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? [ballot]

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