Mar 14

PWC14: Group C Finale (Japan, Cote D’Ivoire, Greece, Colombia)

FT + Pop World Cup 201418 comments • 2,351 views

shakira Welcome to the final Group C match. Let’s see how things stand.

This group is a 3-way scrap. Japan (managed by Patrick St Michel) sit precariously on top with 4 points and a strong %-point difference. Cote D’Ivoire (managed by Garry) also have 4 points, and after their win in the second game Greece (managed by Billy Dods) have 3. All of these will go through with a win, and Japan or Cote D’Ivoire will be safe with second place. Meanwhile, Colombia have 1 point, and would only go through with an outrageously unlikely scoreline and combination of results. Though in the Results section below, you’ll see that Pop World Cup miracles do happen…

JAPAN: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – “Ninja Re Bang Bang”

“Japan isn’t going to panic yet, and the squad plans to continue to try to have fun out on the pitch. But this match, the good times are focused on getting to the net. ‘Ninja Re Bang Bang’ is lithe but with purpose, flashes of aggression (swords!) in tow. And its the people’s favorite strategy – this is the most downloaded Japanese song of 2013.”

COTE D’IVOIRE: Toosh Impek – “Bougez La”

“It’s do-or-die but we are determined to continue playing with energy and exuberance right until the final whistle. While coup decale or zouk might serve our purposes, we’ve instead gone for shock selections from the Abidjan Hip-Hop League. It might normally be a hotbed of defensive muscle and niggling fouls but quicksilver attacking duo Toosh Impek turn on the flair while Biggy Boss provides a late runs into the box. The team is anchored by typically effervescent beats and… err… a man in a hat.”

GREECE: Tareq ft.Marietta Fafouti – “Cin Cin”

“Competition for the final round was tight with several strong contenders. For this match I’ve opted for two up front. Eschewing their usual styles of nu-disco and folk-pop respectively, Tareq and Marietta Fafouti update the unfashionable Eurovision formation to addictive effect. The result is as sweet as baklava and just as sticky, a real earworm of a track.”

COLOMBIA: Shakira – “Empire”

“Colombia’s management finally brings out the big guns as Shakira arrives on the field several weeks after being paged. She cites obligations with her new album and family for the delay. (She also mentions that she no longer owns a pager.)”


C3: Which TWO tracks do you pick?

  • JAPAN: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 67%
  • COTE D'IVOIRE: Toosh Impek 50%
  • COLOMBIA: Shakira 50%
  • GREECE: Tareq ft Marietta Fafouti 21%

Total Voters: 66

Poll closes: 7 Apr 2014 @ 13:00

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It’s perhaps the biggest shock in Pop World Cup history as CROATIA pull off the miracle result they needed and join CAMEROON as Group A qualifiers, sending hosts Brazil crashing out. Croatia took the 3 points by a single vote over Cameroon, who top the group anyhow. Mexico get the first point of their campaign, a consolation. Brazil’s 0 points was the nightmare result for them, and fingers are pointing at the team doctor’s sensimilla regime. Thanks to Matt DC and Steve M for the excellent tracks they provided, and well done Chris and intothefireuk for making it to the knockout stages. We’ll see them again after Easter. Final Standings: 1. Cameroon – 7.5 points. 2. Croatia – 5 points. 3. Brazil – 4.5 points. 4. Mexico – 1 point.


  1. 1
    Matt DC on 31 Mar 2014 #

    I’ve not really been feeling the barrage of brightly-coloured synths emanating from the Japan camp throughout this tournament, but this is their strongest showing yet, excellent movement throughout perhaps only slightly let down by an overly cutesy performance upfront. But it’s more than enough to get my vote.

    Cote D’Ivoire on the other hand favour a proper blood and thunder game here, there are snarling tackles right across the park but plenty of flair too. Biggy Boss is their obvious star man (and you’d have to be, with a name like that) and this is a terrific performance throughout. Could we see a clean sweep of African qualification here?

