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? [ballot]

  • 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? [ballot]

  • 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 “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!