Apr 08

Europop 2008: Group D – Russia 1 Spain 1

FT29 comments • 1,122 views

Our last two teams take their bow in the second Group D game – two nations with big pop potential: can they realise it? Listen to the tracks, vote in the poll, then click below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, previews and match reports. SPECIAL NOTE: Since we haven’t found the Russian manager, thanks a lot to Jessica Popper for stepping in at short notice and giving us a track!

How to vote: Just pick the track you like best and vote in the poll below – this poll ends next Monday morning.

Russia v Spain: Which track do you prefer?

  • Russia: Oskar 59%
  • Spain: Camila 41%

Total Voters: 22

Poll closes: 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:00

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RUSSIA: Oskar – “How To Find Bin Laden”

The manager says: “Oskar, like most Russian popstars, has a very interesting backstory – he became a huge star in Russia in 2001, only to lose it all when conflicts in Chechnya (where he was born) led him to revert to his Muslim roots, change his name to Shamil, and release a song called Become Jihad. This was so controversial (and he was already subject to regular racist attacks from Moscow police) that he eventually left Russia for America, became the frontman for a glam-rock group called The Psycholovers, and recorded songs such as Make Love To America and How To Find Bin Laden. Now you can all join me in going about daily life with “all of a sudden, jump up Bin Laden” stuck on your brain. ”

Our analyst says: “A brash young squad whose in-your-face attitude will typify all that’s wrong with the modern game for some, while thrilling others. They play at high tempo and try plenty of tricks, though the technical side of their play may be found wanting against patient opponents. Likely to get in the ref’s face at every opportunity.”

SPAIN: Camila – “Yo Quiero”

The manager says: “I was delighted when I found out that Camila have a Spanish grandparent and were therefore eligible to represent Spain in Europop 2008. Since bursting onto the Spanish music scene in 2006, the band known as “the Mexican Busted” have wowed crowds with their pop tones. For the first round game, I’ve selected their current start striker, ‘Yo Quiero’, currently #4 in the Spanish Top 40 Goalscorer charts. Group D is clearly the Group of Death, with Sweden to come, but I’m confident we’ve got the flair and paella to take us past Russia and on course for Round 2.”

Our analyst says: Spain are playing a mid-tempo game, comfortable in possession and with enough flair upfront to ensure goals. But their defense might be a little wayward – there’s a big question mark over their concentration and the full-backs have a tendency to showboat which Russia will look to exploit. A tight game, this.

COMING NEXT: It’s a rerun of the Pop World Cup final, with the Czech Republic in a grim position at the bottom of Group A. Their preparations won’t be helped by the shock news that the Czech manager has WALKED OUT on the squad – or was he pushed? A spokesperson has blamed an “unavoidable personal crisis”, and the outgoing manager has pledged full support to his replacement, the unknown Henrik. Henrik’s managerial career will start at the deep end, as Portugal look to build on their unexpected win over Turkey by sealing 3 points and qualification under the former Czeck manager Greg.

MATCH REPORT: Holland 0 Italy 2

Italy showed little respect for a Holland side packed full of ageing stars, scoring early and never really allowing their opponents back into the game. The crowd gave Holland a warmer reception, as befitted a side who were great in their day, but it was the tight, physical Italians who dominated throughout and killed the tie early in the second half with a poacher’s goal. In truth Italy didn’t play with the flair many expected, and though this is an excellent result for them, Group C is far from decided: Holland meanwhile have every chance of getting back into it but face a selection dilemma before their showdown with France.


  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 8 Apr 2008 #

    Mexican BUSTED my arse? Try to do a busted jump to that and you’d break yr knees. That said, it is the better of the two I think, though Oskar has a nice backstory and the song would have forced many a draw in other games, I think the boyband win the day.

