Feb 14

PWC14: Group F Match 1 (Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria)

FT + Pop World Cup 201413 comments • 2,047 views

frikstailers Group F is home to one of our Pop World Cup debutants, Bosnia-Herzegovina, who have been thrown into a highly unpredictable group. They’re making their first PWC appearance next to Iran, who stormed to the semis of the 2006 tournament, Argentina, who will be looking to avenge a couple of frustrating competitions, and defending Pop World Champions Nigeria, fresh from a four-year residence on top of the Freaky Trigger header bar.

It’s Scott M for Bosnia, Chris B for Argentina, Wichita Lineman for Iran, and Cis for Nigeria. 4 tracks, 2 votes, off you go!

ARGENTINA: Frikstailers – “Murga del Guachin”

“The production duo of Rafa Caivano and Lisandro Sona have long been part of the local cumbia leagues, but with “Murga del Guachin” (helpfully translated by Google as “Murga of Guachin”), Córdoba’s Frikstailers are playing a global game with their 2013 single. It’s a high energy, up-front genre-bending formation that uses elements of hip hop, dubstep, and pop, while also including a nod to its cumbia roots with a uniquely South American style of play. The unpredictable formation may lead to some confusion on the field, it’s the slow-burning bassline that provides the needed stability in the backfield.”

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Dino Merlin – “Undo”

“In a move inspired by Roger Milla, I’m roping in an accomplished veteran beloved by his country for their first outing here. He’s twice represented them with reasonable success on the European stage, but now is the time for him to make the step up to the world’s premier competition. Where Milla is remembered for his exuberant dancing at the corner flag though, Merlin sinks to his knees there, bellowing in the rain. It’s on that kind of passion World Cups are won and lost. That and having the best players anyway.”

IRAN: Nariman ft Saeed Panter – “Naz Nakon”

“Nariman drives his Persian ice cream van to the edge of the pitch. Saeed Panter does his Einar-esque turn as Nariman dishes out the uranium-enriched 99s.”

NIGERIA: Tiwa Savage – “Eminado”

“Pop football friends! Nigeria is delighted to be here in Brazil, ready to do our best in the most beautiful of games once more. The global standard of pop football is at its peak in this tournament, and there’s everything to play for – everything, and Naija pride too. We’re coming out strong and nimble this time with relentless pop striker Tiwa Savage, supported by veteran defenceman Don Jazzy. After an extensive apprenticeship in the UK and US leagues, Tiwa returned to home soil in 2010 in the wake of Nigeria’s PWC success under celebrated gaffer Matt DC. She’s got a deft touch on the ball, keeps the ball high and candy-sweet, but underpinning all that lightness there’s an indefatigability, a relentlessness, that we hope will demolish all resistance. “Eminado” means “good-luck charm”: best of luck to everyone in this group, and may the best team win!”


F1: Which TWO Tracks Do You Pick?

  • NIGERIA: Tiwa Savage 64%
  • IRAN: Nariman ft Saeed Panter 53%
  • ARGENTINA: Frikstailers 48%
  • BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Dino Merlin 17%

Total Voters: 81

Poll closes: 17 Feb 2014 @ 12:00

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RESULTS: England romp home at the top of Group D and make 3 points look easy – with typical restraint, the tabloids are talking about a knighthood for manager Ronald. A good showing for Uruguay, too – 2 points there. Costa Rica pip Italy to the remaining point – a decent platform for the plucky Costa Ricans, but there may be inquests in the Italian camp.

The poll for Group E is still open – it’s very close as of writing.


  1. 1
    Tom on 10 Feb 2014 #

    Argentina appear to have fielded a pair of MOVELLANS.

  2. 2
    @stopmoving on 10 Feb 2014 #

    some fine pop football in Pop World Cup Group F – but listen to your heart, what’s it say? VOTE NIGERIA, that’s what http://t.co/JkJe0xh38y

  3. 3
    Tom on 10 Feb 2014 #

    Interesting group this – I think all of these might need another play or two.

