr 2008 #

    I played Radar Love once at Poptimism. As such I fear I cannot vote for it, I know it all too well as it features on my Dad’s Best Of Drivetime tape, and thus every early nineties journey in a car featured it.

    It would win a Masters World Cup.

    That said, the Italian one has some quite nice production, but dull as dishwater rapping. May wait on this one a bit to see how I feel about the Dutch tactic.

  10. 10
    Lex on 1 Apr 2008 #

    Highly disappointing from both teams. The Italian entry would be a lot better without that terrible rap; even then, it wins by default over the Dutch entry, which would only be better if everything about it was different. But this is a very lacklustre match.

  11. 11
    stevem on 1 Apr 2008 #

    The rap doesn’t seem that bad at all – I mean could Pitbull do it at that tempo? ;)

  12. 12
    Tom on 1 Apr 2008 #

    I have a pretty high Eurorap tolerance but I thought it was fine. The European rapping I don’t like is the “noes we must not sound goofy must keep our flow serious” type.

  13. 13
    Matt DC on 2 Apr 2008 #

    Haha there is an ENORMOUS amount of “we are scary gangstas and if you don’t believe us we will kill you with guns” Italian rap that totally fails the ‘not sounding goofy’ test, to Anglo ears at least.

  14. 14
    Doctor Mod on 2 Apr 2008 #

    If Britain ran “West End Girls,” I’d vote for it.

  15. 15
    Tom on 2 Apr 2008 #

    I think people can use whatever criteria they want to vote: personally I’d vote for an awesome track I knew very well over an average track I didn’t, but probably not over a good one I didn’t. In this particular case I decided I didn’t know “Radar Love” well anyway except by reputation, so judged the tracks on their merits. It was still close – both managers have talked their tracks up a bit on this one: Golden Earring are indeed full of rock energy but that energy is spread a bit thin over 6 minutes. And Piotta may well be disco but the disco elements are rather dominated by the rap ones. I voted Golden Earring by a whisker.

    I should also say that there is no rule at all against voting for yourself! A couple of people have put themselves at a minor disadvantage so far by not doing so.

    (Now we’ve been running for a few games, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have included “Draw” as one of the voting options (and then let the result be decided by a straight first-past-the-post system) – there’s been a couple of occasions where my preference hasn’t been very strong either way, as here.)

  16. 16
    Matt DC on 2 Apr 2008 #

    We’ll find out if there are groups where all teams are on two points after two games. Conceivably we could get a few where there are three teams on three points after three games, which could be a bit tricky.

  17. 17
    Tom on 2 Apr 2008 #

    “Vote difference” will be the deciding factor, and then votes received.

  18. 18
    lex on 2 Apr 2008 #

    it’s not all about speed stevem, touch is important too!

  19. 19
    Gerhard Whippenpfeiffer (assistant coach) on 2 Apr 2008 #

    what is this ‘Britain’ talk? this isn’t the Olympics y’know (actually that might’ve been a good way of doing this – emo = javelin, electropop = pole vault etc.)

  20. 20
    Doctor Mod on 3 Apr 2008 #

    If you want rap in Dutch, I can give it to you next time around.

    (But, considering what Dutch sounds like to begin with, and what rap sounds like to begin with, it ain’t pretty . . . .)

  21. 21
    Kat but logged out innit on 3 Apr 2008 #

    Strong match here! Being fairly unfamiliar with the Dutch tactics they will be tricky to beat. Yet the Italians have cleverly tapped into the Kool & The Gang vibe to bolster up their side.

  22. 22
    Alan on 7 Apr 2008 #

    golden earring? what a shower

  23. 23
    Tom on 7 Apr 2008 #

    Excellent result for the Italians – 2 points clear at the top of this group. With the other game drawn the Dutch have every opportunity for redemption though.

    Today’s match has been postponed – no sign of the Russia manager yet!

  24. 24
    Matt DC on 7 Apr 2008 #

    Blimey, I had expected it to be closer than that. Despite the three points on the table, the Italian manager will be issuing a stern reprimand to his team for their complacency.

    I think the Dutch team were hard done by a little and may have suffered from a backlash against somewhat conservative tactics. This doesn’t bode well for Sweden.

  25. 25
    Doctor Mod on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Something quite different next time . . . .

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