Mar 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group B – Greece 1 Nigeria 2

FT/27 comments • 1,018 views

More action now from the group of draws, Group B. Greece ranked as outsiders ahead of the tournament, while Nigeria were hotly tipped in some quarters to go somewhere near All The Way. But the table doesn’t lie and they go into this game all square. Defeat may leave either team contemplating an early exit and no-one wants to go home too soon to their national equivalent of Del Amitri.

Voting for this match ends at midnight on 18 March

GREECE: Haris Alexiou & Dimitra Galani – “OHI DEN PREPIThe Manager Says: “Nigeria’s world-class young squad and thorough knowledge of the modern game are a tough nut to crack. So I’m going to try something a bit different. Take the pace down quite a bit. Bring in a couple of legendary players off the bench into the starting lineup. Watch them string together beautiful combinations and set-pieces, their sensitive passes cutting through even the most cold-hearted defense. Surely.”

NIGERIA:  Kefee featuring Timaya – “KOKOROKO” The Manager Says:  “The Super Eagles of Pop seem to be winning more fans than points at this stage, which has been terrific fun but won’t stifle those mumbles of dissent from the Nigerian press much longer. There’d been some speculation that we’d go all out to kick our next opponents out of the game, but at this level it’s as much about winning hearts and minds as winning points. So our gangsta rap midfield hardmen remain on the bench in favour of a front pairing the fans at home have been clamouring to see. Nigerian pundits have been saying for years that this girl had the potential to light up the Pop World Cup, so let’s see what she do..”

Commentary Box Analysis: “Well, this is fascinating. Pundits have already been discussing the unprecedented diversity of styles and tactics deployed by the managers in this tournament and this enjoyable game confirms that view. The Greek team selected by Johan seems (literally) winsome, on first hearing. Matt’s Nigerian line-up may be a stroke of managerial genius, though: he has chosen to adopt an appealing style which plays to traditional strengths – strength – but retains an attractive and good-natured side, strong and quick but very fair indeed. Many were expecting a snarling, studs-up performance from the Nigerians here, but this more humane approach may simply outpace the Greeks.”

Group B Match 4: which track did you prefer?

  • Kefee featuring Timaya - Kokoroko 58%
  • Haris Alexiou & Dimitra Galani - Ohi Den Prepi 42%

Total Voters: 50

Poll closes: 18 Mar 2010 @ 23:59

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Result! Group H: Spain 2 Switzerland 0 The last match in the first round seemed too close to call. Instead, it turned out to be a convincing win for a  Spanish team who concentrated on doing the simple things well. It seems the Swiss inclination for invention may have led them to neglect the goal a little. Still, we haven’t seen the last of this Switzerland team. The Spanish, meanwhile, could be real challengers if they have as much more to give as the pundits think. “This Spanish side isn’t to be taken lightly: high-octane to be sure, but far from being brutish or relying on pure muscle.” “The Spaniards have so much energy! They keep running and running and by the end they look as though they could go for another 90.” “The Swiss team are content to play a deeper, slower, passing game but they certainly know how to surprise.” “SUI track really is something, its deeply odd mix of constituent parts works against all the odds.” “The Swiss song is as boring as long. The Spanish entry is full of vigour.”

Coming up: On to the second round of games in Group C: Slovenia follow the disappointment of their recent narrow defeat (to an Algerian team who surprised many with their quality) by lining up against one of the undisputed giants of pop football: the USA.


  1. 1
    Tom on 12 Mar 2010 #

    The Greek track reminds me of seeing black and white footage of the great Europop Cup sides of the 50s and 60s – gorgeous, elegant passing, colossal shorts and well-kept hair, a slow trot around the field.

    A pleasure to see, in fact – but it’s a faster game these days and the Nigerians are playing it with magnificent self-assurance. You can see them filling their boots against Greece’s ageing back line: a shame in some ways as the Greeks deserve a lot of respect, but the World Cup has always been about celebrating new, young stars, and that’s what we have here.

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 12 Mar 2010 #

    The thing I forgot to mention about my track is that it begins with an awesome team talk – “we’re hot like fire and we’re gonna strike like thunder, very soon gonna blow like bazooka”.

