May 08

Europop 2008: Group B Finale

FT19 comments • 511 views

Austria, Croatia, Germany and Poland can all still qualify – who will win through? Vote in the poll, then click below the cut for track details, comment and analysis, match reports and previews.

How to vote: Just tick the track you like best in each match – you will need to vote separately. If you download, please vote! These polls close on May 26th.

Austria v Germany: Which track do you prefer?

  • Germany: Paul Kalkbrunner 60%
  • Austria: Madita 40%

Total Voters: 25

Poll closes: 26 May 2008 @ 13:02

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Croatia v Poland: Which track do you prefer?

  • Poland: Reni Jusis 73%
  • Croatia: Qwerty 27%

Total Voters: 26

Poll closes: 26 May 2008 @ 13:04

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AUSTRIA: Madita – “Because”

The manager says: “down but not out, balls to the wall, our last hope lies with the charming Madita who has gingerly impressed in training and enters the arena ready to claim Austria’s credentials in the contemporary adult pop game and hopefully our place among the last 8.”

Our analyst says: Austria are pinning their hopes on a powerful young striker who certainly knows where the goal is – this is direct, unfussy play but I don’t know if she’ll get the support and service she needs to break the Germans down.

GERMANY: Paul Kalkbrenner – “Gebrunn Gebrunn”

The manager says: I WANT PAUL KALKBRENNER’S AVIATORS. But I guess his music is so gloriously dazzling that he needs them. As will you, when you see our play in this round…

Our analyst says: The German coach has been refining his tactics as the tournament progresses, building a team with real steel at the back but deceptively subtle approach play. He’s relying on the midfield for goals, but willing to throw on a striker near the end if required. A formidable challenge.


The manager says: Right then, the time for messing about is OVER. Noticing the crowd has gone a bit quiet when teams stick to a standard europop 4-4-2, we’ve gone for a make or break choice here. Don’t be put off by the slow start (it fades in a bit this one, as Bill Shankly John Peel used to say) our boy qwerty shows some stunning skills up and down the park. We even sent CEEPHAX ACID CREW over to do some pre-match training with him (they did a gig in Zagreb together on Saturday), so all i can say is, get rid of yr thundersticks and GET SOME GLO STICKS!!!

Our analyst says: Croatia are banking on individual flair to win the day – they’ve got two or three players on the pitch who could turn a match by themselves. But can they play together? I wonder if the lack of a leader on the pitch might tell against this undeniably talented side.

POLAND: Reni Jusis – “Magnes”

The manager says: “We are Poland. We haven’t really got much to say other than that this week. We trust the divine floatiness will work its own magic.”

Our analyst says: There’s an air of quiet confidence in the Polish camp and I think it might be justified – they’re playing classic 4-4-2, fast-paced but with excellent control and technique. Old-school tactics haven’t always won out at this tournament but they can still win a game when done right.

MATCH REPORTS: Spain 1 Sweden 2: A sloppy Swedish side left it late to claim three points against Spain. The Spanish team looked lumbering and ill-prepared but were still able to equalise from a needlessly conceded corner. The increasingly ragged Swedes looked set for a draw before a moment of flair settled the tie and put them in a strong qualifying position in Group D. Spain’s task now is simple: beat Greece by several goals or go home.

Switzerland 2 Portugal 2: This result means both sides qualify, in an engaging tie which saw a gung-ho Swiss team evenly matched by a more skilful if less committed Portugese team. You felt Portugal were playing for a draw but they had to work to get it, and Switzerland tops the group narrowly on vote difference.

Czech Republic 0 Turkey 2: The Czechs seemed resigned to their fate, playing prettily but without much gusto. Turkey, though, were determined to give their all and a brace of second-half goals were fair reward for a commanding performance: news of the draw in the other game doomed both sides to a first-round exit whatever the result here. Congratulations though to two teams who have each played some excellent games.

COMING NEXT: A point against France sends Italy through in Group C: lose and they’ll be elminated should Romania beat Holland. France and Romania need to better each other’s results to qualify, though if both lose then Holland will be in the quarter-finals. Basically, everyone needs to win except Italy – there, nice and simple!


  1. 1
    Matt DC on 19 May 2008 #

    I may well just vote for MONSTER ACID on principle, without bothering to listen to it.

  2. 2
    koganbot on 19 May 2008 #

    Yikes, the singer-songwriter quirky showbiz thing has invaded Austria. Wasn’t expecting this from the side that gave us Stereotyp & Al Haca. Anyway, perhaps I’m not being fair in pointing out that Ashlee Simpson in the ease and naturalness of her joy and comic desperation has suddenly shown up everyone else’s showbiz quirkiness as the glum tired “play” that it is, since Ashlee isn’t even in the tournament, but man, this Madita babe seems to be working so hard for her fun. She kinda gets there, I suppose, and would have been at least a contender, except that…

    Germany brings out its best gun: earthdiggers scoop massive soil, while Sylvester baubles float high in the sky, tension rises. Easy win.

