Apr 08

Europop 2008: Group B – Croatia 2 Germany 2

FT18 comments • 591 views

After a short break in transmission Europop 2008 returns with this match from knife-edge Group B. Listen to the tracks, vote in the poll, and click below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, previews and match reports.

How to vote: Just tick the one you prefer! This poll closes on April 28th at lunchtime or thereabouts.

Croatia v Germany: Which track do you prefer?

  • Germany: Lopazz 50%
  • Croatia: Vesna Pisarovic 50%

Total Voters: 24

Poll closes: 28 Apr 2008 @ 14:00

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CROATIA: Vesna Pisarovic – “Tako mi Nedostajes”

The manager says: “In the interests of full disclosure Vesna Pisarovic was born in what is now bosnia BUT moved to croatia when she was 3 AND represented croatia in eurovision in 2002 which i’d say was totally good enough
given the complex yugo situation…

Tako mi nedostajes is from her 2005 alBUM “Peti” and does a stirling job of mixing yugo sounds with banging beats, pop-house flourishes and an almost flamenco ending, as well as her being a very pretty lady (http://www.vesnapisarovic.com/). We’re hoping this versatility will see us past a german team we worry may be a bit one-dimensional, but you know what they say, never discount the germans…”

Our analyst says: Getting the basics right is a big chunk of pop success, and this well-drilled side certainly do that – the thing is, they have players capable of real creativity, and you have to ask if the rigid formation is stifling them a bit. Against Germany, though, organisation will be key to Croatia’s chances of causing an upset.

GERMANY: Lopazz – “2 Fast 4 U”

The manager says: The German manager has sensationally BANNED the press from the German training camp and refused to give a press conference. “Mr. Lex expects the team to do their talking on the pitch.” said a spokesperson.

Our analyst says: German fans will be looking for a strong response to the disappointing first round game, and initially that’s what they get, with a team playing higher up the pitch and snapping at opponents’ heels. The strikers, though, look off the pace and seem more interested in winding up referee and crowd than getting on the scoresheet.

MATCH REPORT: Czech Republic 3 Portugal 3: The Czech Republic escaped with a point in front of a crowd of screaming Portugese fans, who inspired their team to an astonishing comeback in what must be the game of the tournament to date. 2-0 up at half time and looking to cruise through the second half, the Czechs found themselves in a cauldron of hate as the Portugese howled their team on, pulling the ball into the goal by sheer force of will. Having let one goal in, the rattled Czechs conceded two more in quick succession, before finally scraping a draw and holding on for full time. A strong Czech side were left shaking their heads, and they will need a miracle against Turkey to qualify.

MATCH REPORT: Switzerland 1 Turkey 1: An fast-paced game though not one for the purist – both sides attacked with gusto and though the Swiss had the upper hand for much of the match they couldn’t get the killer second goal. Turkey’s second half equaliser was a just reward for the effort their lone striker put in – the free kick that led to it typical of a Swiss side too eager in the tackle. A fair result in the end – Turkey must now beat the Czechs and hope for a heavy defeat for either the Swiss or Portugese in the deciding group game.

COMING NEXT… Fans may not have marked Austria v Poland down as a potential thriller but both these teams played an intriguing game in their first matches and this has the potential to be a lot more interesting than it might have looked on paper. This group is finely poised and a win for either side would come in very handy: the two young managers are considered among the most knowledgeable in the modern game and a tactical battle is expected.


  1. 1
    Tom on 21 Apr 2008 #

    Both a bit frustrating. The Croatia track is good but keeps threatening to really take off, and then just settles back into trad pop again. Very pleasant stuff though and a good find.

    Germany – I love the instrumentation, all metal and spartan but still rich sounding, but the vocals are RUBBISH. Lex this is off-key indie wank of the first order and I’m surprised at you.

    A win for the Croats, for me, though slightly by default.

  2. 2
    Steve Mannion on 21 Apr 2008 #

    Very difficult to know who to vote for here, for me what with a potential decider against the Germans to come…but I will try not to let this affect my judgement promise.

    That said I do find myself leaning towards the Germans anyway – just that little bit slicker a passing game, but they’ve reined it in a bit more this time in order to concentrate on pressing forward with more urgency. Maybe the flair suffers a little as a result but not to a significant extent.

    The Croats impress once again tho, in organisational terms. I can see them getting something here. I’m not in love with either side today tho so a draw would suit me, in every respect (I don’t think a win for either side would be enough for them to relax a bit more for their final game). Crucial indeed.

  3. 3
    Matt DC on 22 Apr 2008 #

    I think Tom’s been very harsh on the Germans here – the vocalists are never going to win any tournaments on their own but they are very obviously the least important element of the track. Almost as if they’re there out of obligation (when will someone play a straight instrumental?) This the the 1998 France team of Europop, a poor strikeforce is rendered largely irrelevant by the quality elsewhere on the park. And this German side is solid in midfield and defence and there are goals to come from both. The groove is tremendous and that’s what matters here. I really like the clanking, chiming production, the way the synth strings swell and interlayer with the guitar in the final minute or so, and the feeling that the track doesn’t really know whether to opt for melancholy or euphoria and wanders between the two.

