Feb 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group F – Italy 0 Paraguay 0

FT//30 comments • 1,037 views

Group F’s opener sees Paraguay, managed by Talia, take on Marna’s Italy side. Both these teams came bottom of their groups at the last Pop World Cup – while it’s probably fair to say pop minnows Paraguay will be looking to enjoy the experience, surely Italy won’t be about to repeat their 2006 collapse?

Vote in the poll below the cut – you have until midnight on the 3rd March to pick your favourite.

ITALY: MORDER MACHINE ft ATRAX MORGUE – “I’m So” The manager says – “Some very introspective and morbid play from Italy. Is this off-colour sound the result of some dodgy prawns at the pre-match team dinner? Or are they hoping that their slow but relentless game will break the opposition? The team manager is possibly over-vehement in her denial of the tabloid rumours surrounding the mental stability of her team.”

PARAGUAY: SEFIROTH – “From Darkness To Light” The manager says – “Nothing says winning the pop world cup like a ridiculous metal track you might expect Finland to enter into Eurovision, but from a land which is famous musically mainly for its use of harps at least Sefrioth are a little different. Prepare yourself for some air guitar fun in the middle and get ready to RAWWWWWK!”

Group F Match 1: Which track did you prefer?

  • Italy: Morder Machine ft Atrax Morgue 56%
  • Paraguay: Sefiroth 44%

Total Voters: 52

Poll closes: 3 Mar 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: “It’s fair to say this Italian line-up won’t be doing the team’s reputation for negativity any harm – they’re looking to intimidate their opponents and playing the ball is very much a secondary consideration. Paraguay are a pretty physical bunch themselves but there’s a lot more movement and positivity to their play, even considering their unfashionable tactics.”

RESULT! Ghana 3 Serbia 0: Horror show for Serbia as they crashed to a heavy defeat despite having their share of possession and several good chances. “Entertaining play from both sides – Serbia’s defensive hoover tactics battling Ghana’s dexterity on the ball.” “Serbia’s flash and bang, though it flashes and bangs admirably, gets in a few crucial early points but then succumbs to general fatigue. Ghana’s in it for the long haul.” “That’s some performance from the Ghanaian sub there towards the end. But it’s no mere fannydangle, it’s a magnificent solo effort, collecting the ball at the half way line then leaving three defenders on their arse, wrong-footing the keeper and putting the ball right into the top corner. I’m a sucker for ridiculous fast and fluent rapping in languages I can’t understand, but for me that’s still the best individual goal of the tournament so far.”

Coming Up! Group F’s other game tomorrow is an intriguing New Zealand – Slovakia match-up, and then Cote d’Ivoire take on Portugal in Group G at the start of next week.


  1. 1
    Tom on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Frankly if this match ends with 22 players on the pitch I’ll be astonished.

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I am looking forward to the French manager’s comments on this tie.

  3. 3
    mm on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Oh boy.. here’s Italy with provocations for provocations sake, a shoulder in the mug of the opposition — “we’re not here to play ball”. And Paraguay with that odd game that makes you ponder the question; have they ever been on the field before this game? I can’t say I want to replay either teams’ highlights again, but I’m curious as to who will nab the points.

  4. 4
    Tim on 25 Feb 2010 #

    If Italy’s approach results in a win in this game it could revolutionise the world of pop-football. It’s an untried tactic, a formation imported from another sport entirely. Surely it can’t succeed? But it’s up against such formulaic unpleasantness from Paraguay that it may have a chance on the day.

    I must say it this tie makes me dream of pop football played in the old style, with an orange ball, dancers for goalposts and lights being turned out on fish.

  5. 5
    Alan on 25 Feb 2010 #

    uneasy spectacle this. dark robots of unknown intention drilling in slo-mo unison grid formation across the pitch, they’re ignoring what’s in play as the latin metal troop run end to end with no opposition in sight. no defence, no attack, no competition to see here at all. but i for one welcome our new psychopathic robot overlords for this, hopefully, unique performance.

  6. 6
    Kat but logged out innit on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Hilarious play from the Italians – the Slovenian manager is happily reminded of her tenure with the Spanish side in 2006, where Dr Gore 2000 was (correctly) sat on the bench for the duration but gave vocal support throughout.

