May 14

PWC14 Second Round: South Korea v USA

Pop World Cup 201413 comments • 740 views

Two heavily fancied pop nations up against each other in the final second round game of the Pop World Cup. South Korea topped Group H with the highest score of any country (8 points). USA took 6 points as runner-up in Group G. Iain Mew and The Lex are the respective managers, and the winner plays Iran or Switzerland. Meanwhile, Ghana set up a quarter-final clash with Nigeria by beating Algeria in their second-round game.

R16 8: South Korea v USA - Which Do You Pick?

  • SOUTH KOREA: f(x) 67%
  • USA: Ariana Grande 33%

Total Voters: 69

Poll closes: 17 May 2014 @ 15:00

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This game ends on Friday! Click below the cut for tracks, and a farewell to Algeria…

SOUTH KOREA: f(x) – “Airplane”

“We turn to a track from one of last year’s finest albums, and definitely the finest one to be packaged to look like a pink VHS tape. f(x) play a slower building game here than some of our other players, but I’m hoping that their style when they go for goal proves a winning formula.”

USA: Ariana Grande – “Piano”

“A manifesto for pop.”

SO FAREWELL THEN…: Algeria, whose slow start in Group H belied their strength in depth. They battled back from that initial 0 points to do well in both their other group games and reach the knockouts for (I believe!) the first time. Ultimately Katherine St Asaph’s side fell to the Ghanaians. Famous for their patient play, Algeria’s most popular track with the fans was the seven-minute “Ghir hiya mankhalihache” by Cheb Hassen, so let’s see that again. Thanks Katherine!


  1. 1
    lartsaegis on 13 May 2014 #

    South Korea raise the altitude with a sparkling attitude and soaring synths, and as Wayne said, that’s how you let the beat build, the chorus as a crescendo reaches a head space the Grande track can just barely approach with her breathy voice — only the bridge really starts to peak on all levels in my book. She says she — could — write a standard pop song with love as a backdrop and proceeds to do so anyway, it’s a one-step forward two-step back and back again sort of metadance that’s fun enough, but not nearly as effective counter-wise as SK’s bid. They might have just booked their flight to the next round.

  2. 2
    Garry on 13 May 2014 #

    I feel like the SK defenders have been caught awfully out of position, but the US have missed an open goal. Eventually SK sneak a scrappy goal at the end. I can’t see either team surviving the quarters based on these performances.

  3. 3
    thefatgit on 13 May 2014 #

    I’m not entirely sure how this one will end. Extra time and penalties seem likely as both teams cancel each other out. Before the tournament began, this match must have been the final that some would have wanted? After all these are two strong pop nations. Past and future, experience and youth. We don’t have the best examples from either nation on show here. SK use EDM in the way Americans and Europeans would and pass it about without any real purpose. I dunno, I like my K-Pop a bit more exuberant than this. USA take a chance on their striker, recruited from the Nickelodeon feeder leagues to propel them to the next round. All in all, the sound tactics on show would ace a qualifying round, but even against a misfiring SK side, nothing is certain.

  4. 4
    lonepilgrim on 13 May 2014 #

    to begin with this sounded like a Freaky Friday body swap performance with each team trying to pre-empt what the other might do. Both teams demonstrate agility and confidence on the ball and disciplined positioning from the midfields. However South Korea’s bursts of acceleration prove to be the decisive move for me and they just nick a win with a deflection.

  5. 5
    Ronald on 14 May 2014 #

    This is one of my fave KPop songs from last year. It reminds me a lot of Perfume, an act I wouldn’t be surprised to see Japan play in a future match. This is no contest for me. Korea is actually one of the more formidable teams in this tournament I’d say.

  6. 6
    Mat on 15 May 2014 #

    As has been pointed out on twitter today Ariana just put out a studio version of ‘Boyfriend Material’, a song originally meant for her which was sold to… f(x), who released it on this album (Pink Tape), as ‘No More / 여우 같은 내 친구’, producing possibly the only k-pop song to feature the word ‘atheist’ (in Korean) . These two teams know each other well.

  7. 7
    jeff w on 15 May 2014 #

    …and it shows! As other commentators have said, this game very nearly ends in stalemate. It all comes down to whether I prefer Andrew Gold-style piano over blank-eyed Smurfisms (“Airplane! Lurve!” etc). Those who know me would have confidently predicted the former. But the Smurf just nicks it.

    (Sorry, Ariana. I have your CD filed away. I’ll give it another go sometime.)

  8. 8
    Erithian on 16 May 2014 #

    The Andrew Gold-style piano (it reminds me of something but not Andrew Gold, it might come to me later) runs rings around the Koreans, whose cliched build-up play goes through the traditional speed-up-the-beat routine and culminates in shots that leave the occupants of Row Z ducking. Clear win for the fleet-of-foot US.

  9. 9
    Chelovek na lune on 16 May 2014 #

    Conversely, the piano on the American track, combined with its overall feel, tips it a little too much in the direction of mainstream and unchallenging FM radio for my liking, although there is clearly more to it than most of what one would find there (the rhythm, for starters.) Korea, though, delight with their playfulness, and as far as I am concerned, get a clear victory, with their sprightliness (which we saw so much of the 2002 football world cup) delivering the goods, several times over….

  10. 10
    Tom on 16 May 2014 #

    EXTENDED for another day due to non-promotion by me.

  11. 11
    lartsaegis on 17 May 2014 #

    congrats to SK on their victory. matches for the next round are looking great all around! pop taiyo v. pop rising, the iron-willed croats against the very cool ingleterre, the last of the african nations clash ft. the defending champions, and the mesmerizing iranians vs. today’s soaring winners.

  12. 12
    Matt DC on 18 May 2014 #

    I’m not really feeling the brightly-coloured kitchen sink maximalism that’s been on offer from both Japan and SK throughout this tournament, every time I hear one of these things I get a sense of overcompensating for ropey songwriting, but you can’t argue with a margin of victory like that.

  13. 13
    Garry on 18 May 2014 #

    Before the tournament the pervading view saw Africa as the continent to beat, but it looks like a power shift to Asia is in the offing. They are a chance to make up half the semi-final spots.

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