This, the very first article in this series, dedicated to 2012’s biggest football event – THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS. I will try to concentrate on the two countries, which will host this year’s 16 best European football teams, who will get together for one epic tournament that will get going from June 8th to 1st July. It’s the 14th European Championship held and from 16 teams in that competition, only one will be crowned for the right to be called champions of Euro 2012. This year will mark the return of the quadrennial European football tournament since Spain reigned supreme over all of Europe after beating Germany 1-0 in the final of Euro 2008 four years ago.
This year, Poland and Ukraine were surprisingly selected to be the host countries of the European Championship. This will be the first time that both Poland and Ukraine will host such big tournament and making Euro 2012 superb special for both nations. With games spanning across eight key cities between the two countries, it’s time for both Poland and Ukraine to let the rest of the world see what they have for the sport of football. And I have a feeling that we won’t be disappointed at all. Poland, have prepared four beautiful locations for the biggest European football tournament set to kick-off this year.
First stadium which was completed by Poland for this year’s European Championship is the Poznan Stadium. It was reconstructed in a seven-year period that cost the country “only” 180 million Euros. And by the way the stadium looks, it definitely seems like it was money well-spent. The arena was designed to stir up excitement with its trademark billowing roof that lets the noise of the crowd swirl up and build into a tornado, which is perfect too since some of the tournament’s most supported sides are going to play here. Hosting three Group C matches, the newly-built stadium will see the likes of the Republic of Ireland, Croatia, and Italy playing there.
Next arena is the Stadium in Wroclaw. The largest city in western Poland, the town houses one of the newest stadiums that the country was able to complete in time for Euro 2012. Hosting three Group A matches, the brand new Stadium can hold almost 43,000 people. That one really makes a stunning effect! What is worth mentioning is it even has a casino!!
Next, let’s have few words about the Capital of Poland – Warsaw, where the National Stadium stands. It didn’t have the smoothest of construction projects compared to Poland’s other stadiums, but with a seating capacity of 58,000 people, it definitely makes up for all the trouble building this architectural wonder. It is the biggest stadium throughout Poland and that’s why it’s only fitting that the host country gets to kick-off Euro 2012 here against Greece on opening day. The 4th and final stadium Poland has prepared for the tournament could very well be its prettiest as the newly built PGE Arena in Gdansk. With a stunning polycarbonate exterior, the impressive architectural masterpiece truly is Poland’s gem for the sport of football.
Of course, co-hosts Ukraine won’t let Poland outshine them, not in their most important European football tournament to date. And if you thought Poland’s National Stadium in Warsaw is big, Ukraine has something even bigger with the reconstructed Olympic Stadium in Kiev. That huge arena that can seat a whopping 70,500 people will be the ground where they kick off their Euro 2012 campaign as they start things off against Sweden on 12th June, the first of three Group D matches to be played there. Ukraine also has the Arena Lviv. While modest compared to the host country’s other stadiums for Euro 2012 with a 30,000 seating capacity, it’s still one of Ukraine’s most beautiful with its translucent facade letting it come alive at night. It will host three Group B matches that include Denmark and two powerhouse teams in Portugal and Germany.
In Kharkiv, we have the spider-like Metalist Stadium. It was reconstructed from the ground up for Euro 2012. Nicknamed as ‘The Spider’ because of its quite interesting arachnipod roof, it will also host three Group B matches. Last but certainly not the least, Ukraine has the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. Matching Poland’s PGE Arena in Gdansk in terms of sheer elegance and beauty, the Donbass Arena could very well be one of the most awesome landmarks of this football tournament. It’s space age construction truly makes it an architectural masterpiece as it captivates you when it basks under the sun and shows off its structural beauty when it is lit up at night. It will host three Group D matches and with two powerhouse teams in France and England kicking off their respective Euro 2012 campaigns against each other on this very stadium.
So, I have briefly written you about which constructions await for fans in the upcoming Euro Cup in Poland and Ukraine. I believe that this 14th edition will be a real show for everyone who will join action live or follow matches on telly with friends. As per me, I can’t wait to see big matches and some betting opportunities of course.
In the next round of articles I will enclose group reviews, some free tips and… yes… I will be a part of some live match tipping and trading, so hope there will be a chance to write some more about that event for you!