After the short Easter break, Group B kicks off as Austria look to emulate their co-hosts Switzerland and notch up an early victory. In their way stand Croatia. Listen to the MP3s below then click on the “more” for managerial comment, analysis, the poll, match reports and previews and, erm, young communist girls in tiny shorts.

AUSTRIA: Stereotyp & Al Hace – “Blaze ‘n’ Cook (Kruder’s Jiggy Remix)”

The manager says: The manager has decided to let his team do their talking on the pitch on this occasion.

Our analyst says: This looks like a defensive formation from the Austrians – they know the way the Croatians play and they’re looking to frustrate them with a tight back four and some intricate midfield play. Very much a possession game, this, and the question has to be whether their striker has the pace needed to score on the counter.

CROATIA: Grupi Zeris – “Da, Da Tako Je”

(IMPORTANT NOTE: It turns out that this is in fact a SERBIAN record, though we’re satisfied the Croatian management team had no intent to mislead. However you may wish to consider this as a voting factor.)

The manager says: “Following extensive scouting by both the Director of Bosh and First
Team Coach, we’ve uncovered this litle gem “Da, da tako je” by early 80s girl group “Grupa Žeris” (pictured). Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out any more about them, but I know what I like and it’s breathy vocals over a stompy abba-esque track with plenty of handclaps, oh and polyester shorts, it’s just like The Big Match Revisited…”

Our analyst says: Traditional pop tactics haven’t had a good showing at this tournament so far but this Croatian side know the virtues of keeping it simple and direct. They’ve got a very solid back line and a striker who knows where the goal is, and that might just be all they need.

HOW TO VOTE: Listen to the tracks and tick the one you like best. The poll closes on Monday 31st at 10 AM.

Austria vs Croatia: Which of these tracks do you prefer? [ballot]

  • Croatia: Grupa Zeris 57%
  • Austria: Stereotyp & Al Hace 43%

Total Voters: 23

Poll closes: 31 Mar 2008 @ 10:00

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COMING NEXT: Tomorrow’s game is a historic grudge match – Germany v Poland. Expect fireworks. The German camp is reportedly highly confident and new manager The Lex has been putting his boys through some extremely intensive fitness training, facing down a nervous press who questioned the decision to hire the former USA coach after his failure at the Pop World Cup. Poland meanwhile are employing former Ecuador coach William Bloody Swygart, whose international scouting network has few rivals: can he mastermind a rare victory for Poland over their neighbours and arch-enemies?

MATCH REPORT: Switzerland 3 Czech Republic 1

Urged on by a passionate home crowd the Swiss raced to an early two-goal lead against a Czech side who looked unprepared for their direct tactics. The Czechs fought their way back into the game after half time but under constant pressure from the physical Swiss they wilted, and were lucky not to concede more than three. A big boost for Switzerland, who will have to guard against complacency in their second game against Turkey. The Czechs’ next opponents are Portugal – a re-run of the 2006 Pop World Cup Final which is suddenly a must-win game for the shaken world champions.

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