BREATH IN, BREATH out. The European Championships are almost upon us.
Now, we know that some of you will only be interested in following the Boys in Green (and good on ya for that) but many of us will be keen to see every minute in every venue.
Some of you, may even be in Poland or the Ukraine and chance upon a spare ticket.
Well, my good friends, here are your stadium guides.
From eight stadia, two have been allocated to each group. Like half the teams at the Championship, half of the grounds will end the adventure after the group stage, but glory awaits for the rest.
We begin with Group A. A very good place to start.
Stadion Narodowy (National Stadium), Warsaw
Vital statistics: Built on the site of the 10th Anniversary Stadium (Stadion Dziesięciolecia) which endured a chequered history – of capacity 100,000 strong crowds to being abandoned and reduced to an open air market – between 1955 and 2009, the new National Stadium can hold 58,145 football-hungry fans.
The ground will become the new home of the national team when Euro 2012 is but a fond memory.
Jak tam dojechać / How do I get there? Of the four stadia in Poland, this is the closest to its city centre. Warsaw apparently boasts the largest fan zone at the tournament with a capacity for 100,000 people. So what better way to enjoy the tournament than strolling from there, across the Wisla river, to the stadium 40 minutes before kick-off so you’re in plenty of time for the anthems.
What games are here? Spare seats don’t look like they’ll be easy to come by here. Co-hosts, Poland play two of their group games in Warsaw including the tournament opener against Greece and the pivotal meeting with Russia. The winners of Group A will be back in Warsaw for a quarter-final before the the same venue will host a semi-final from the other side of the draw.
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Stadion Miejski (City Stadium), Wrocław
Vital statistics: It’s another one of those fancy colour changing stadia. We reckon we’ll all be bored of them come July.Give us a sweeping roof and glass plates any day. With a capacity cof 42, 771 the Miejski is home to Śląsk Wrocław the new champions of Poland.
Jak tam dojechać / How do I get there? The fan zone is nestled nicely in the heart of the city on the Rynek square where the Ratusz (town hall) will be difficult to miss. The same can’t be said for the stadium. It’s over eight kilometres out from town, we recommend the number 20 tram. Head west from the fan zone on Ruska street and get it from Kazimierza Wielkiego.
What games are here? Poland’s third game of the group against the Czech Republic is the pick of the litter here. The Czech’s play all of their group games in Wroclaw, but that will be end of the line for the stadium.
YouTube credit: hrvn1