Mar 14

PWC14: Group H Match 2 (South Korea, Belgium, Russia, Algeria)

Pop World Cup 201413 comments • 1,623 views

jambazi Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch – except when it holds up a vital second group game in the Pop World Cup! In this case the rogue canine was cleverly disguised as a market research conference – sorry everyone. Back now, and so are South Korea’s Iain Mew, Belgium’s Glynn, Russia’s Chelovek Na Lune and Algeria’s Katherine St Asaph. The fans went wild for Girls’ Generation – can Korea do it again, or can their rivals catch up?

Four tracks, two votes – poll below the cut, and very belated Group F results too.

SOUTH KOREA: Lee Hyori – “Bad Girls”
Current Points: 3

“We’re pleased with the first result but not getting carried away, especially after recent (ice-based) precedent in Korea v Russia match-ups. This time, we’re turning to a relatively veteran striker who has honed her skills over more than a decade playing in the Korean leagues. The formation, devised by the same coaching team as “I Got a Boy”, takes an energetic but steadier approach, with Lee backed up by some fine surf guitar work in midfield. A bit of the warm-up is on display, so skip to 0:35 if you want to get right to kick off.”

BELGIUM: Stoplight – “Nothing More”

Current Points: 2

“When you look up StopLight’s stats on Football Manager you see 7s and 8s for flair and creativity, but 15s and 16s for determination and work rate. Which is to say, while not tearing up any trees, its nice to see Belgium can crank out quirky, indie-pop bands like the best of them (Field Music and Passion Pit are two names that spring to mind). Possibly more one to watch for 2016’s Pop Euros, but a tidy little tune thats surprisingly effective coming off the bench for the final 15 minutes.”

RUSSIA: Fike & Jambazi – “Otpusti Menya”
Current Points: 1

“Masters of the far too little-known Russian hip hop formation, noted for their introspection and intelligence, Fike (the main rapper, whose rhymes flow like the Kama or the Volga just after the ice has melted), and Jambazi (who throws in dramatic vocal interjections once in a while), ably accompanied by a sampled uncredited female singer, serve up a a break-up track that stings. It’s all about emotional entrapment and then loss, interjected with philosophical questions about the nature of love and on the nature of truth and falsehood. You almost call it a Russian D.A.I.S.Y. age number, were it not for the pervasive sense of melancholy and thwarted hopes. The track, perhaps like the relationship it documents, starts mysteriously, eventually gets going, slowly at first, builds and builds, and then suddenly it fades out. “Release Me”, they demand in the belatedly introduced chorus. And then, more suddenly than seems right or just, release is granted, and the track is over.”

ALGERIA: Cheb Hassen, “Ghir hiya mankhalihache”

Current Points: 0

“I listened to a ton of Algerian pop radio in preparation for this match (and to stave off the cold dark 6 p.m.s); this was one of my favorites, one chunky motif and its filigrees.”


H2: Which TWO Tracks Do You Pick?

  • ALGERIA: Cheb Hassem 63%
  • SOUTH KOREA: Lee Kyori 59%
  • BELGIUM: Stoplight 32%
  • RUSSIA: Fike & Jambazi 32%

Total Voters: 59

Poll closes: 26 Mar 2014 @ 12:00

Loading ... Loading ...

THE RESULTS: In Group F, despite some dramatic shifts in playing style (and some very good tracks), we see exactly the same result as in the first game. Nigeria’s Temi Dollface makes the Champions’ passage to the second round a stroll. Iran are in a strong position with a second two-point score. Argentina are in contention but need something to click in the third game. And sadly, Bosnia-Herzegovina can book their tickets home, and are playing for pride in the third match. Standings: Nigeria – 6 points. Iran – 4 points. Argentina – 2 points. Bosnia-Herzegovina – 0 points.


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 19 Mar 2014 #

    South Korea are slick, focused and deservedly arrogant as they shrug off a series of challenges to win.
    Belgium field a young team whose passion is matched by their naivety. Newpop tactics like these are unlikely to fool more experienced sides.
    Russia surprise the crowd by including the singer of their anthem in the team. It’s a bold choice but despite some flowing play from the front men the defence become locked into the same set of moves and are easily unpicked.
    Algeria play with passion and purpose. They start steadily, retaining possession, moving up through the gears and overwhelming the opposition.

  2. 2
    lartsaegis on 20 Mar 2014 #

    1. S. Korea
    2. Belgium
    3. Russia
    4. Algeria

    S.Korea are playing with the t-top back in the trunk in this smooth number, hair blowing in the wind, coasting a bit as a force to be reckoned with. She bad, and she knows it. They can afford it here, but if they continue joyriding like this, someone may just challenge them to pump the brakes.

    Belgium’s breaking out some yearlings from the youth squads, their exuberance puts them at second string. There’s some incoherence for me that sets their bar of height a bit shorter.

    Russia with some meat and potatoes hip hop, here — and while that’s not a bad meal for someone like me, they lack the finesse and garnish that have made other entries like it more impressive and tastier. A protein-packed first course gets them a 1 from me.

    Algeria seems like something I wouldn’t deny moving to pumped out the PA of a cramped room, but the morning after, hearing it again on Youtube, I can’t help but think there’s something missing.

  3. 3
    Ed on 20 Mar 2014 #

    Form is temporary but class is permanent, and South Korea show here that, like Nigeria, they are one of the giants of the world pop game. Too much pace and skill for any of their opponents here to live with.

    Belgium’s young squad are fresh and enthusiastic, but tactically naive, and their predictable formation gets found out at this level. Maybe one for the future, as you say.

