May 08

Europop 2008: Group D Finale

FT26 comments • 536 views

Group D concludes with Spain and Russia needing wins against Greece and Sweden respectively. Listen, vote, and below the cut you’ll find track details, comment, analysis, match reports and previews.

How to vote: If you download the songs please VOTE for the ones you prefer – you’ll need to press vote separately for each poll. These polls will close on Monday 2nd, so you’ve only got 5 days to vote in them!

Greece v Spain: Which of these tracks do you prefer?

  • Greece: V Galaxy Orchestra 71%
  • Spain: Love Of Lesbians 29%

Total Voters: 24

Poll closes: 2 Jun 2008 @ 13:00

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Russia v Sweden: Which of these tracks do you prefer?

  • Russia: The Nicole 62%
  • Sweden: In Flames 38%

Total Voters: 21

Poll closes: 2 Jun 2008 @ 13:00

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GREECE: V Galaxy Orchestra – “A Russian Spy In Shanghai”

The manager says: “The lads have been upset by comments in the press that they’re little more than lucky electro-hoofers: this time I’m giving them license to play a more expansive game and this number from Athens’ up-and-coming lounge futurists will give them a bit more creative license.”

Our analyst says: Greece are playing a confident, some might say self-indulgent game here, stroking the ball around midfield and unafraid to try a few tricks and flicks or slow the tempo. That said I’m not sure where the goals are coming from – though with the group as it is Greece may not need them.

SPAIN: Love of Lesbians – “Noches Reversibles”

The manager says: “Why this song for Spain’s vital, must-win final group game? Well, I’m keeping it simple. I like the name. I like the song. I totally failed to catch them when they performed at a Benicassim at which I was present (2005, I think). This is from the pop-rock act’s 2007 album, ‘Chinese Childrens’ Tales of Japan’, which, according to a bad Google translation of wikipedia.es “consolidated as one of the bands indies with more public support and the specialized critics.” Well, quite. They hail from Barcelona, have released 5 albums, and quite frankly, are this Spanish boss’s last hope of saving this Europop campaign, not to mention his job!”

Our analyst says: Spain need a thumping win to progress, and their fans will be happy the manager’s finally got the team playing as a unit. They’re using a solid indie formation here, happy to take the tempo up when it matters as they look to get the ball in the net by any means necessary.

RUSSIA: The Nicole – “Razborka”

The manager says: “From Russia but now living in Sweden, The Nicole was an entrant for this year’s Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selections for Eurovision. With Russia’s success last Saturday, I reckon we’re on a winning streak. Perhaps Sweden might have fared better if they’d picked this. It’s got its own dance routine! There’s a pointless ‘The’! And it’s Russian! I actually found myself with the chorus to this in my head many a time on Saturday – it’s very catchy and the lyrics are funny, about a guy who dances the Razborka, trying to impress Nicole.”

Our analyst says: Even though she’s selecting a side who play in a foreign league, Russia’s manager isn’t making many tactical changes here – this is similar to the quirky, direct play that brought her so close to beating Spain. I can see the tactics paying off this time – certainly any disciplinary issues seem to have been ironed out.

SWEDEN: In Flames – “Leeches”

The manager says: “”Back to basics approach, 4-4-2, don’t worry about suspensions for the next round, a few bloody noses and broken ankles (for the opposition) is as good as a goal for us. This is Sparta, yeah!”

Our analyst says: It’s a sad day for the game when such technically skilled players as these feel the need to resort to such ugly, physical tactics. A certain constituency of fan will love this approach and with a point probably enough to secure qualification Sweden are looking to kick their opponents out of the game.


Croatia 1 Poland 4: Disaster for Croatia as the management team’s experimental formation was torn apart by a Polish side playing perhaps the most traditional game of the tournament so far. After two battling draws this thumping was scant reward for the side’s efforts, but already the press are asking if the complex management setup denied the boys the inspiration they needed. Poland meanwhile head for a quarter final against Portugal as the competition’s form team.

Austria 1 Germany 2: As many predicted, home advantage hasn’t favoured the Austrians in this tournament: this defeat was a narrow one but the Germans took the lead early and dominated possession throughout. Austria’s young coach stuck to his football principles but his players often didn’t have the skill to manifest his tactical vision.

COMING NEXT: Switzerland v Germany: The first quarter final sees Germany attempt to claim a second host nation scalp: Switzerland, though, have shown more variety and tactical acumen than many expected. Will Germany’s coach stick with the technical approach that’s brought rewards so far? Can the crowd-pleasing Swiss outflank their neighbours and rivals? Find out on Monday!