    Not at all what I expected from the Greeks, I thought they’d throw the kitchen sink at me in this round, but should be an intriguing game. May the best boy-girl duet win!

  3. 3
    Kat but logged out innit on 12 Mar 2010 #

    The Slovenian management DISPUTE all accusations that so far they have been too busy out clubbing to draw up the team sheet from the vast swathes of techno covering the country like a cloud of volcanic dust. Said management approves of both these tracks above but wonders if the Nigerian side could have worked a little harder on their finishing?

  4. 4
    Martin Skidmore on 12 Mar 2010 #

    The Greek team play a likeable enough game, but it’s a bit soporific, and I think they are totally overpowered and outpaced by the non-lying hips of the Nigerian strikers – I am powerfully reminded of the great Colombian player (whose country failed to qualify), Shakira.

  5. 5
    Bec on 12 Mar 2010 #

    This was a tough match – very different tactics at play but the gorgeous, Simon & Garfunkel-esque harmonies of Greece won me over in the end.

  6. 6
    juje80 on 12 Mar 2010 #

    tough one…i think it’s one of the best matches of this world cup…saddly i have to vote for one of them…and i choose the greek one…

  7. 7
    Birdseed on 12 Mar 2010 #

    Based on the comments, we might be heading for a draw here too – which suits me fine, since I’d love for Nigeria to go through… Besides myself for selfish reasons of course.

  8. 8
    jeff w registered on 14 Mar 2010 #

    Agree with previous commentators that this (another!) tight match, and I’d be happy to see either side prevail. The Greeks are playing in a style which I’d normally dismiss out of hand, but this song has completely wrong footed me. It’s just beautiful. By contrast, Nigeria are definitely aiming to please the pop purists here. And when Kefee Obareki is on the mic, there are definitely goals in prospect. The quality dips when she passes to her team mate(s) though.

    I’m voting Greece this time.

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 14 Mar 2010 #

    Some may suggest that the Greek manager has lost his marbles with this team selection but there’s a deceptive robustness and passion to their play which should cause problems for the Nigerians whose energetic, modern style appears a bit brittle and repetitive as the match goes on. A tight call but a draw seems likely unless there are some dubious decisions from the linesmen.

  10. 10
    Jonathan Bogart on 15 Mar 2010 #

    This is the sort of game you tell your grandkids you were in the stands for. Greece fields a mystical hippie duo with fragile-looking backup, Nigeria fields one of the most engaging young female strikers it’s been our pleasure to see play and backs her up with a massive pop party. Thrills and disappointments abound (on both sides) as Nigeria discovers that what looks like fragility on the part of the Greek defense is in fact GOETIC MAGIC, and their best shots are turned away without a defender being visible on the field. However the Greek wizards up front aren’t finding the Nigerian electrofunk defense an easy mountain to climb either; they themselves may be able to float hand-in-hand above the heads of their opponents, but the ball remains stubbornly earthbound, and they rarely get past midfield against a defense that is here to party. Kefee is undoubtedly the star of the game — if she isn’t swamped by sponsorship deals and invitations from the big association teams like Timbaland’s or Max Martin’s, there’s no pop football justice — but she’s let down by a co-striker who simply can’t keep up with her. Never mind; in the last five minutes the Greek defenses flag, and Kefee, alone on the field (no one will call her offside if they CAN’T SEE THE DEFENSE), finds a hole, and rears her heel back to shoot, straight and true.

    At which point we turn to our grandkids and grin at the ensuing cries of “but what HAPPENED?”

    “Well,” we say, “then the votes came in….”

  11. 11
    koganbot on 16 Mar 2010 #

    The Greeks play a beautifully harmonious game in slow motion, create quicksand for the opponents but sometimes get caught in it themselves. The Nigerians in contrast come out running, though there’s confusion as it appears the equipment bus was stolen and their outfits hastily pieced together from American Army surplus. But the talent up the middle is undeniable, and eventually they get past the Greeks.

  12. 12
    Tim on 16 Mar 2010 #

    CORRECTION! This match finishes at midnight (UK time) on Thursday 18th March. Sorry for the gross incompetence. The managers would be quite justified in complaining to the authorities about my timekeeping.

