Apr 10

Pop World Cup 2010: Group B – Nigeria 3 Korea Republic 2

FT/30 comments • 1,368 views

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?

  • 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.


  1. 1
    mm on 7 Apr 2010 #

    Could be a close battle. One has more melody, the other more power and confidence.
    My favorite BoA rnb jam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA8ZBCUweCY

  2. 2
    jeff w on 7 Apr 2010 #

    Blimey, are we doing 4 groups this week?

  3. 3
    Tim on 7 Apr 2010 #

    We are! And 4 next week! And then, a short interval before the knockout stages.

    We are knee-deep in off-cut HTML here at the Pop FA.

  4. 4
    jeff w on 7 Apr 2010 #

    I was thinking of Roger Bozack. How’s he gonna get through 16 tracks in half an hour on Saturday?

  5. 5
    Tim on 7 Apr 2010 #

    You are a kindly fellow. Big Rog’ll manage somehow, I’m sure. Maybe through the medium of mashup?

  6. 6
    Jonathan Bogart on 7 Apr 2010 #

    I voted Korea. I won’t give my reasons but they’re not hard to determine.

  7. 7
    FC Ljubljana but logged out innit on 7 Apr 2010 #

    This is my favourite S. Korean record so far, but I dunno if they can beat the Nigerians.

  8. 8
    Tom on 7 Apr 2010 #

    The Nigerians certainly are rising high – frankly they need to with that hulking defensive line punting long balls upfield. But when you’ve got a team as good at Route One as this, it would be madness to spend too long on the tippy-tappy stuff. Very convincing play from a manager nobody in Group A will look forward to encountering.

    But the Koreans know where the goal is too. Like the Slovenian manager I feel they’re starting to justify some of the hype and belief the fans have shown – ironically they could lose this one despite playing their strongest side yet. The guitar soloist looks a bit of a show pony but his intervention sets up a great one-two with the brass sample and the vocalist.

    Plenty of goals in this one but I think Nigeria might edge it. Great game!

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 7 Apr 2010 #

    The Nigerians look vulnerable to me. They have some great slick moves but they’re not playing their natural game and risk being outpaced and outplayed by the plucky Koreans. It’s Korea for me.

  10. 10
    Matt DC on 7 Apr 2010 #

    Nigerian stragegists had been predicting that this would be the stage in the tournament when afro-pop fatigue would start to kick in among the voters and that seems already to have been the case. But there’s a big chunk of the Nigerian music scene making shiny US-influenced hip-hop and it would paint an inaccurate picture to ignore that totally. Interesting to see similar tactics at work from South Korea here, but I’m thinking this is the time for the African nations to be looking beyond novelty value and trying to to compete on the level playing field of great pop.

  11. 11
    Pete on 7 Apr 2010 #

    Yes, the Koreans are finally playing something I like which the Nigerians rest up and definitely seem to be playing a B-team. Korea for the win.

  12. 12
    Matt DC on 7 Apr 2010 #

    A deeper-lying formation should never be confused with a B-team, as the Greek side of 2004 should be able to tell you.

  13. 13
    Erithian on 7 Apr 2010 #

    Nigeria – good stuff. Could see this sitting comfortably in the upper reaches of our Top 40 and better than most of it. Matt’s right – if England can field bhangra beats, why can’t Nigeria put out a team sounding like the Black Eyed Peas? Liking the Korean style too, tough one to call. Mmm, I think the Korean teamwork just edges in a late winner, but Nigeria deserve a point which I suspect they’re going to get.

  14. 14
    Tom on 7 Apr 2010 #

    Bhangra – in the “pop genre” sense we’re talking about rather than the punjabi folk music – is pretty much a UK-originated phenomenon, I always thought.

  15. 15
    Matt DC on 7 Apr 2010 #

    In the other group we had two Italian inspired teams slugging it out, in this one we have two taking their cue from the US. The joy of artifice.

  16. 16
    Lex on 8 Apr 2010 #

    Nice match! And the NGR manager’s comments @10 are spot on, strategically.

    I do rather enjoy the NGR track but the Black Eyed Peas mention was a bit of an “oh shit, haha yes” moment. And I’m impressed by how the KOR girl – who I believe I’ve heard of before, can’t remember where though – actually does a good enough job on the riff that she’s competing favourably with Amerie.

