Escape to Victory

Europe has thirteen representatives at South Africa 2010 and a few of those teams would be delighted just to make it past the group stage. The six I’m looking at today include a few that once belonged to larger groupings. Serbia has appeared at previous World Cups as part of Serbia & Montenegro and Yugoslavia. They were quarter-finalists in 1954, 1958 and 1990 and their best showing was in 1962 when they finished fourth. They may progress again this year as they share a group with Germany, Ghana and Australia. Slovenia‘s players had previously played for Yugoslavia and the country played its first match as an independent nation in 1992. Their only previous outing at the World Cup was in 2002 when they lost all three games to Spain, Paraguay and South Africa. This year, they should overcome Algeria and their match with the United States could be decisive in a group that also contains England

Slovakia is one of two nations that formed out of the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1992. Czechoslovakia were losing finalists in 1934 and 1962 and quarter-finalists in 1938 and 1990. It’s Slovakia’s first appearance at the World Cup finals as an independent nation and they find themselves in Italy’s group at South Africa. They should prove too strong for New Zealand and will most likely battle it out with Paraguay for a place in the next round. Switzerland did not enter the first competition, but qualified for six of the next seven. They were quarter-finalists in 1934, 1938 and as hosts in 1954. They only made it to two of the subsequent ten tournaments, but reached Round 2 on both occasions. This year, they’re the only nation in their group that doesn’t have Spanish as their native tongue. They should learn how to say “adiós”, though, as they’re likely to be making an early exit from a group that also contains Spain, Chile and outsiders Honduras

Denmark first entered the competition in 1958 and qualified for the first time in 1986. South Africa is their fourth tournament and they made it to the Round of 16 in 1986 and again in 2002. Their best performance was in 1998 when Brazil beat them 3-2 as they made it to the last eight. They’re in Holland’s group this year and it should be between the Danes and Cameroon for a place in the next round as Japan look set to struggle. Greece‘s only previous appearance at the World Cup was in 1994 when they failed to score a goal or a point as they conceded a total of ten goals to Argentina, Bulgaria and Nigeria. Their trip to South Africa could be another pointless one as they face Argentina and Nigeria again and will play South Korea for the first time

Today’s choice of music is about as promising as some of these teams’ chances of playing more than three games at this year’s competition. Repetitor are a trio from Belgrade who formed five years ago and their only album to date is entitled Sve što vidim je prvi put (2008). Zli Sin is taken from that album and features a hard-edged, indie guitar sound. Laibach is an industrial rock band from Slovenia who are named after the German name for Ljubljana. The band has been going for thirty years and their repertoire is primarily composed of their rather unusual versions of existing material. Across the Universe is one of the more accessible interpretations from their particular take on the Let it Be album that they released in 1988. As their name suggests, Bratislava’s Ska2tonics are a ska band and they’ve been going for a decade, incorporating elements of punk and reggae into their sound. The song Mafia opens their 2007 debut entitled Skatastrophe. Switzerland’s Tobias Jundt is the leader and only permanent member of Berlin-based Bonaparte. L’Etat C’est Moi appears on their recently released second proper album, My Horse Likes You, and it’s got a strong Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe to it. The Kites are a young Danish foursome with a retro sound and so far just a four-track EP that you can download for free from their website. And you can also download this free EP entitled Sudden Summer by a five-piece from Greece known as Coin. The members formed the band in 2001 while students at the University of Kavala and have released three albums to date

Zli sin – Repetitor (Serbia)

Across The Universe (Beatles cover) – Laibach (Slovenia)

Mafia – Ska2tonics (Slovakia)

L’état C’est Moi – Bonaparte (Switzerland)

Play – The Kites (Denmark)

Sudden Summer – Coin (Greece)

Previously on World Cup 2010:

The Beautiful Game

Africa Unite

Top of the World

Give Him a Ball (& a Yard of Grass)


23 thoughts on “Escape to Victory

  1. Pingback: Football and Music » Be A Football & Music Spotter

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  3. Incredibly excited about the World Cup – I can hardly wait.

    I think Serbia are the dark horses of the tournament. They are well-organised, disciplined and seem built for tournament football. They were also very strong in qualifying. I’ll be following them closely…

    • It could be a good one, Steve. Serbia have some great players and have a great chance of getting out of their group. I think their progress will depend on whether they can finish first or second in that group, though

  4. Bring it on baby!! I’m a rugby player, but the world cup always gets me going. Perhaps it’s the way that a community comes together and unites behind a common cause rather than moaning and fighting each other.

    Come on England, bring it home!!

    • I prefer football to rugby, Dan, and I think the football World Cup is more exciting because there are more nations involved and because it’s easier for a small nation to cause an upset in the round ball game than it is in the oval game

    • So, you’re lost in football and lost in music, then. There’s no turning back

  5. The time difference for me means I will have to stay up until 2am on Saturday to see England and the US kick off…I’m meant to work on Sunday.

    • Well, I hope you have a job where too much sleep is important. It should be a game worth waiting up for

    • Thanks a million for that, Webbie! I’ve always wanted to be the man in the mirror

      I’m thinking of posting 1966 & All That from Back in the DHSS at some stage. I don’t think you’ve ever posted that one

    • That IS a great version of Across the Universe, although I’m not so gone on their other Let it Be covers. I’m looking forward to more Half Man Half Biscuit from you ;-)

    • Well, you won’t have to wait too long now, Lulu. Let’s hope there’ll be lost of dancing in the streets ;-)

    • I’m looking forward to it as well, Raul. Best of luck to the States, especially in the opening game against England

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