  13. 13
    Matt DC on 18 Mar 2010 #

    Last day of voting on this unless I’m mistaken.

  14. 14
    Tom on 18 Mar 2010 #

    You are not mistaken! VOTE IN THIS, it’s a bit low.

  15. 15
    Matt DC on 18 Mar 2010 #

    I think whoever goes up on Friday tends to get fewer votes than the other ties. There might be a case for running the four games Monday to Thursday from now on?

  16. 16
    Birdseed on 18 Mar 2010 #

    I agree. Or at least put the friday track out earlier in the morning?

  17. 17
    Tom on 18 Mar 2010 #

    I did fuck up badly with an evening kick-off for one Friday track. I found as organiser that doing the preparation in two blocs with a day and a weekend gap was a bit less gruelling, so I think making sure we get the Friday one up quickly is the way to go.

  18. 18
    Lex on 18 Mar 2010 #

    Heh, I see the GRE manager has been lurking around the French training camp! Almost works, too, but the NGR track just pushes all my buttons, and specifically makes me demand MORE R&B DIVAS PLEASE. Raise your games, other managers; this is the gauntlet being thrown down.

  19. 19
    Matt DC on 19 Mar 2010 #

    *Runs to corner flag, does little dance*

    I think I have the French manager’s late vote to thank for this. Still, terrific play from Greece for the entire game. Still a lot to play for in this group.

  20. 20
    Tom on 19 Mar 2010 #

    This leaves Nigeria and South Korea knowing a draw in their game will see them both qualify, but I think there’s too much at stake not to go for the win. (also I’m not sure how you’d play for a draw in the PWC, hooray!)

  21. 21
    Birdseed on 19 Mar 2010 #

    What a difference a single percentage point can make!

    So does this mean I’m out? What’s the tie-breaker in case two teams end up on four points? If it’s head-to-head scores, both Greece and Argentina are already out, right, rendering the final round of games purely about honour?

  22. 22
    Matt DC on 19 Mar 2010 #

    I believe it’ll be decided on ‘percentage difference’ rather than head-to-head, but the organisers will need to confirm that. It might not be decided yet. Looking at the margins South Korea are racking up, that puts them in a very good position.

    A draw between Nigeria and South Korea in the third game would be enough to ensure qualification for both sides, however.

  23. 23
    Tom on 19 Mar 2010 #

    No, there are no dead rubbers in the PWC (or very few).

    The head to head on equal points is yr total %ages, or total votes if those are equal.

    So if you beat Argentina and there’s a victory in the other game you’ve got a chance of going through.

  24. 24
    Birdseed on 19 Mar 2010 #

    Right, let’s pull together a quick tabloid-like analysis of those permutations then.

    In case of a draw in either game Nigeria and South Korea are both through.

    Greece will go through if:

    They win their last-round game, South Korea win their last-round game and Greece’s percentage score in the last round is at least 24 points higher than Nigeria’s.

    They win their last-round game, Nigeria win their last-round game and Greece’s percentage score in the last round is at least 41 points higher than South Korea’s.

    (Argentina’s quivalents are 35 and 52)

    The minimum “double-win” margin is 16, so 24 is not a terribly difficult result to achieve. Good to know, I’ve really got to fight hard in the last round though, and rely on South Korea to trample Nigeria, which seems unlikely to be honest.

  25. 25
    Chris on 19 Mar 2010 #

    Thanks for hashing out those scenarios! I suppose that means South Korea are through unless one of Greece or Argentina win heavily and my team gets completely thrashed. Tempted to experiment a bit now…

  26. 26
    Steve Mannion on 26 Mar 2010 #

    I was just collecting links for the artists featured in the PWC so far, for the minisite home page, and would like to share the top Google result for Kefee with you all: http://www.modernghana.com/movie/3874/3/kefee-screams-you-wet-the-bed-every-night-and-aske.html

  27. 27
    Matt DC on 26 Mar 2010 #

    ‘Kokoroko’ is actually a well-known brand of incontinence pants in Nigeria.

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