Mar 14

PWC14: Group D Match 2 (England, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Italy)

FT + Pop World Cup 201423 comments • 2,268 views

Carmen Sandiego England (managed by Ronald) top Group D at the moment – sparking tabloid frenzy back home – while Uruguay (Matthew), Costa Rica (Pete) and Italy (Andrew Hickey) will be looking to stop their momentum. It could be a closely fought group, with mind games aplenty as several managers have played down their chances of progress.

Four tracks, two votes – the poll is below the cut, along with the latest Group B standings.

ENGLAND: Natalia Kills – “Controversy”
Current Points: 3

“After winning the first match, England wants to show that it’s not all the same thing like some of its detractors think. England has a style but that style has many facets, some expected and some unexpected. Our next player up is Natalia Kills with her second album’s buzz single, Controversy. The West Yorkshire-born, London-raised Kills has dabbled in various genres over her career, including a run as a teen pop rapper named Verbalicious in the mid 00s. Controversy starts of with some instrumental that wouldn’t sound out of place on a 1950s tv show but then some bitchy voicemail comes and the song goes in a different direction. It gets harder, heavier. The song is more of a drone/chant than your typical pop song. But it still makes you want to bop.”

URUGUAY: Carmen Sandiego – “Generacion 2002”
Current Points: 2

“Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Oh, that’s right, making a stab at the goal while in the guise of a twee Uruguayan man. Los Uruguayos want to keep the UK on their toes, hence the surprise tactical switch after Dani Umpi’s flashy yet noble efforts in Round 1. Plus Carmen’s got a surprisingly strong kick, considering.”

COSTA RICA: Patterns – “Martian”
Current Points: 1

“After hours of digging through the no-good metal mines of Costa Rica, and skirting the “not sure if anyone even likes this anymore ” Reggaeton suburbs of San Jose, the task of being Costa Rica’s manager seemed almost impossible. And yet, there, in a roadside shack was an impressive funk dance fourpiece who, for whatever you might feel about the dated eighties smoothness of the track, were tight, bought the song in on time and scored where it matters. Lord knows why its called Martian though.

ITALY: Baustelle – “La Natura”
Current Points: 0

“La Natura by Baustelle is from their award-winning 2013 album Fantasma (no relation to the Cornelius album of the same name) and is a break from their normal Scott Walker-meets-Depeche Mode style for something altogether lighter and more melodic.”


D2: Which TWO Tracks Do You Pick?

  • URUGUAY: Carmen Sandiego 49%
  • COSTA RICA: Patterns 40%
  • ENGLAND: Natalia Kills 38%
  • ITALY: Baustelle 25%

Total Voters: 95

Poll closes: 10 Mar 2014 @ 12:00

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RESULTS: Group B has suddenly got a lot tighter after Spain’s John Talabot track netted them 3 points. Australia make steady progress with another 2, Chile grab a solitary point, and Netherlands perhaps suffer from being made to play their game behind closed doors: 0 points to them. Which means the standings are: Australia – 4 points. Netherlands – 3 points. Spain – 3 points. Chile – 2 points. The winner of the third game will definitely qualify, but beyond that all sorts of permutations are possible, and this one may go to percentage totals, where Holland’s first game performance gives them a distinct advantage.


  1. 1
    admin on 3 Mar 2014 #

    ADMIN shout: italy’s track is missing and uruguay’s track has a diacritic in the filename which breaks the JS player in some browsers

  2. 2
    Garry on 3 Mar 2014 #

    A quick word on England – can I now invent the concept of a “post-Chick on Speed” scene?

  3. 3
    Tom on 3 Mar 2014 #

    #1 OK, everything should be fixed now…

  4. 4
    admin on 4 Mar 2014 #

    /me thumbs up :-)

  5. 5
    lonepilgrim on 4 Mar 2014 #

    England risk being booked for dissent or simulation on this showing. Their kit is quickly dirty but mostly because they’ve been rolling around ‘provocatively’ on the pitch. They have a few interesting ideas but a creeping tendency to repeat them. It remains to be seen if the opposition will be intimidated.

    Uruguay’s unexpected use of the 3 chord formation may well wrong foot opponents anticipating a more syncopated style. There’s a singleness of purpose to this team which suggests a win.

    Costa Rica are a tight unit but a bit predictable. They may well be the best dressed players on the pitch but with so little possession they will struggle to score.

    Italy play with a quiet dignity and sense of purpose. They may appear a little lethargic but conservation of energy is important in the Tropical heat. There is a pleasing variety to their play but also a strong sense of harmony which other teams will struggle to beat

  6. 6
    Chelovek na lune on 4 Mar 2014 #

    Italy: A few pretty moves for show, and some charm that can’t be denied, but nothing quite that breaks through the opposition’s defences convincingly or conclusively.