    Argentina start well with plenty of energy – an update of a traditional rhythmic formation and a flowing, attacking style. I worry a bit about their fitness levels – by the end they’re visibly flagging and pinned back in their own half a bit. Can they protect their lead?

    You feel for Bosnia-Herzegovina’s striker, labouring up front with little or no support from his team. The frustration comes over loud and clear and he ends up literally yelling at his team-mates like a Balkan Roy Keane, pleading with them to show a bit of passion. They do, but it might be too little too late.

    Iran play a traditional hip-hop line-up with an effective strike partnership up front: a big lad to hold up the beat for his nippier partner to nab a cheeky goal or two. It’s not tactically sophisticated but it works. Flashes of Persian creativity on the wing suggests we might get more colourful play next time out.

    This level of opposition was never likely to give Nigeria much of a problem, and indeed it doesn’t. Its winning sides last time tended to be full of passion and movement – Matt DC is a manager known for his love of direct play. This is a sweeter and more technical line-up, passing the ball around, keeping possession, happy with a lower scoreline and less flash while keeping plenty in the tank for future games. Nigeria have little to prove on the global stage – they’ll be happy with a low-key but effective start.

  4. 4
    lartsaegis on 10 Feb 2014 #

    B-H with a super-impressive performance here, showing that the slow approach can indeed pay off in dividends if one has the fortitude to grow stronger through out the game, that the faster, perhaps more simplistic attacks of other sides can be defended against easily and the game can be won in stellar fashion. Merlin’s thrown the gauntlet down for his team, for this group among others, for this team among others, and I’m inspired to answer the challenge.

    Nigeria also putting in a strong start and certainly looking to do better than last years great performance. You know a chorus has excellent strength when 1. a song builds off of it as a spine, and 2. manages not to tire itself out on that tightrope between obnoxious and confidently tasteful, tipping off well towards the latter when the walk is over. And with as much as said chorus plays here, Tiwa Savage and crew show SUPERB conditioning and resolve, which is the core of pop replay value. Also that beat makes me want to get up and jig.

    Expected better from the Argentines here — their tune is only a bit more interesting than the Iranian offering. Clearly, their Messi has yet to walk on. Sort of a bold move opting only for an instrumental instead of a vocal cut, but I think such a move exposed how bare the track was for me in the end of it, which is a shame considering their attire. When I phase out the vocal for the Iranians, they almost suffer the same fate, but that chorus manages to mesmerize me in to tilting towards that for third.

  5. 5
    lonepilgrim on 10 Feb 2014 #

    Argentina play at a languid pace and their predictable tactics see them lose possession too easily.
    Bosnia-Herzogovina play with a false humility that fails to disguise a sense of macho entitlement. They might think that they can turn back the clock to an earlier, simpler time but their ugly acting fails to convince either the ref or the crowd.
    Iran play with far more confidence and genuine passion. They’re not going to dive in the box but stay on their feet to score.
    Nigeria are a joy to watch. They may be the title holders but they’re not trading on past glories. The team is fresh, lively and out to enjoy every moment.

  6. 6
    Kat but logged out innit on 10 Feb 2014 #

    The Argentine strategy may be low scoring but it’s a style of play I greatly enjoy watching. Nigeria’s reluctance to tackle may let them down in the middle section of the game but you can’t deny their Kevin Keegan inspired hairstyles more than make up for that. Iran are the key players in this match for me – consistent up front and solid in defence. Poor old Bosnia doesn’t really stand a chance against them – hopefully they will find their feet as the tournament progresses.

  7. 7
    @chrisburlingame on 10 Feb 2014 #

    Friends! Please vote (for Argentina) in the @popworldcup! http://t.co/mc7QMMduen

  8. 8
    Matt DC on 10 Feb 2014 #

    I could watch Argentina pass it around like this all day long, superbly bouncy, they score early on and keep the ball so well that the opposition can’t get it off them. Hopefully proof that you don’t really need a traditional frontman to succeed.

    I had thought Bosnia might be DARK HORSES this year, and they give it a big early 90s wine bar vibe on this occasion. It’s not entirely unpleasant but the frontman loses the ball in the chorus and the opposition go right up the other end and score. Shame. A rougher approach in the second half sees them improve somewhat, but this group might be a struggle for them.