  2. 2
    Tom on 8 Apr 2008 #

    I am undecided here. Oskar is catchier but is also quite a lot more annoying. However the bassist in the so-called “Mexican Busted” has learned too many flicks and tricks from the Red Hot Chili Peppers so the annoyance factor is present there too. Glad to have heard both of these though I couldn’t say they’re my favourite tracks to surface so far: I will think further before voting, and the next Greek team-talk will be rather more confident.

  3. 3
    Tom on 8 Apr 2008 #

    By the way, I’m going to put these up on Muxtape too BUT the Russia one won’t go, for some reason. So I will convert it at home tonight and see if my version goes up fine.

  4. 4
    Matt DC on 8 Apr 2008 #

    I wish you hadn’t mentioned the Chili Peppers, because it’s just occurred to me that the Russia track is ‘Give It Away’ with post-Neptunes production. :(

  5. 5
    Matt DC on 8 Apr 2008 #

    That said it is much better than the tepid boyband funk of the Spanish entry. Too many fancy flicks and not enough end product, and a little too lightweight for the more robust approach of the Russians. And their team selection is controversial to say the least.

    Easy win for Russia, says I.

  6. 6
    Tom on 8 Apr 2008 #

    I am notifying players now (and will by email) that in the second and third group games FIPA will be cracking down on nationality controversies.

  7. 7
    jel on 8 Apr 2008 #

    I vote for Spain, because Russia crashed my computer. Though, I don’t get the joke at the end of the Spanish song, there would be no room for such levity in the Swedish squad. They need some tea cups chucked at their heads.

  8. 8
    knoroz on 8 Apr 2008 #

    These two are bloody dreadful…

  9. 9
    koganbot on 8 Apr 2008 #

    Quite like this match. Eight seconds into “How To Find Bin Laden” I was thinking, “I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t get my vote,” but then I was quite taken by the sweet and sly smoothness of “Yo Quiero.” So…

    Oskar “How To Find Bin Laden”: This is catchy and hilarious, with an underlying tunefulness that delivers a lot of emotion without telling us that that’s what they’re doing. Reminds me of Thomas Rusiak’s Teddybears STHLM collab, “Hiphopper,” which works in much the same way, and which Jessica also introduced me to. Excellent job, Jessica!

    Camila “Yo Quiero”: Smooth acoustics, w/ fast gentle vocals that contain disguised barbs. Very nice.

    Spain would have gotten my vote in many of these matches, but I go with the Russo-American lunacy.

  10. 10
    koganbot on 8 Apr 2008 #

    I am notifying players now (and will by email) that in the second and third group games FIPA will be cracking down on nationality controversies.

    The only one I’ve had a serious nationality problem with is the Spaniards (and I ended up voting Russia on the merits), but their strong presence on the Spanish charts could be an argument in their favor. (Whereas letting Nelly Furtado represent Portugal in the Pop World Cup was absurd, and I voted against, to no avail.) The French entry was clearly a French song, Croatia made an honest mistake, and Oskar is close enough in time to his Russian days to count as Russian. (And Google searches credit the song to The Oskar or to The Oskar & Psycholovers, so it’s not as if he’s now just one member in an American band. Of course the first Google hit is us!) I never did like the “If your parents are Ukrainian (let’s say) or if you lived somewhere forty years ago you get to count as that country” rule. (I questioned (at least in my own mind) the eligibility of Gogol Bordello and Steve Reich/Dizzee Rascal in the Pop World Cup, though the Reich tune was one of my favorite entries [I forget how I voted, though], and I think I preferred Gogol Bordello’s opponent anyway.) Maybe there needs to be a Rule Clarification.

  11. 11
    koganbot on 8 Apr 2008 #

    And apparently The Oskar still goes back to Russia to perform sometime.

  12. 12
    Matt DC on 8 Apr 2008 #

    I’m not sure if The Oskar would be too happy at representing Russia himself! Let’s hope he doesn’t Google himself. Although that would be an amusing twist in this most eventful of tournaments.