    The Croatian track isn’t bad either, I’m not going to dock them any points for being cheap and cheerful but they are a bit flimsy at the back and the song doesn’t really take off in the way it should. Another song that feels like the verse and chorus have been grafted together somewhat, I’m not sure direct Eurovision tactics really cut it with me in 2008.

    Comfortable win for the Germans, I say.

  4. 4
    Doctor Mod on 22 Apr 2008 #

    Oh dear–

    Both of these tracks sound a couple of decades behind the times. A nagging question burned in my brain: Is this the return of disco?

    The Croatian bit was pleasant enough pop, nothing ground-breaking though. We’ve heard all of this numerous times before. Well, perhaps not in Croatian.

    But that German thing! Sorry, the Pet Shop Boys did this all soooooooo much better twenty years ago. I fantasized about hearing Neil Tennant’s voice breaking through at some point for reassurance. I suppose he could have made the insipid lyrics about the taxi not showing up sound ominous and esoteric, but not this girl. I wouldn’t mind hearing this in the background at a party, but I suppose the lyrics are what I found most irritating.

    So my vote goes to Croatia, possibly because I have no idea what she’s singing about.

    (Oh, and before anyone accuses me of German-bashing, let me say that my background is equally Dutch and German.)

  5. 5
    byebyepride on 24 Apr 2008 #

    First match I’ve been able to watch all the way through, and I’ve not felt that the play is up to much on either side. Solid, sure, but both teams sticking to well-worn, reliable, but ultimately outmoded styles. The Croats throw it all up the pitch, but the well-drilled Germans are managing to hold them off. One team seem to be trying too hard, the others have hardly broken sweat. A stale-mate here, but I’ll give my vote to the solid German defence.

  6. 6
    Tom on 26 Apr 2008 #

    This poll closes on Monday so vote now!

  7. 7
    koganbot on 27 Apr 2008 #

    Time’s running out, and I still don’t know where I stand with these. Nor where I sit with them either, though where I’m sitting right now is on the fence. I sure like these tracks more than any of the other commentators do.

    The Croations set us up with a strong eastern melancholy, and then kick the rhythm alive into the land of Flashdance without losing their lightness, give us “where disco meets the Velvet Underground” intensity from the synth bass, and then in the chorus a bit of Southern Slav leg action on the offbeat. And then the woman raises her voice up to the flashing disco strobe lights. I don’t see what’s so standard about this; in any event, I’ve never quite heard this combo. So, I’d be ready to mark this in as an easy victory, but…

    The Germans show up with absolutely beautiful and haunting and funny bubbles and beats from the wondrous mid ’80s. I could immerse myself in these sounds for hours. The woman singer sounds dissolute, and with one-tenth the chops of the Croation wench manages to evoke just as much melancholy. She just shows up and floats and moves her arms in a washed-out haze. The guy, however, twice as bad as the woman, is an irritant. But he’s not the show, the shimmer and twist of the beats is.

    So, I don’t know; I really hate to stiff the excellent Croats for the second match in a row but I’m voting Germany. (Also, I’d told Carsmile Steve that I was open to bribes but he didn’t come through in time.)

  8. 8
    Tom on 28 Apr 2008 #

    Just over an hour left to vote!

  9. 9
    Alan on 28 Apr 2008 #

    traditional line up of moves from croatia — germany playing a more modern but ultimately less engaging game. croatia don’t outstay their welcome and take it by a nose.

  10. 10
    CarsmileSteve on 28 Apr 2008 #

    blimey, first actual tie!

  11. 11
    Matt DC on 28 Apr 2008 #


  12. 12
    SteveM on 28 Apr 2008 #

    Not the result I wanted as I wouldn’t mind going into make or break match with the Germans with them only needing a point. Now it will be win or bust for the both of us.

    Fourth draw in a row but I feel very under the kosh in this Poland match. It doesn’t help that our fans have gone extremely quiet over there…

  13. 13
    lex on 28 Apr 2008 #

    so hang on what happens if all the matches in this group end up as ties?! i feel rather hard done by here considering the vast gulf in quality. sometimes the fans and refs just DO NOT GET IT.

  14. 14
    Tom on 28 Apr 2008 #

    Then it goes to vote difference and votes scored.

  15. 15
    SteveM on 28 Apr 2008 #

    lex, i’m sure comments like that can only endear you to the officials, fans and press further and will have no effect on votes cast in the final group game ;)

  16. 16
    Lex on 28 Apr 2008 #

    stevem we are only telling it like it is, a vote against us is a vote against REAL TALK

  17. 17
    Matt DC on 29 Apr 2008 #

    But will you be Real Talking Jose Mourinho or Real Talking Neil Warnock, that is the question?

  18. 18
    lex on 29 Apr 2008 #

    We will be Real Talking Mary J Blige. We do not align ourselves with the little people.

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