A draw, Gary. It’s the hardest result to play for in Association Pop – who can judge how to gain somewhere between 42 and 58% of the votes in a game? No-one, that’s who. It’s a result which would probably please both managers here, because it would see both teams through to the next round. A loss here, though, and Greece or Argentina might take advantage…

This match closes at midnight on Monday 12th April

NIGERIA: Bouqui – “Take You Away” The Manager Says: “Like our opponents today, we may need just a point to reach the knockout stages, but you won’t find my Nigeria side content to settle for a draw. South Korea have proven themselves to be ruthlessly effective so far and I’ve been hammering it home to the squad that one silly defensive slip could cost us dearly. If we get through, all our likely opponents in the next round look very strong and the best way of avoiding the toughest game is by topping the group. With that in mind, consider this belter from Lagos’s Bouqui as a statement of intent. We will rise. We will rise. WE WILL RISE UP TO THE TOP.”

KOREA REPUBLIC: BoA – “Lose Your Mind” The Manager Says: “With South Korea so close to qualifying for the Round of 16, I considered a radical experiment with the formation for this match – playing some sinawi, or bringing on Byungki Hwang. But the strong and versatile Nigerian squad would make that a dangerous gamble, so I’ve just tweaked the tactics instead. BoA is a Korean singer with parallel discographies in various Asian countries; she recently tried to break into the U.S. market with an English-language album. “Lose Your Mind” goes a little harder than yr typical K-pop single, and its central guitar riff went to Amerie on a loan last year. I’d trust her managerial nous.”

Group B Match 5: Which of these tracks do you prefer? [ballot]

  • NIGERIA - Bouqui 59%

Total Voters: 59

Poll closes: 12 Apr 2010 @ 22:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: We’re not sure how distinctively Nigerian Bouqui’s approach is, but we’re also not sure how much we, or anyone else will care when their backline is as meaty as this. Korea bring an intricate, sparky, shiny pop thing which will stand or fall on the quality of the hooks its wing players can conjure – they’re certainly not lumping it up long to the big lad. It’s a strong game, but we could see it being the draw both sides may secretly be wishing for…

Result! Cote D’Ivoire 1 Brazil 1 Brazil, after a late selection controversy which led to suggestions of interference from their sponsors, played a side of vintage heavy hitters and the manager must be scratching his head to work out where the win he needs next time is coming from. Disappointment too on the Ivorian bench as despite sustained pressure, they fail to slot in the winner which would have more-or-less secured qualification. Their manager is looking nervously over his shoulder at a rumoured new appointee, who used to be in Eggstone, or something like that. Controversial times. “This is an all out assault by Brazil, physically overpowering and reminiscent of the Italian teams of the 70s” “I can actually see the Brazilians wearing down a breezy Ivoirian side whose several creative players never quite gel. That lone striker is spending most of his time shouting at his own midfield.” “Magic System have ruled the francophone African pop scene for years and with good reason. Always taking the game one step further than the competitors, always more joyous, more hook-filled, more thoroughly produced, more filled with ideas.” “I once met a guy who claimed to have lost his virginity to Roots, Bloody Roots, and I’m voting Ivory Coast on principle. Not that they don’t deserve it…” “LESS METAL. PERIOD.

Coming up: Neither Greece nor Argentina can be certain of qualification even with a win, but if either Nigeria or Korea Republic win, they could just sneak through the back door, they can’t afford to give up now! And there have been rumours from the Greek camp that their manager is about to go off on one. We’ll see.