  7. 7
    koganbot on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Italy fields a team of underworld drudges captained by aliens plying whips and seeming more intent on asserting total dominance over their own players than in locating the ball. The Paraguayan team, meanwhile, comprising enthusiastic amateurs, cluster around the ball but manage to kick the sod more than the sphere. The combined effect is quite amusing, though the spectators had not bargained for football raised to the level of performance art. FIFA was queried as to whether the match would be scored on the basis of sociopolitical evocativeness rather than goals, but answered grimly, “No. Balls in the net are the only criteria,” such criteria but a distant utopia as the halfway point nears.

  8. 8
    Matt DC on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I heard Alan Green on the radio earlier and he was spitting feathers about the Italian track – “if they’re not going to even try and win the game they shouldn’t be here at all”. And while putting 11 men behind the ball at all times then finally hoofing it forward in the 89th minute is an admirable tactic I can’t see it working at this level.

    Paraguay are on for a win here and this sort of pop metal formation has done well for other teams in previous tournaments, although there’s the lingering sense they’re trying to pull off more than their technical ability allows. But it’s enough against this opposition.

  9. 9
    Lex on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Hahahahahahahaha big ups to ITA for sheer stubborn defiance there. Why all the comments about “they’re not even trying”, “imported from another sport”? I don’t think the Pop World Cup should be about a conservative, rigid patrolling of the borders of “pop”, and this approach is as valid as any other.

    Of course it would still lose against anything I half-liked but PAR have scored an own goal by opting for possibly my least favourite type of music ever, stupid Eurovision metal. Couldn’t get through it and find the hypnotic ITA sludge way more pleasurable tbh. Metal is not my thing at all but real metal >>>>>>> silly Eurovision metal, just because that equation is true regardless of what you substitute for “metal”.

  10. 10
    Lex on 25 Feb 2010 #

    And yeah in terms of quality this isn’t a great match but it’s certainly a spectacle and way preferable to the ENG vs USA travesty or the GER vs AUS horror show.

  11. 11
    Matt DC on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Lex I believe what you are trying to say is “DEATH TO FALSE METAL”.

  12. 12
    Lex on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I don’t know what metal people usually say! What I am trying to say is that seriousface >>>>>>>>>>>>> comedy.

  13. 13
    Tim on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Hey The Lex, I wasn’t patrolling any pop borders anywhere – what I was getting at was the fact that this is a completely different approach to anyting we’ve seen in the history of these tournaments.

    Actually it occurs to me that if anyone is patrolling borders it’s you with your “silly Eurovision” / “real” distinction.

  14. 14
    Matt DC on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Justifying the “not even trying to win the game” thing would, I fear, involve explaining Alan Green to the Lex, which would take more time than I currently have.

    I think the Italy track knows full well that it is very silly and comical.

  15. 15
    Alberto on 25 Feb 2010 #

    As Johan Cruijff used to say: “The Italians won’t beat you, but you sure as hell can lose to them.”

  16. 16
    Birdseed on 25 Feb 2010 #

    For a brief misspelled second my heart raced as I thought Giorgio Moroder might have been involved in the Italian entry, but no, what we’ve got is tuneless noise. Which of course leaves this a shoe-in for the Paragu– OH MY GOD THAT IS SO OFF-KEY! MY EARS ARE B-L-E-E-D-I-N-G!

    Er. I’ll have to come back to this one.

  17. 17
    Steve Mannion on 25 Feb 2010 #

    I’m beguiled by the Italians extraordinary display here. Are they literally trying to walk it in or are they just determined to keep the ball, ferociously barking at any opposing player who comes near, attempting to intimidate them into submission? They sound like deranged Daleks screaming in the midfield void. Do they even care about getting the ball into the net? I don’t know but it’s a remarkable spectacle to behold.

    As it turns out, 90 minutes of acting like there isn’t even a ball and just glowering at the Paraguayans may actually suffice. Running their socks off with no let-up PAR try and prise the ball from ITA, repeatedly falling over or just being kicked in the knees. The frontwoman cannot seem to connect with her strike partner’s set-ups and their attempts on goal sail high over the bar. Only then do they realise they’re actually playing with a KITTEN, cruelly tossed onto the pitch by snarling slag-metal Ultras. If there’s anyone left standing after this I’ll be surprised.

    Frankly as NZ boss so up against both, I’m perturbed. We’ll really have to work on our funk soul Haka…

  18. 18
    ChrisB on 25 Feb 2010 #

    This does seem like a questionable strategy for both teams. The Italians control the football for the entire game, but never make any serious attempt to move past midfield and take a shot at the goal. It’s like the adopted Argentina’s final minutes strategy of protecting the lead while the clock runs down, except they never took the opportunity to build a lead that needs protection.