    The other two fare less well. The Greek performance is way too weedy to succeed at this level, while Colombia demonstrate the peril of picking players based on reputations. To paraphrase Alan Hansen – great player, massive cigar.

  2. 2
    thefatgit on 31 Mar 2014 #

    Attn. PWC back-end minions: the voting option isn’t working.

  3. 3
    katstevens on 31 Mar 2014 #

    I think it was set to end in March not April – have now fixed.

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 31 Mar 2014 #

    Now we’re cooking! The big guns come out for this round.

    Japan’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is probably the most recognisable member of the Japan Squad. And the most skilful? Well, she’s blending video-game heroics with easy on the eye kawaii skills and a killer middle 8 busts the back of the onion bag. Japan will most definitely march on, won’t they?

    I’ve been quite enthralled by the Ivorians in this tournament, and there’s lots to enjoy here, but this is PWC and Cote D’Ivoire would have picked up my 2nd vote if it wasn’t for…

    Greece, quite unexpectedly throw a slice of “innocent” happy-smiley summery-shimmery-sweetness which actually I found quite charming in its own way. I’d normally run a mile from this style of play, but there’s something underneath, a deeper melancholia suppressed with a painted smile and a sunny disposition. Greece are playing deep here. One magic lob from the halfway line and the fans are open-mouthed in shock as the opposition keeper flaps wildly at thin air.

    And Colombia fall back on their tried and tested veteran striker to bring home the win their fans have all been hoping and praying for…

    …and I’m like…meh!

  5. 5
    Dave on 1 Apr 2014 #

    I fear that Shakira’s ambush of unexpected emotion in practice will not translate to the wallop needed on the field. But she’s won her manager’s heart, and that’s enough in this crazy yoon-ee-verse.

  6. 6
    lartsaegis on 1 Apr 2014 #

    This one is really all CDI and JPN out here. Greece is too saccharine for my tastes, and I love sweet stuff. And I was wondering when Colombia would field Shakira — and I wonder why the manager didn’t go with the 2014 World Cup theme song she gave to it, which is a lot more fortuitous than the offering here. CDI is pretty fun and I’m still marveling at how Biggy Boss matches that building so perfectly. I was thinking how cool it’d be if Kyary guest-starred on Inazuma Eleven, this is certainly a hissatsu tier track, a powerful play here. There’s a certain sword-clash in the song which sounds like it well predates the Tenchu video game I first heard it in.

  7. 7
    lonepilgrim on 1 Apr 2014 #

    Japan go for an 8-bit formation which superficially appears a bit fragile, but there’s a steely foot inside that candy boot which provides some penetrating pop scoring.
    Cote D’Ivoire force back the opposition with some crunching tackles early on but switch to a more agile attacking play that carves through the defence.
    Greece appear to have given up – staying in a team huddle, gazing into each others eyes oblivious to the balls whizzing past them.
    There’s a lot of respect for the Colombian striker. She appears to have forgotten her own boots and borrowed Avril Levigne’s. I’m not sure they fit and the rest of the team are so focused on the Forward that they appear anonymous by comparison.

  8. 8
    Chelovek na lune on 2 Apr 2014 #

    Colombia: This line-up used to have certain form on the pitch when their play had something of the reading poems to a horse about it. This, though, is worse than a tragedy, as old Bill Shankly or someone used to say: it’s a mistake.

    Greece: not without either charm or competence, and in fact well deserving of consideration for being brought out to play a Glenn Medeiros testimonial. Sing-a-long, not *quite* **too** syrupy sweet, but in the face of the competition here alas the back of the net remains out of reach.

    Japan: kawaii wins here, mainly by disguising a firm sense of purpose and will underneath an apparently malleable exterior. Iron fist in a velvet glove, or a ZX Spectrum (all that BEEPing) with razor blades hidden in an unknown number of the rubber keys. Cute menace: Commendable? Not always, but done this way, it comes perilously close to winning the match, and gets one of my two votes, but in the face of the Ivorian competition will have to do with the matcha for now.

