Spain and Sweden both got off to shaky starts in Europop 2008: who will take the points here? Listen to the tracks, vote in the poll, and look below the cut for managerial comment, analysis, match reports and previews.

How to vote: Just tick the one you like best (even if you don’t like it much!). This poll closes next Thursday, 15th March.

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

  • Sweden: Lacrosse 61%
  • Spain: SFDK 39%

Total Voters: 23

Poll closes: 16 May 2008 @ 12:00

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SPAIN: SFDK – “Mi Nombre Es Rap”

The manager says: “A surprise last minute selection by the Spanish manager sees him put his faith in the daddies of Spanish rap. Since 1993, MC Zatu and DJ Acción Sánchez have been churning out rhymes and the new millennium saw them hit the big time. ‘Mi Nombre Es Rap’ was first called up to the international squad after appearing on 2007 album, ‘Los Veteranos’, and the gaffer will be relying on SFDK’s bags of experience to earn the win that could smooth a passage into Round 2.”

Our analyst says: Not a formation we’ve seen much of in this tournament, but it’s one that needs a sturdy defence and fast-paced strikeforce to really work. My feeling here is that their ageing legs may tell against the Spanish team, even if they get the basics right.

SWEDEN: Lacrosse – “So Sad”

The manager says: “It starts with a whistle! Jolly Swedish popsters! Possibly a bit too indie, but nevermind hey? A flambouyant 3-5-2, it’s about how many you score, not how many you stop.”

Our analyst says: This side come out of the blocks quickly and while purists won’t appreciate their style of play there’s a shambolic energy which makes them watchable. They give away possession all over the shop and their defence looks porous to say the least but they’ve pace to burn and that might prove enough of an edge against Spain.

MATCH REPORT: Italy 1 Romania 1: With crowds slipping, the tournament organisers are hoping that this wave of draws soon comes to an end. Romania were good value for their point, though, taking a lead against an Italy side who, despite all their talent, bore out their manager’s worries about complacency. Italy rallied at the end with a late equaliser which keeps them top of a very open group: a point against France will now be enough to see them into the quarter-finals. Romania meanwhile need a win against Holland to guarantee their progress.

COMING NEXT… Group A reaches its climax on Monday with two games. Portugal and Switzerland have all but qualified – a draw would see them both through whatever happens in Turkey v Czech Republic. If one of those sides wins heavily and one of Portugal and Switzerland see a heavy defeat, we could see an upset. Could a second Portugese fan invasion hit Switzerland’s hopes? Can the Turks finally fulfil their potential? We will see.