    Paraguay seems to have decided they were going to play an aggressively physical game all 90 minutes, but haven’t formulated what that means exactly. It’s like Paraguay is frustrated by Italy’s ball control and spent a lot of time running into one another.

    Before this match is over, I expect to see a lot of yellow cards and maybe even an injury or two, but still end in a 0-0 draw.

  19. 19
    lonepilgrim on 25 Feb 2010 #

    Don’t look now, but Italy seem to be drawing from the Argento playbook here, mentally draining opponents and spectators with their domination of the field – Paraguay’s displays of aggression on the other hand are unconvincing and a bit CHEESY. A draw from where I stand

  20. 20
    jeff w on 26 Feb 2010 #

    So, I tune in to Sky Sports 1 for the match but the special camera following the Italian side seems to be showing the play in slow motion… w-what? It’s normal speed? Have the players had a row with Marna and gone on strike or something?

    Seriously, though, I’m kinda offended by this in much the same way others were offended by the ENG and USA first round picks. If the approach is supposed to be a homage to Argento, then how about some Goblin or Morricone next time?

    Not wowed by Paraguay either – all criticisms upthread very valid. But they still edge the match for me.

  21. 21
    sarah logged out on 26 Feb 2010 #

    Very happy that Paraguay have adopted techniques from other sports, notably the Pop World Karaoke Wailing championships and brought it to their game. However, the anti-dopers may wish to query the “wind in my veins” of the lovely Paraguayan singer. The more I think about it, the more I love her. Paraguay by a shnozz.

  22. 22
    Steve Mannion on 26 Feb 2010 #

    I think the Italians have winded her badly, the brutes.

  23. 23
    Rob Hakimian on 26 Feb 2010 #

    This is post-modern football on display from Italy who are completely outfoxing a Paraguay team who seem to be having trouble breaking out of their rigid 4-4-2 formation with any sort of creativity.

  24. 24
    Weej on 27 Feb 2010 #

    Italy seem to have arrived on the pitch armed with heavy weaponry intent on slaughtering the opposition and popping the ball into an undefended net. Paraguay make the tactical error of trying to take on the Italians on their own terms, but their puny defences are easily cut down, and within minutes they are lying dead on the pitch, the referee having fled in the opening moments. Or something along those lines.

  25. 25
    Jonathan Bogart on 28 Feb 2010 #

    SPACE FOOTBALL! One side fields giant flesh-eating slugs with a lifespan of millennia, the other side fields metallic-clad strippers out of a Heavy Metal comic. The winner is of course the production designer.

    Italy for me here; while I was all set to root for the underdog, especially an underdog who fielded a pop-metal team, especially especially an underdog pop-metal act with a female vocalist, if she can’t stay on key she might as well be sent off for handling.

  26. 26
    Garry on 1 Mar 2010 #

    Paraguay are all shine but no substance. They try to out-muscle the Italians, but find it’s like kicking a mountain. Plus, they try so hard to dominate the pitch, they forget the name of the game is to score.

    Italy, for their part, suck up all the Paraguayan pomp into a black hole. They take their time. They wait for the right pass. And wait. And wait. Then near the end, with Paraguay having worked themselves into exhaustion, Italy start to break forth but just as they reach the penalty area, the whistle goes. A no score drawer. Italy the most impressive, but if they keep these tactics they will lose easily against any team who are more worried about trying to poke the ball between the big rectangle thing.

  27. 27
    fernando on 3 Mar 2010 #

    Looks like catenaccio is back for Italy. Does it work? They go home with a clean sheet, but never crossed the midfield, really.

  28. 28
    Tom on 3 Mar 2010 #

    Votes in this game to be in by tonight please. The cameras are lingering with relish on rows of empty seats.

  29. 29
    jeff w on 3 Mar 2010 #

    Italy is long since consigned to the recycle bin. Every time I go to delete Paraguay however, I decide to give it one last play and boggle once again at that vocal. I can see me still doing this long after the tournament’s over.

  30. 30
    Tom on 4 Mar 2010 #

    A draw – to the surprise of few – with a turnout 10 lower than anything in the tournament so far. (which seems to have dragged its fellow Group F match into Atrax Morgue’s slough of despond! go vote in that please!)

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