    It is surely only a matter of time until we get random Googlers skewing one of the votes.

  13. 13
    Jessica on 9 Apr 2008 #

    I’m glad Oskar seems to be going down well as it was just a case of searching my own blog for the word “Russia” and posting the second thing I found! The first may well be my submission if I win this round, unless Blue Russian decides he wants his team back. I should really thank my blogging friend ShariVari (http://www.clubcontact.blogspot.com/) for introducing me to Oskar in the first place – you should all visit his blog.

  14. 14
    Matt DC on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Even if you lose there’s a couple more games left in this round. Group stage innit.

    I’m still not holding with the French team selection despite assertions its “clearly a French record” seeing as the artist under whose name the single was sold was American. If Prince moves to Italy and releases a single solely in Italian with an Italian backing band, does that mean I can claim Prince for Italy?

  15. 15
    Steve Mannion on 9 Apr 2008 #

    ‘Steve Reich/Dizzee Rascal in the Pop World Cup, though the Reich tune was one of my favorite entries [I forget how I voted, though]’

    It was Philip Glass, not Reich iirc. Beaten by my own dodgy selection (in that Manu Dibango is not Togolese but the featured vocalist on the selected song was).

  16. 16
    Steve Mannion on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Matt by all means choose Italian resident Morrissey for your next game – I’m sure he’ll go down a storm!

  17. 17
    Jessica on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Now I’ve listened to my opposition I feel sad I can’t vote for it. I love boybands! I didn’t realise I’d have to play more than once in this round (guess who doesn’t watch football), I’d better get researching Russian pop pronto…

  18. 18
    Lex on 10 Apr 2008 #

    OMG the Russian one IS ‘Give It Away’!!!

    Haven’t decided who to vote for. I like the brash production and sheer melodic gumption of RUS, but loathe his voice; I really like the boy band vocals of ESP but am somewhat bored and put off by the blah arrangement.

    Tom I am off to Japan for ages tomorrow, I don’t know when GER is next slated to thrash our paltry opposition (or indeed who they are) but I’mma send you my track today.

  19. 19
    Tom on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Great – send it today. How long are you off for – if it’s more than a month send TWO!

  20. 20
    koganbot on 10 Apr 2008 #

    It was Philip Glass, not Reich.

    I am a racist. They all look the same to me.

  21. 21
    Tom on 12 Apr 2008 #

    This poll is ending on Monday morning so you have 2 days to vote in it – thanks!

  22. 22
    CarsmileSteve on 13 Apr 2008 #

    tough game, bit of an anticlimax i reckon, a few shots high and wide from both teams neither seeming to get much on target. a goalmouth scramble in the 89th minute and the spanish centreback scores off his backside to see them squeak the win…

  23. 23
    Alan on 14 Apr 2008 #

    closely fought.

    (nb to eds: the polls aren’t automatically closing on time – it might be something to do with the time on our sever – will check. currently closing them manually)

  24. 24
    CarsmileSteve on 14 Apr 2008 #

    ooooooh, so very close, guess the 89th minute goal was ofside after all…

  25. 25
    Tom on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Bad luck Russia I think – though as the Greek manager I’m obviously delighted with the result, I’m wary of a backlash in the next game.

  26. 26
    Jessica on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Agh, so close! This 60% to win thing is not a good idea, I’ve just decided! The result is understandable though, I loved my opposition.

  27. 27
    koganbot on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Now that the scores are in I’ll say that I couldn’t find anything else I much liked by The Oskar, even though I quite like this, and I like the glammy Bowie goes hard rock thing he’s trying to do, I just don’t think he’s doing it very well. Deserved a win, though I like the Mexican “Spaniards” more than most commenters seem to. Liked this match fine.

  28. 28
    ekspekt on 30 Jun 2009 #

    interesting post, will come back here, bookmarked your site

  29. 29
    Gema Widrig on 6 Feb 2011 #

    +34 922 71 47 72

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