  3. 3
    koganbot on 19 May 2008 #

    While the first match in this week’s double header was a yikes, Croatia vs. Poland is a hmmmm. So, hmmmm.

    Croatia: The harbormaster eyes the meteorological readings in the early pre-dawn. The day takes shape, stevedores bustle, a large freighter is slowly pulled from the dock. Lots of subtle activity is perceptible by those in the know.

    Poland: A disco glide across an incongruously high-energy rhythm, and the track can’t tell if it’s gliding or kicking. Not the sumptuous sumting I was hoping for, but gets my vote over its subtle competitor.

  4. 4
    SteveM on 19 May 2008 #

    “Anyway, perhaps I’m not being fair”


  5. 5
    Henrik on 19 May 2008 #

    Like with “2 Hearts”, there’s something tail-heavy about the Madita track. Like wading through a marsh. Schaffel + low tempo = Zzzzzzzzzz … “Gebrünn Gebrünn”, though not a touch on the best techno tracks of recent years, wins by a mile and then some.

    The second match is a no-brainer: the Qwerty track is unspeakably bad, even by the debased standards of ’ardcore, while the existence of Renis Jusis is prima facie evidence of why Poland will CONQUER ALL! “Magnes” isn’t her most inspired moment (try the lush “Tessio” sound-alike “Ocalę Cię” or “Mixtura”), but in this company, it’s solid enough.

  6. 6
    Big Ron DC on 19 May 2008 #

    The Germans certainly aren’t taking any prisoners this time round, the Paul Kalkbrenner is a bit of a monster. Fast, direct, and surprisingly nimble. The Austrian track has that exact 2 Hearts problem, it plods somewhat and its leaden defences are no match for the Germans’ incessant mechanised onslaught.

  7. 7
    Matt DC on 19 May 2008 #

    Meanwhile the Croatian team don’t give it some welly, throwing the tactical rule-book out of the window and opting for an unprecedented 3-0-3 formation. Maybe a recent spate of bore draws has convinced some managers to resort to the sublimely ridiculous and this ticks all the boxes. Could maybe do with a bit more bass, but still, mmmmmmm squelching.

    But wait – what’s that the Poles are up to? I’ve been down on trad-Europop tactics so far but you can’t really go wrong with gorgeous warm-bath filter-disco pads. Plus it sounds like she’s singing ‘Magnus, Magnus’ and that makes me laugh. The ref is consulting with the linesman, it looks like a dubious goal-line decision could well decide this one. I certainly can’t. Edging towards Poland though.

  8. 8
    Doctor Mod on 19 May 2008 #

    Both games = charming women v. cold emotion-free techno.

    Easy choice, I’d think.

  9. 9
    Tom on 19 May 2008 #

    I kind of love the way the German track sounds like it involves a lot of MARCHING.

  10. 10
    Doctor Mod on 19 May 2008 #

    Marching is something the Germans have historically done rather well.

  11. 11
    Kat but logged out innit on 20 May 2008 #

    Madita’s been listening to Feist, methinks.

  12. 12
    SteveM on 20 May 2008 #

    yeah it’s got a little ‘My Moon My Man’ about it altho that’s fast enough to appeal to those who dislike tracks like this as tempo (I feel outnumbered). this is the poppiest thing i could find by Madita in any case, her other stuff is more trip-hop/ambient/jazztronica. also ‘2 Hearts’ did grow on me a fair bit in the end to the extent that I thought there was something worthwhile in ‘Because’ right away. also she says ‘MY BALLS’.

  13. 13
    Pete Baran on 22 May 2008 #

    I fear Madita is going to do less well than it deserves cos the German track is quite so robust. Nice try but its Germany all the way.

    The game is flip-reversed in the Croatia Poland game, with the Polish Sophie Ellis-Bextor wiping the floor with the pointless noodling of the Croats. And its about Magnus!

  14. 14
    jel on 22 May 2008 #

    I’m giving a win to Austria for having balls. Germany get nothing from me for there generic beats.

    Croatia seem to think they can win by performing keepy-uppies for the entire match. Their star player soon limps off after a crunching Polish tackle. Easy win for Poland.

  15. 15
    CarsmileSteve on 24 May 2008 #

    why has no one else pointed out how much the poland track sounds like union city blues? if the polish manager likes blondie so much, whydon’thegolivethere???

  16. 16
    Tom on 26 May 2008 #

    You have a tiny bit more time to vote in this.

  17. 17
    Tom on 27 May 2008 #

    Congratulations Poland and Germany.
    Commiserations Austria and MONSTER ACID Croatia.

    It’s Switzerland v Germany and Poland v Portugal in the first two quarters.

  18. 18
    Tom on 27 May 2008 #

    (And Group D is delayed until I get the Russia track)

  19. 19
    CarsmileSteve on 27 May 2008 #

    oh what a thumping…

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