Into the fantabulous knockout stage of Europop 2008 – hosts Switzerland topped Group A, but come up against a steadily improving German side. Click below the cut for track IDs, managerial comment, match reports and previews.

How to vote: Just tick the one you prefer. IMPORTANT – you will only have 3 (or 4) days to vote in each Quarter-Final. This one closes THIS THURSDAY, i.e. 5th June. From now on a simple majority of ticks is needed to progress.

Switzerland v Germany: Which of these tracks do you prefer? [ballot]

  • Switzerland: Stefanie Heinzmann 65%
  • Germany: Junior Boys (Tensnake Remix) 35%

Total Voters: 17

Poll closes: 5 Jun 2008 @ 13:59

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SWITZERLAND: Stefanie Heinzmann – “My Man Is A Mean Man”

The manager says: “Switzerland enter the knockout phase with confidence, and we are looking to capitalise on our group winning prowess with yet another change in formation. We may be using Ronsonesque training techniques but this is not featherlite piece of mittel-European white-girl soul. There is a power in Stefanie Heinzmann’s attack, rocking a young pierced Nana Mouskuri look and a song which is so good I spent ages to check it wasn’t a cover. It isn’t, and breaks down terrifically near the end to reveal a deceptively powerful strikeforce, and defensively I think all ports are covered and will take some truly innovative tactics to get something past us.”

Our analyst says: The heady air of the knockout stages hasn’t gone to the Swiss team’s head: this is a disciplined side with plenty of attacking potential. It’s a team built around its talented striker, and the Swiss boss will be hoping these midfield journeymen can get her the service she needs to beat the German defence.

GERMANY: Junior Boys – “FM (Tensnake Remix)”

The manager says: “Inside every great ballad lies a banger (and indeed vice versa). Tensnake prove the former maxim here.”

Our analyst says: The German’s aren’t about to vary a winning tactic, and this side builds play from the back with efficiency but also subtlety. Their problem is a striker whose commitment to the national side has to be questioned – he’s drifting out of the game for long periods and his inconsistency could play into Swiss hands.

MATCH REPORTS: France 4 Italy 2: An excellent French performance could so easily have sent group leaders Italy home were it not for results elsewhere. In the first half Italy were woeful, barely in the game, and at 3-0 down with half an hour remaining they looked dead and buried. A crafty substitution of diva for hornsman rallied them and let them close the gap before a final French strike sealed their fate. Imperious France top the group: a chastened Italy also progress.

Holland 2 Romania 2: Holland played their best game of the tournament against a Romania side who started brightly but fell foul of sloppy defending and ill-discipline. By the end Romania were hanging on, though their manager has stated himself pleased by his side’s overall performance at this tournament. Holland fans can only regret that their upswing in form came too late, but they exit the tournament with heads held high.

Greece 3 Spain 0: And so another major tournament ends with Spanish hopes in tatters, the team booed off the field after a deserved hiding. Greece were good value for the win, though the size of the victory reflects a woeful Spain performance rather than their own pretty but often ineffectual play. That won’t concern Greece too much – they top the group in style: Spain meanwhile have some serious questions to ask themselves before 2010.

Russia 1 Sweden 0: Swedish fans were baying for their manager’s head last night as their team crashed out letting Russia nick the last quarter-final place. The skies above the stadium were filled with the acrid smoke of burning blue-and-yellow scarves as Sweden once again disgraced themselves at a major tournament, their aggressive, brutal play gifting Russia the winning penalty. Russia’s coach, ironically, is a firm believer in traditional Swedish tactics and has stuck to her principles to bring Russia through this inconsistent group.

COMING NEXT: Poland came out of a difficult group at a canter, but their clash with Portugal should be a more searching examination. Both these managers are known for eclectic tactics and often surprising selections, and this could be a match to gladden the neutral’s heart. Check back Thursday for this game, and results from the first Quarter-Final.