    Cote d’Ivoire: showing off a bit, and occasionally all over the field, but the combination of infectious enthusiasm and careful organization as an accompaniment to the flamboyance sees them home and dry. They’re just so very skilled at this – total control of every square metre of the pitch – that the bit of boasting in the mix here is a

  9. 9
    Chelovek na lune on 2 Apr 2014 #

    Hmm, end of comment cut off there, and too late to edit. “the bit of boasting in the mix here is almost certainly permissible, if not unavoidable”

  10. 10
    weej on 4 Apr 2014 #

    Japan are using Kyary already? A point from me, always, but don’t you want to save her for the later stages?

    Cote D’Ivoire also seem to be bringing out the big guns – sunny, funky and muscular all at once, this one is a shoe-in too.

    Greece are cheesy as hell, but charming and fresh-sounding enough to overcome any objections. If this had been their entry in the last round they’d have had my vote, but the competition is too strong here.

    On Colombia, what can I say, I was never really sold on Shakira, and while this isn’t bad I’m still not really there.

  11. 11
    lartsaegis on 5 Apr 2014 #

    It seems like Kyary is a big enough name/song to seal up the group confidently — I’d be way more surprised if they played Perfume.

  12. 12
    jeff w on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Greece and Japan get my vote

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Congratulations to Japan and Cote D’Ivoire

  14. 14
    Billy on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Ouch. Spoke to the players and they’re árro̱sto o̱s énan papagálo. I knew it was a risky choice which would alienate some but thought it’d get some points.

    If anyone’s interested this is what I was going to play in the next round:
    and subsequently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLdhQXqCg2A&hd=1 (Recollection by Keep Shelly in Athens).

    I think either may have done the business, but hindsight’s a luxury I don’t have.

    After listening to the Greek charts I had some doubts as to whether there was anything worthwhile in Greece. In time I discovered a lot of interesting, surprising stuff and had a great time investigating the side streets of Greece. There’s a playlist on spotify http://open.spotify.com/user/unterwasser/playlist/5Jf2ulIYwrd5F6T0R1TwIu for anyone interested.

    I’d recommend the following. Fever Kids – ice cool indiedance, L*Nada’s slinky hiphop, Stelios Vassiloudis’ minimal techno, Mechanimal’s gothic synthpop, Etten’s delicate folktronica and Tango For Lions west coast tinged indie rock.

    Thanks Tom for letting me play. Congratulations to Japan and CDI, I think they could go far.

  15. 15
    lartsaegis on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Thanks to Billy for the reccomends and the post ups — I was hoping that more of the eliminated would do this if they felt like it (I was certainly planning to, and still am).

  16. 16
    Dave on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Congrats Cote D’Ivoire and Japan! It was a pleasure subbing this year. Here’s the Shakira track I might have used if (1) I wasn’t inordinately and inexplicably in love with “Empire” and (2) I had more of a shot after my rough second round:


  17. 17
    Tom on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Yes, well done Japan and Cote D’Ivoire – and apologies to Group E’s managers, as I have been too busy at a conference in Bristol to get your game up today. I will try tomorrow!

  18. 18
    Garry on 8 Apr 2014 #

    Thanks Billy for posting those other tracks, and for NOT choosing NBTIBINT track. I think Cote D’Ivoire would have been in trouble if you had – it’s a load of fun.

    Thanks to Dave for subbing in for Colombia after the controversial first group game. Shakira deserved her shot in the limelight.

    Congratulations to Patrick St Michel’s Japan for winning the group with a great set of tunes. Part of me really would love to see Japan v England in the next round and not for want of avoiding England. I just think Japan v England would be epic – two countries who pick almost anything going head to head. I guess we will find out in a few days.

    And thanks to anyone for kind words and/or votes for Cote D’Ivoire thus far. It’s been a blast.

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