Sunday, June 15, 2008

Euros June 2008

1. Russia v Greece in Salzburg

A generally deserved victory by the Russians (should it have been England ?)
The Greeks were very limited, creating little despite having three men in attack. A goalie error decided the match though it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Russians scored.

As was noticeable in all these games there were plenty of fans of both teams and seemingly few neutrals. This obviously produced a good atmosphere but anybody without a ticket could expect to pay big bucks - up to 500 euros. This could mean collecting hundreds of glasses at a return deposit of one euro per time to get back the cost.

To Salzburg the day after the game - a very pleasant historic centre with some Russians and a few Greeks around.

In the central area is the very impressive medium-size Salzburg museum full of the latest technology and providing superb presentations.

2. Croatia v Poland (1-0) in Klagenfurt

Red & white everywhere, except for the black-clad Croatian 'ultras' who provide a backdrop as in a System of a Down video.

Its hard to tell who had the most support (probably Croatia)
Sitting with Poland fans i had to feel for them - a limited team even against a mainly 'reserve' Croat side still couldn't get too close.

After his kidney transplant it was a great moment for Ivan Klasnic to score.

Both sets of fans certainly seem to rub along ok and mixed together in different areas of the stadium as well as outside.

3. Russia v Sweden (2-0)

Masses of yellow at one end and red/white/blue at the other in the best stadium for atmosphere of the four i visited.
The Russians were a revelationn - attacking from the start with star man Arshavin at the helm.

Whereas the Swedes were much too predictable & slow, with Ibrahimovic & Larsson ineffective.

Could Russia be the new Greece. ?

4. Germany 3 Portugal 2

The first of the Quarter Finals , in Basel.
I thought Portugal would do better but who can bet against the Germans - they showed power, strength and no little skill in getting two goals up , Portugal get one back but Ballack, with a push gets them 2 goals clear.

The stadium didnt 'work' so well especially with the UEFA style arrangements (cordons restricted walking around outside) making it a very inconvenient stadium being hemmed in by railway lines and the river.

And inside the distribution of fans didn't work well either - the main groups not being behind the goals unlike in (say) Innsbruck, thus making the colourful displays less effective.
Nevertheless an exciting game with Portugal always behind and coming up short.

Now it seems like its all set up for another German championship...

As for the cities of Basel and Innsbruck - I didn't see the centres at all - only the football grounds.

Overall 4 decent games watched by thousands of fans of all teams and significantly less neutrals than at the World cup.

for more pics see

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