    Uruguay: That John Peel used to scout for this team shows, and for the better. But they seem to be getting bogged down by the unexpected muddiness of this pitch – more like small-town England than Latin America. Would work well in the Festive 50 league I suspect.

    England: attitude, yes. talent, yes. aggression in just the right measure, yes.

    Costa Rica: nodding back to the glory days of the early 80s, too. Tommy Vance on the Top 40. Could we heading even to the Goldmine on Canvey Island? I think we almost could. You can take the boy out of Essex ,but….Infectious. Damn. Yes.

  7. 7
    thefatgit on 4 Mar 2014 #

    Right, lots to discuss here.

    England: Peaches anyone? The squad are invited to Felix Magath’s training dungeon for some extra shuttle runs. And they come out looking buff and lean. Drink the Kool-Aid. Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid. Either way, they find easy routes to goal with arrogance and attitude. Are you Germany in disguise?

    Uruguay have found a Wedding Present-style formation and although their attacks are brief, it’s like watching classic Stockport County vs Oldham Athletic muck ‘n’ pies, get-stuck-in-stuff. Does it work? Not in this company.

    Costa Rica play a new pop formation with some lovely passes at the back building up to a concerted attack from their striker, but they lose cohesion and their attacks break down suddenly. One of the few occasions when the match should have gone further into extra time.

    Italy bounce back with an entire menu of differing skills here. It starts like some Italo-Scouse exchange scheme, swapping Sergio Tacchini tracksuits for Ian Rush, but as the match progresses we enter into a marvellous chamber pop period of play, with their strikeforce and midfield looking back to Gustav Mahler who might or might not played for Eintracht Frankfurt back in the day, then we finish with a lap of honour for guest Canadian-American coaching team, Arcade Fire. I’m smitten.

  8. 8
    lartsaegis on 4 Mar 2014 #

    1. Costa Rica
    2. Uruguay
    3. England
    4. Italy

    1. Playing on a vibe similar to the Japanese team of recent, and doing it, doing it, doing it well, in their own way. Each member of this squad has a conviction to the sound that doesn’t make it seem kitschy. That vocalist’s delivery deserves full marks in my book. Definitely one to enjoy off the pitch.

    2. I’m glad that after all these years we’ve found Carmen Sandiego, but I didn’t know she was as good at this sort of precious-twee footy as she was. There’s a little lack I feel behind this cotton candy haze, but I find this way more appealing than say

    3. England’s entry, which seems to be a sort of tongue-in-cheeky reaction to press opinion past in present in terms of playstyle. I was sort of really impressed by the tentative, dubby instrumental with its intricate touches lightly meandering in the background behind Kills’ strong delivery, which might trick lesser teams definitely, but the lyrical content sort of left a bad taste in my mouth — made me feel as if I wanted to pay less attention to her, which led me to see what else was going on in the background. Too much sugar in the kool aid. I haven’t heard of Kills, but it seems like aesthetically she would fit in a shoot with FKA twigs if the video is any evidence — however, Twigs’ intimate, subtle touches of terror and pleasure are far more satisfying than this sort of underhanded pitch (wrong game, but you see where I’m going, maybe). Disclosure played a thoroughly clean round, through it all. I say don’t buckle under pressure. If you’ve got bangers/z, play ’em.

    4. I agree about Italy having a certain sense of dignity and poise, and that I raise my glass to, but their style is sort of languishing in this heat, warping, easy to dismantle by teams with more of a fine edge to them.

  9. 9
    lartsaegis on 4 Mar 2014 #

    a prediction: “they print my message in the saturday sun, I had to tell them: I ain’t third place to none.” right next to headlines: “Annie Christian Sentenced To Die,” “Do You Believe In God,” “Love Thy Neighbor.”

  10. 10
    Kat but logged out innit on 4 Mar 2014 #

    Have to say I’m not really feeling as enthusiastic about this match (possibly because the quality has been so high so far!). Costa Rica is the most pleasant to listen to though and gets the nod from me.

  11. 11
    Pete on 4 Mar 2014 #

    Having heard the other three tracks I am feeling considerably less despondent about this game than I was at 1am on Sunday night trawling the Costa Rican charts (worst than any South American manager the “its actually Puerto Rican” curse strikes Costa). At least I picked a tidy unit with decent haircuts!

    England, she may be English, but singing in a US accent about Kool Aid – hmm, someone wants to be in a different team here. Songs called controversy are rarely controversial. Nice enough, but its just a sneery list song about the US. Own goal? Almost wonder if she is being played cos she is half Uruguayan to taunt the opposition.

    Uruguay: Well its jollier than Natalia, but a little wafer thin.

