The biggest match of the first round of group games? Two pop behemoths face off – England managed by Bec, USA by Europop 2008 victor Pete Baran. (So that’s England managed by an American and the US managed by a Brit, yes.) A pulsating pop derby as an old rivalry is renewed – or will the pressure of expectations put a damper on play? Let’s find out!

As ever, anyone can vote. This match will end at midnight on Sunday 21st February.

ENGLAND: Joe Cocker – “Change In Louise” (4Mb) The manager says: “‘Joe Cocker throws his wild blues passion into an aching, fierce chorus. As he’s supported by a glorious squad of backup singers, he’s confident he’ll ride by. The fun and funky Hammond organ encourage the fans to sing along!”

USA: Yeasayer – “O.N.E.” (12Mb) The manager says: “The USA has a proud pop heritage, and I am pleased to be able to manage this team heading into the Pop World Cup 2010. After my success with the undisciplined but committed Swiss, I am excited to be in charge of a team with almost the opposite problem. Overdogs with an almost limitless pop of music to pick from, I know that the Pop World Cup voters will be against us from the start – though I would be the first to admit that England will have a similar problem. That said I have decided to limit my picks to new releases, nothing from that illustrious history, and nothing that I think will be a massive hit. And mumbly bumbly Yeasayer fit into that category perfectly. Can a band get more American than this inward gazing artpop trio with visions of a global worldpop that sound nothing like any real worldpop? Don’t know, don’t care, I just know that this is an infectious slice of something that sounds NEW to play against an England who i reckon will be relying on old glories.”

Group C Match 1: Which track did you like better? [ballot]

  • USA: Yeasayer 68%
  • England: Joe Cocker 32%

Total Voters: 74

Poll closes: 21 Feb 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: “Blood and thunder play from England: you can’t fault them for guts and commitment but the game has moved on since the 60s and I wonder if effort will be enough. As for the Americans, hours of beach football and hacky-sack have given their play some real fluidity, but flicks and tricks won’t get the ball into the net on their own.”

Coming Up! Our other Group C match tomorrow pits Algeria v Slovenia in an educational contest for the neutral. Then on Thursday we’re into Group D and Germany v Australia, another big, big game.

RESULTS: South Africa 2 Mexico 1 (41 votes to 27) – South Africa held on to win despite constant second half pressure from a spirited Mexican side. “There’s a strong shared quirky energy in both sides making for an entertaining game.” “A bright and sturdy start [for SA], encouraging for their tournament prospects” “The pre-match hype had made me think the Mexicans would be playing it hard, dirty and snarling in the tackle but they have a lot of positivity and flair there as well.” “The horn fanfare on the “Pidipidi” chorus is what clinched it: this sounds like World Cup stuff whether or no.”