  1. 1
    Kat but logged out innit on 28 May 2008 #

    Spain have a strong flowing game here – can they defend Greece’s fancy footwork? (ie I like both of these!)

    Russia’s striker might get a ticking-off from their sponsors if she keeps up with that sort of cheeky banter. Sweden on the other hand appear to have roasted their sponsors alive and used the bones for goalposts. Hurray!

  2. 2
    Alyson Tamara Guard on 29 May 2008 #

    Not a pair of ties that seem to have caught the presses attention, so as French manager, I thought I’d make some scouting notes*

    Russia over Sweden 1-0. Sweden make Wimbledon 88 look like Holland 74. The sophistication lacking isn’t countered fully by Russia, but there’s more variation from set pieces, and Pavulychenko scores from a corner that contains 3 flick ons and a faked short corner, and Sweden end with Larsson and Ibrahimovic fighting against the tactics.

    Greece 1-1 Spain – not a contest of inspiration, to those seeking dynamic strikers. It’s tidy, organised, cautious across the park. Greece score from a header by Amanatidis, and Spain equalise with a Torres penalty, but there’s a slackness on display, and Greece come closer to nicking it.

    * (I know nothing about your football, this was mostly done by someone else!)

  3. 3
    Matt DC on 29 May 2008 #

    The Greek team have run out sporting big mustaches, bigger mullets, even bigger afros and tiny shorts, taking their classic late 60s early 70s formation perhaps that little too far. It’s an enjoyable hook though and there’s no reason Greece shouldn’t get the point they need to survive.

    Spain have been the big disappointment of the tournament for me, so much talent at their disposal yet once again they choke on the big stage. This is pleasant enough indie pop but I’m going for a straight Greek win here.

  4. 4
    Matt DC on 29 May 2008 #

    In the other tie, I’m plumping for Sweden, because THIS is what a team of gritty reducers should really sound like. And because I’d like to see a good old blood and thunder physical side triumph over a bit of twinkle-toed fannydangle at least once in this tournament. But mostly because I don’t think anyone else will.

  5. 5
    Tom on 30 May 2008 #

    Just a reminder that you only have until Monday PM to vote on this so get the votes in over the weekend! Sweden/Russia in particularly needs more!

  6. 6
    Tom on 30 May 2008 #

    Also, if you liked the V Galaxy Orchestra, check out their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/vgalaxyorchestra – the track about Paris is very good I think, in an Air-y way, but I decided would be a bit too long for entry.

  7. 7
    Tom on 1 Jun 2008 #

    Votes in by tomorrow lunchtime please! (comments would be good too!)

  8. 8
    Pete on 2 Jun 2008 #

    I’m not sure if we asked for a Greek Pizzicato Five, but good lord we got one and they really aren’t all that bad. Perhaps missing a hook outside the rythmn track, and all – but at least they haven;t got a tacky name./

    Spain is all tacky name and no talent. Playing a creepy paedophile voice to the max, backed by weedy strings marks a Greek victory by a mile. Spain v.v. disappointing in this tourney.

    Russia has inappropriate booty usage by non-Engliah speakers, and nice ethnic instrumentation, but I am not convinced completely by its stabs at fun. Its alright, but wrong in the same breath. Mind you, proper use of Eurovision keychange may swing it.

    Sweden: Once upon a time the English team decided to have a Swedish manager. I think in a small way, we have just have our revenge.

  9. 9
    lockedintheattic on 2 Jun 2008 #

    The Swedes may not be playing attractive football but against this Russian side it’s just brutally effective – don’t think she stands a chance against an onslaught of shots like this.

    Greece seem to be happy playing for the draw – and Spain likewise, they just don’t look like they want the win enough to pull any last minute scoring chances out of the bag. Big disappointment there when we all know the kind of talent they possess.

  10. 10
    byebyepride on 2 Jun 2008 #

    I don’t think the Russians stand a chance here – this wouldn’t work more than once in a season, but throwing the whole team up the pitch and keeping a brutal battery up on goal seems to have really caught the Swedes’ opponents on the hop.

    Bit of a stalemate in the other match – although the Spanish team are ahead on possession, neither looks likely to score from where I’m sitting.

