Our last two teams take their bow in the second Group D game – two nations with big pop potential: can they realise it? Listen to the tracks, vote in the poll, then click below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, previews and match reports. SPECIAL NOTE: Since we haven’t found the Russian manager, thanks a lot to Jessica Popper for stepping in at short notice and giving us a track!

How to vote: Just pick the track you like best and vote in the poll below – this poll ends next Monday morning.

Russia v Spain: Which track do you prefer? [ballot]

  • Russia: Oskar 59%
  • Spain: Camila 41%

Total Voters: 22

Poll closes: 14 Apr 2008 @ 10:00

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RUSSIA: Oskar – “How To Find Bin Laden”

The manager says: “Oskar, like most Russian popstars, has a very interesting backstory – he became a huge star in Russia in 2001, only to lose it all when conflicts in Chechnya (where he was born) led him to revert to his Muslim roots, change his name to Shamil, and release a song called Become Jihad. This was so controversial (and he was already subject to regular racist attacks from Moscow police) that he eventually left Russia for America, became the frontman for a glam-rock group called The Psycholovers, and recorded songs such as Make Love To America and How To Find Bin Laden. Now you can all join me in going about daily life with “all of a sudden, jump up Bin Laden” stuck on your brain. ”

Our analyst says: “A brash young squad whose in-your-face attitude will typify all that’s wrong with the modern game for some, while thrilling others. They play at high tempo and try plenty of tricks, though the technical side of their play may be found wanting against patient opponents. Likely to get in the ref’s face at every opportunity.”

SPAIN: Camila – “Yo Quiero”

The manager says: “I was delighted when I found out that Camila have a Spanish grandparent and were therefore eligible to represent Spain in Europop 2008. Since bursting onto the Spanish music scene in 2006, the band known as “the Mexican Busted” have wowed crowds with their pop tones. For the first round game, I’ve selected their current start striker, ‘Yo Quiero’, currently #4 in the Spanish Top 40 Goalscorer charts. Group D is clearly the Group of Death, with Sweden to come, but I’m confident we’ve got the flair and paella to take us past Russia and on course for Round 2.”

Our analyst says: Spain are playing a mid-tempo game, comfortable in possession and with enough flair upfront to ensure goals. But their defense might be a little wayward – there’s a big question mark over their concentration and the full-backs have a tendency to showboat which Russia will look to exploit. A tight game, this.

COMING NEXT: It’s a rerun of the Pop World Cup final, with the Czech Republic in a grim position at the bottom of Group A. Their preparations won’t be helped by the shock news that the Czech manager has WALKED OUT on the squad – or was he pushed? A spokesperson has blamed an “unavoidable personal crisis”, and the outgoing manager has pledged full support to his replacement, the unknown Henrik. Henrik’s managerial career will start at the deep end, as Portugal look to build on their unexpected win over Turkey by sealing 3 points and qualification under the former Czeck manager Greg.

MATCH REPORT: Holland 0 Italy 2

Italy showed little respect for a Holland side packed full of ageing stars, scoring early and never really allowing their opponents back into the game. The crowd gave Holland a warmer reception, as befitted a side who were great in their day, but it was the tight, physical Italians who dominated throughout and killed the tie early in the second half with a poacher’s goal. In truth Italy didn’t play with the flair many expected, and though this is an excellent result for them, Group C is far from decided: Holland meanwhile have every chance of getting back into it but face a selection dilemma before their showdown with France.