With the defending Pop World Cup champions Czech Republic failing to qualify for this year’s tournament, Portugal are the most successful 2006 team represented here. Managed by Job de Wit, they open Group G with a game against the Ivory Coast, in whose dugout sits Wichita Lineman of Popular comments crew fame.

Let’s vote! You have until midnight on March 7th to pick a winner here.

IVORY COAST: Bab Lee – “Tropical Mix (Sous Les Cocotiers)” The manager says – “All out attack. Melody is left on the bench as rhythmic nous, constantly switching wingplay, the best two-note hook since Boredom, and enough energy to last until the 95th minute are deployed to undo the Portuguese.”

PORTUGAL: Mikado Lab – “Takket” The manager says – “It’s not often that exceptional pop music from Portugal reaches the rest of the world. The music sung in Portuguese that everyone loves almost without exception comes, of course, from its former colony Brazil. Fittingly, Lisbon fourpiece Mikado Lab isn’t really a pop band, and they don’t have a singer. The gorgeous “Takket” comes from last year’s Coração Pneumático, one of two albums released by the band in 2009. Theirs is a Stereolabby kind of jazz, with hints of both Bach and the Beach Boys. Keyboardist Ana Araújo plays a melody as simple as it sounds irresistable, with bandleader and drummer Marco Franco keeping the rhythm light yet insistent. ”

Group G Match 1: Which track did you prefer? [ballot]

  • Ivory Coast: Bab Lee 71%
  • Portugal: Mikado Lab 31%

Total Voters: 55

Poll closes: 7 Mar 2010 @ 23:50

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Commentary Box Analysis: “Ivory Coast are playing a constant pressing game all over the pitch: Portugal are doing their best to keep the tempo down and build attacks. I don’t think either side is playing with a recognised striker but there’s enough skill and innovative tactics on show here to satisfy any real lover of the game. Fascinating match.”

RESULT: Denmark 1 Holland 4: Spirited effort from the Danes but they ultimately had no answers to this well-drilled, slick Dutch side. “Great stuff from NED – love her poise and sense of timing. It’s a big tune, but she doesn’t overplay it – she holds back, it’s all in the details of her phrasing, her judicious pauses and “mm-hmm”s.” The Dutch track is another order of quality, the song itself isn’t all that interesting but she tackles it with the right kind of lacksadaiscal aplomb.” “Sukkerchok has a great melody, though, and delivery too I think. It’s classic stuff, for sure, but performed with enough self-confidence and pizzaz to thrill.” “TULIP ALLEN! DO YOU SEE?”

Coming Next! TREMBLE O WEST as North Korea put the correct pop thought of the great leader to the test against the samba skills of Brazil tomorrow. Then on Thursday Chile play Honduras – battle of the minnows? Or will they be able to spring a surprise?