    I’m not quite sure what I expected from Iran, but it certainly wasn’t for them to build their attack on a rock-solid German-style schaffel backline. It would have worked too, were it not for that pesky frontman. Virtually impossible to score against them, but they’ll need to work on that toothless attack, even the rapper can’t hit a barn door with a benju.

    It’s going to take an awful lot for me to vote against Nigeria this time and, with a talent pool arguably even stronger than it was four years ago (and PWC veteran D’Banj scoring a genuine international hit) I’m not sure I’d bet against them to retain the trophy this time round. Certainly the likes of Ghana and South Korea could throw out some tournament-winning play, but this is a superb performance – flair, guile, gorgeous twinkling synths and a fantastic front pairing at work here. Easy winners.

  9. 9
    thefatgit on 10 Feb 2014 #

    Odd group, this. Let’s face it, Nigeria win this at a canter. It’s neat and compact play with a striker who should be sought after, once this tournament is over. I get the feeling there is strength in depth, with more to come from Nigeria’s squad. Big smiles and high-fives all round.

    I found myself vacillating between the other nations in this group. I’ll begin with Argentina. Much as I have appreciated the charming cumbia specialists in past competitions, I find myself wondering if the DaftPunkification of this offering is “a good thing” or not…hmmm. Might need to look at the replays.

    I can’t help thinking Bosnia-Herzegovina are playing a tried and tested formula. I’m disappointed in their striker’s histrionics and I just wanted him to get on with the game. Tip for the girl in the video: NEVER GIVE A LIFT TO A MIME! Not even once.

    Iran surprised me with their cosmopolitan approach to this game. I hope they win some friends here, despite the shadow of Ahmedinedjad ready to leap in and take all the credit from their knowledgeable Manager.

  10. 10
    Chelovek na lune on 10 Feb 2014 #

    Bosnia and Herzegovina – this is from the days from when footballers puffed on fags at half-time: I can almost smell the smoke. A retro form, understandably, given the uncertain present, looking back to past glories, but one that doesn’t quite impress as it ought: the outburst of aggression early in the second half suggests they know that they aren’t quite where they could and should be.

    Argentina feel like they’re still warming up here. Some clear talent evident, but not quite yet in top gear. Thankfully no sign of a hand of God style intervention at the close: their reputation and integrity remains intact, even if they aren’t getting the goals yet.

    Iran are taking us back to some classic Pop Football performances we’ve seen and remembered fondly. It’s always a pleasure to watch this fluid, free-ranging style: there are also sufficient innovations and changes of direction to catch out the opposition. Admirable.

    Nigeria though run away with this round. Pretty much a flawless performance from start to finish.

  11. 11
    Lex on 14 Feb 2014 #

    I can’t believe I’ve missed so many matches already. Stupid lack of time x lack of organisational ability. Retroactive side-eye at Disclosure and their win for the England squad. Of all the people.

    From losers to winners.

    BIH: the frontman’s histrionics fail to solve the floundering, lumbering mess of his play

    IRI: Intriguing foundation but let down by the somewhat characterless performance of the frontman

    ARG: Love the relaxed finesse of their play – some lovely setpieces built around a few rock solid motifs. I’m going to need to investigate this team further.

    NGR: Dancing circles around every man, woman and child. Outwitting all opposition with a cheeky but ruthless smile. I’m already a fan of the frontwoman and I foresee her doing great things in years to come.

  12. 12
    Garry McK (@garrymck) on 14 Feb 2014 #

    Still open for voting is Pop World Cup group F http://t.co/tS79flu9gB – Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina v Iran v defending champs Nigeria)

  13. 13
    Erithian on 18 Feb 2014 #

    It always annoys me when the team themselves announce the line-up to the crowd, but otherwise this is sheer delightful football from Nigeria. I like the passion from Bosnia, though Argentina have seemingly no more idea of a Plan B than David Moyes. But an unexpected standout performance from Iran for me.

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