The second batch of Group A matches opens with the Czech Republic taking on Portugal. The Czechs need a win to keep their Europop hopes alive – if Portugal win, their passage to the quarter finals is all but assured. Hear the tracks, vote in the poll, and click below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, previews and match reports. IMPORTANT NOTE: The Portugal track is playing too fast in the inline player – you should download it to get the proper effect! We’re working on getting a different version.

How to vote: Just pick the track you liked best! This poll will close next Thursday.

Czech Republic v Portugal - which track do you prefer? [ballot]

  • Portugal: The Weatherman 58%
  • Czech Republic: Iva Fruhlingova 42%

Total Voters: 48

Poll closes: 17 Apr 2008 @ 10:00

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CZECH REPUBLIC: Iva Fruhlingova – “Strip Twist”

The manager says: ““It looks like I’ve been vouchsafed the honour of managing the Czech team for the remainder of Europop 2008, and while we’re off to a bad start, I’m confident that we’ll snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A jaunty fellow by nature, I expected the signing up of new players to be a cakewalk, but a couple of hours’ worth of browsing top 40 charts filled with endless stretches of MOR rock and vapid ballads quickly unearthed the awful truth: Czech music stinks. Luckily, I found my Hot Shot Hamish in Paris-based expat Iva Frühlingová, a model-turned-singer who, after two gal-with-guitar albums, saw the light and jazzed things up on last year’s “Strip Twist”, the title track of which is found here. Straight up yé-yé in the old school Bardot/Hardy vein, it’s kind of derivative, but trust me, it beats the hell out of most everything else the Czech charts can muster.”

Our analyst says: While Czech through and through, this squad largely ply their trade in the French leagues, and I suspect the French national manager will be looking with envious eyes on a team which play the game in a very Gallic style: a lot of easy passing, flair and a striker with a real eye for goal. The team may be looking elimination in the eye but they’ll surely go down fighting.

PORTUGAL: The Weatherman – “About Harmony”

The manager says: “This is just so lovely; three or four totally different records and
what’s holding them together is sunshine.”

Our analyst says: Some of the delicate touches and beautifully weighted passes that won Portugal’s first game are in evidence here – and if anything this side have even more creativity. If they can keep it together and show some end product they may break Czech hearts, but has this defense got the stamina and concentration required to protect a lead?

COMING NEXT: The other Group A match sees hosts Switzerland take on a Turkey side who many felt were unlucky to lose their opening game. They need a win here and are making confident noises: the Swiss meanwhile will look to prove their thumping win in the opener was no fluke.

MATCH REPORT: Sweden 0 Greece 2 – A shocker for the much-fancied Swedes, who face being branded big-tournament chokers after this chaotic display against a Greek side who were well-drilled but should not have presented much of an obstacle. Their aggressive midfield general gave away the free kick that led to Greece’s opening goal, and then was dismissed after his timewasting antics led to a second yellow. Sweden found a little fight but their fate was sealed when a speculative punt was deflected in off a waiting Greek backside. Big questions now being asked of the new Swedish manager, who needs a more disciplined performance – and 3 points – against Spain.