    And Italy, oh Italy, there is a spot in Eurovision for a track like this…Waferer thin.

  12. 12
    Andrew Hickey on 4 Mar 2014 #

    Pete, amazingly that track is the *least* Eurovisiony song produced in Italy in the last four years, with the exception of several “comedy” bands who claim to be “influenced by Frank Zappa”. The Italian talent pool is so underwhelming that I was nearly reduced to bringing in a ringer — a dance track “featuring” Paul McCartney — before I found this one…

  13. 13
    colifloressecas on 4 Mar 2014 #

    hey, Costa Rica and Italy managers, how do I contact you to reccomend some bands?

  14. 14
    Andrew Hickey on 4 Mar 2014 #

    I can be emailed at andrew@thenationalpep.co.uk

  15. 15
    Tom on 4 Mar 2014 #

    England dither about their choice of half-time refreshment – they’re a bit more direct on the pitch though the apparent decision to bring in Bobby Gillespie as Lyrics Coach is a curious one.

    Absolute route one indie from Uruguay – who would have imagined the tactics of the 80s would play such a role in this tournament? Long balls into the jangly mixer again and again – it’s a proven way to nick a goal now and then but it leaves them weak at the back.

    Costa Rica take a classic small-team approach: a solid set of tactics, well-drilled – it’s never going to beat a strong team but it might grab a point against an unprepared side that can’t find a way past it. The back four do their jobs here well enough – a gritty defensive display – but that striker is barely match-fit, huffing away at the front and looking in despair at the manager as yet another shot flies into the stands.

    I feel Italy are still struggling to fit into their manager’s preferred playing style, but they’re an improving side, and manage to score here from a set play on the chorus in the second half, then see out the 90 minutes with increasing confidence and a bit of cynical but effective orchestral time-wasting at the end. A definite vote for them – beyond that, it’s between England’s defensive grit and the likeability of the Costa Ricans.

  16. 16
    Pete on 4 Mar 2014 #

    Andrew, I don’t doubt it, the Eurovision slot this fills into is the “desperately not trying to sound like Eurovision” indie song!
    You can recommend on pb14@soas.ac.uk to me. And I need the recommendations!

  17. 17

    […] I’m not all that well at the moment, and will be spending Friday through Sunday at Lib Dem Conference without internet access. I’ve also promised Andrew Rilstone that I’ll proofread his expanded Doctor Who book and get it formatted as an ebook next week. Once that’s done, though, I’ll be getting a lot more California Dreaming, How To Build Your Own Time Machine and Liberal Future posts up, as well as a few interesting new things I’m working on. Meantime, go and vote for Italy in the Pop World Cup… […]

  18. 18
    Matt DC on 6 Mar 2014 #

    England’s formation is straight out of the 2002 Pop World Cup when every other team went electroclash crazy, but that that was 12 years ago now and a lack of groove and variation in their play means they get predictable very quickly.

    Uruguay are playing an even more old-fashioned game, however. Straight-up indie hasn’t really benefitted anyone other than the Aussies this time round, and while they get full marks for energy and enthusiasm they’re a bit ropey in front of goal.

    Costa Rica might actually nick a famous win here, and this is highly enjoyable yacht disco play. The singer miscontrols it a couple of time, but they’re more than enough to score against weak opposition, unless Italy can pull a rabbit out of the hat…

    … and as far as straight-up indie play goes, Italy have the edge on Uruguay here. You’d fear for this team in a different group but there’s enough talent on show here for them to get my second vote.

  19. 19
    Ed on 10 Mar 2014 #

    England leave the big names on the bench this time out, and the second string are clearly a little raw, but there is no questioning their commitment, or their confidence.

    Is it too soon for the fans to start to dream?

    “It’s coming home, it’s coming: pop is coming home”

  20. 20
    Erithian on 10 Mar 2014 #

    Hmm, going to a World Cup to be confronted by an English yob going “what the fuck you lookin’ at?” is so last century and not missed.

    Nice passing patterns from Italy, and although the Uruguayan Buzzcocks are not such a delightful discovery as the Uruguayan Beatles were last time round, I’ll just give them the nod over the Costa Rican Shalamar for the second vote.

  21. 21
    Tom on 10 Mar 2014 #

    Shame to lose Italy here, their track in this game really grew on me. Uruguay have one foot in the next round though the job’s not quite done yet. As for England – “COSTA WRECKER” yell the tabloids.

  22. 22
    weej on 10 Mar 2014 #

    Oof, that’s a nasty one for England there, I thought they were bound to get the three points in a relatively weak field, but here they are with only one to take home.

  23. 23
    Ed on 11 Mar 2014 #

    Yep. On paper that looked like an easy three points for England, but then pop football isn’t played on paper.

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