  11. 11
    lex on 2 Jun 2008 #

    What the hell are those SWE and ESP tracks??? In tennis terms, all their opponents had to was get the ball in court, sit back and watch those teams self-destruct – luckily though I think RUS and GRE are worthy winners in their own right, the final group game seems to have freed them up to play some genuinely interesting choices. Loungey music is always nice and decadent; and what I like about the RUS entry is how amazingly RUSSIAN it is. Her scare-quotes quirky delivery grates to begin with but I can always won over with gratuitous vodka references.

    I made it through 30 seconds of ESP, and about two seconds of SWE.

  12. 12
    koganbot on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Greece (V Fifth Galaxy Orchestra): A strong jazzily drummed James Bond theme. The Greek Arling & Cameron? A nice unpretentious musical update. Wait, on second thought this is a totally pretentious pomo update, but it still sounds pretty good.

    Spain (Love Of Lesbians): I bow to no man in my love of lesbians, but I was hoping for something less cuddly. Nice enough, but my vote goes to the Greek eyebrow raisers.

  13. 13
    koganbot on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Russia (The Nicole): The Nicole sounds like Nicole Richie but with nasally cloddiness in place of NR’s naive charm – which is too bad, because otherwise this would be a luscious song.

    Sweden (In Flames): In Flames was one of the better industrial metal bands w/ crypto dancepop leanings that xhuxk was sending me a lot of in the early ’00s. You think you’re getting full-out squall and then it goes all pretty on you. The Swedes are probably going down in flames in this match, but they’ve got my tick.

  14. 14
    Matt DC on 2 Jun 2008 #


    If the Swedes manage to pull off a win here, the whole rule book goes out of the window I feel.

  15. 15
    Matt DC on 2 Jun 2008 #

    So Greece top the group with Russia in second? I don’t think anyone saw this coming at the start of the tournament, Maniche.

    So the other half of the draw is France v Russia, Greece v Italy then?

  16. 16
    Matt DC on 2 Jun 2008 #

    And the moral of this tournament is never field a band with Lesbians in their name, you’ll get smashed.

  17. 17
    Ben on 2 Jun 2008 #

    I was already dead and buried long before I used the lesbians as my supersub. No wins from the opening two games meant that I could have won this last game and still not qualified. So I had to take the gamble.

    I have to say that I found it incredibly hard to find decent Spanish music. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, but the range of stuff available on the download software I use was pretty poor.

  18. 18
    Tom on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Yes I think Spain is a tough one to be honest – it’s a bit of a pop underachiever: there must be a bunch of good stuff with “latin rhythms” you would think.

    On the other hand I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the range of Greek stuff out there, though I think I’ve got the most out of a fairly inconsistent group.

  19. 19
    jel on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Bah! What a disgrace! I bought dignity and hope to a nation which has for far too long dined out on former glories. Every song I submitted was brilliant, I bought diversity and flare to the competition, I resisted monoculture. I did not pander to the crowd. I must console myself that genius is so often shunned and ignored. Unblooded, unbowed, unbroken.

    (and I forgot to vote for me own song)

  20. 20
    Tom on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Blimey Jel, since you’d have qualified with a self-vote this counts as somewhat of a gaff!

  21. 21
    jel on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Oh dear, looks like I can never set foot in Sweden. It’s not my day :(

  22. 22
    koganbot on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Yes! Sweden was one vote short of a tie, which would have put it even with Russia with 4 points each: but wouldn’t Russia still have edged Sweden in the tie breaker?

  23. 23
    koganbot on 2 Jun 2008 #

    My five favorite songs of the tournament so far:

    1. Austria – Stereotyp & Al Haca “Blaze N’ Cook (Kruder’s Jiggy Remix)”
    2. Croatia – Grupa Zeris “Ta, Da, Tako Je”
    3. Turkey – Grup Hepsi “Ask Sakizi”
    4. Italy – Matia Bazar “Ti Sento”
    5. France – Mélissa Mars “Apocalips”

    So, my three favorites were from teams that got eliminated.

  24. 24
    koganbot on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Er, forget my comment before last: with a draw Sweden would have had four points to Russia’s three.

  25. 25
    Matt DC on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Jel the Swedish tabloids are Photoshopping your head onto a turnip as we speak. Oh dear.

  26. 26
    Jessica on 3 Jun 2008 #

    Hooray, at last I beat someone! But now I have to find more Russian songs, agh!! The only other good ones I have on my computer are by Dima Bilan, which is probably not going to go down so well, and already very well known acts like t.A.T.u. So, time to get researching!

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