    Russia and Algeria both deliver committed high-intensity performances, without ever quite coming up with the flash of inspiration that can decide a game. Algeria squeak it after a questionable referee’s decision that is likely to be reviewed later.

  4. 4
    Erithian on 21 Mar 2014 #

    Top marks again to Belgium, looking dark horses for this as they are for the “other” World Cup this summer. Not at all predictable I’d say, and the kind of inventive play you’d associate with the 80s (when Belgium had a pretty hot side in the other World Cup as well).

    South Korea take second in this round – effortless moves, smooth play and a cracking video.

    I’m with Ed on the Russian and Algerian performances. Algeria offer much more variety second time around and would gain points elsewhere (hey, any of these teams would be cruising Group G by now). Russia – intriguing, we’re conditioned to look on them as something “other” – I remember the curiosity of seeing the Soviet band Autograph at Dingwall’s in 1986 at a time when I’d never set eyes on a Russian in the flesh, and Clare Balding gamely expressed how despite the gay rights controversy the Russian people were reaching out to the world at Sochi (days before it all kicked off in Crimea). It’s just as curious to hear someone rapping in Russian: do you have a link to a translatin of the lyrics anywhere?

  5. 5
    Chelovek na lune on 21 Mar 2014 #

    #4 Google translate gives an approximate, not brilliant but reasonably adequate translation of the Russian lyrics here http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Flastsongs.ru%2Flyrics%2F35%2Fsong_8681%2FFike_ft._Jambazi_-%2FOtpusti_menya

    The “Slough” referred to is one of despond, not John Betjeman’s one!

    I’m fairly sure Jambazi (aka “Jambazi Thug”…) is of Georgian origin, for what it’s worth, but is based in St Petersburg. I have no idea about Fike’s background – but he looks as though he might be Kazakh or Kyrgyz ethnically. While the woman singing that is sampled is also Georgian, and singing in Mingrelian (West Georgian dialect). So the old “Friendship of Peoples” (some of em, anyway), sort of endures..

    There’s a lot of Russian rap about, but a lot of it fairly dire and brash. One of the more commercially successful acts, Timati, has worked with Snoop Dogg..

    Truly this is the group of death. South Korea definitely have class. And Belgium and Algeria delight too, just as they did in the first round…

  6. 6
    thefatgit on 24 Mar 2014 #

    Late to the party again…lots to like here.

    South Korea play their experienced forward and capitalize on the naughty girl getting revenge on the asshats tactic, which is right up my street. Can’t resist voting for Lee Kyori this round.

    Belgium run Russia close for my 2nd vote, but I’m running on the side of Fike & Jambazi (I don’t for a second believe everything Putin says or does is endorsed by the Russian voting public and politics should have nothing to do with PWC anyway). So, for PWC purposes, the folky sample doing all the midfield work, allowing the twin strike partnership plenty of shooting opportunities. The Belgians play a rigid defensive game, but crumble under pressure towards the end as their manager switches to an emo formation as the game goes into injury time.

    Speaking of extra time, Algeria tested my patience as they spent most of the game kicking the ball around in their own half. I was waiting for something to happen, but their striker was constantly isolated, unwilling to track back. The passing was neat enough but the end product could see them exit early.

  7. 7
    Tom on 25 Mar 2014 #

    I’ve extended the voting by a day, to give us a full week, since the next game is up on Wednesday. So you now have until Wednesday morning to get votes in.

    As for the game, amidst the general praise the last South Korea match a couple of commentators (me included) were sceptical of the team’s constant tactical gear-shifts. Why couldn’t they just stick to one formation, I asked? Well, here they do, and it’s terrific. Happy to vote for them, and the thoroughly enjoyable video is a very satisfying bonus.

    I think the Belgian manager is admirably candid in his assessment of his team’s weaknesses – there’s simply not a lot of flair here – but there’s something of a reluctance to get stuck in too, an overall lassitude that sees the side surrender meekly once they go behind.

    I liked the Russian side a lot more – not always easy on the eye, and there won’t be much for Gary and the lads to pick apart in the highlights reel, but they make good use of a sample and play with a lot of passion.

    It’s very hard to pull them and Algeria apart. As usual, I enjoy how Algeria play, and their striker knows how to get stuck in – I think this is stronger than their last game, a great showcase for their local leagues: I can feel the heat on my arms listening to this. Applying constant pressure through the game, Algeria get a headed goal in the 89th minute, to the heartbreak of the Russians. I predict a tight scrap to qualify behind Korea.

  8. 8
    jeff w on 25 Mar 2014 #

    Algeria the stand out here for me: the build up play may be slow but it comes together brilliantly at (from memory) around the 3’20” mark. A second goal a few minutes later wraps up a comfortable win.

    Second ticky from me for the Russian bear (OK, Vlad? You can back down now). This is a style of menacing play I was, frankly, hoping the Belgians would be deploying by now. As for our fourth contender, I regret I must have been deprived of the K-Pop-liking gene at birth or something. This is flimsy at best – i (still) dgi, sorry.

  9. 9
    Tom on 26 Mar 2014 #

    Blimey, something of a shock result here but a welcome one – well done Algeria for turning things around.

  10. 10
    lartsaegis on 26 Mar 2014 #

    Whoa @ Algeria indeed. Good on them! Play on players.

  11. 11
    Matt DC on 26 Mar 2014 #

    Correct result IMO – the Algerian track was great and by some distance the best thing here.

  12. 12
    lonepilgrim on 26 Mar 2014 #

    more love for Algeria here

  13. 13
    tonya on 26 Mar 2014 #

    et moi, bravo Algeria. Should win every round.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page