  17. 17
    jeff w on 8 Apr 2010 #

    I have had ‘Kokoroko’ stuck in my head all morning! Which, erm, probably doesn’t help the Nigerian manager much as he’ll be needing my vote for ‘Take You Away’. Truth be told, this one has the same pluses and minuses: a dynamic frontwoman in Bouqui – even more so than Kefee – who’s sure to get at least one goal with the right supply, let down by some rather stolid play at the back. Still, the tactic (just) got them a win last time and may do so again.

    Korea’s also sticking to a trusted formula. Prior to the tournament I was expecting a large number of squads to adopt it too but, apart from the US experiment with Kid Sister, that hasn’t proven to be the case. Another quality selection from the KOR manager, with enough unusual touches to pique my interest. Will listen again to both songs, but marginally prefer BoA at the moment.

  18. 18
    koganbot on 8 Apr 2010 #

    Man, hard to call, hard to call. The K-Pop/J-Pop queen (she’s crossed to Japan where she’s even bigger than she is in Korea) plays with complete authority, with far more intensity than Janet Jackson ever did in a similar formation (well, janet’s always tried to get by with blasé, and I’ve rarely been with her, to tell you the truth), and reaches knowingly for a Michael Jackson flourish at the end, strong with just the right amount of nervousness, you’d say, so never complacent, would be hard for her to lose. Yet I think she does lose, since the joy of her authority can’t quite measure up to Nigeria’s joy of discovery here. The male striker is so-so, ’cause he’s a guy and guys in the American style his team is assaying can’t sing anymore, but his female counterpart on the left side is a delight, simultaneously a Ruff Ryder tough babe and an Enjoy Records sweetie pie, for her a new world and it’s hers. Very nice, smart coaching, even with ragged execution in the set-ups.

    Lex, BoA had a U.S. album last year that didn’t crash the top 100 but three of its numbers hit the Billboard Clubplay chart. Also, we talked about BoA a little bit on my lj last year (and on the Wonder Girls thread too [which somehow became a jerkin’ thread as well]).

  19. 19
    fernando on 9 Apr 2010 #

    HUGE confidence on the nigerian side. They seem pretty sure about their game, that is, playing with “a cool head and a warm heart”, as we say around here.

  20. 20
    iainf on 11 Apr 2010 #

    Love what Korea do here – a style I like and very much the kind of thing I was planning on using if Japan manager (to the extent of it actually being in Japanese!) but I haven’t heard of this particular act before.

  21. 21
    Alberto on 11 Apr 2010 #

    Really enjoyed both songs. Korea show a real understanding of the modern game, but it the Nigerian tactics that win it for me.

  22. 22
    sm on 12 Apr 2010 #

    This closed a day early, right?

  23. 23
    Tom on 12 Apr 2010 #

    It’s re-opened now. What the players thought was the final whistle turned out to be an unprecedented 24 hours of stoppage time. (sorry about that!)

  24. 24
    Tim on 13 Apr 2010 #

    A win for Nigeria by the narrowest of margins. Well done to Matt for steering his team to a 100% record.

  25. 25
    Tom on 13 Apr 2010 #

    (except he drew the first game ;))

  26. 26
    Tom on 13 Apr 2010 #

    Congratulations to Matt, and I’m pleased to avoid an all-Africa second round clash (and really fascinated by the prospect of Nigeris v France). Congratulations to Chris too, squeaking through despite an almighty scare: South Korea have been improving steadily and I know this is a team the South African manager will be treating with immense respect ahead of our Round of 16 game.

    And commiserations to Jonathan – who I suspect may end up the best manager to go out in the group stage – and to master tactician (mostly) Johan. Truly this was the group of death.

  27. 27
    Matt DC on 13 Apr 2010 #

    Oof, that was a tough one. Every manager played at least one absolute blinder, but hugely relieved to go through. And I think Nigeria v France will be a more interesting tactical battle than the all-African clash it would have been had I drawn this game.

  28. 28
    Pete on 13 Apr 2010 #

    Nigeria France will be a battle fought out in the comments section I reckon. Much trash talking there…

  29. 29
    Matt DC on 13 Apr 2010 #

    Speaking of trash talking you know what you can do with yer “B-team” Mr So-Called “Pop” “Expert” “Pete” “Baran”.

  30. 30
    Tracer Hand on 13 Apr 2010 #

    This really was a phenomenal match. Such a high standard of play. Bouqui hits all my buttons. Which are in this case labelled “EVE”.

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