UEFA EURO 2012 (Poznan)

Monday 18th June 2012
UEFA Euro 2012 Group C
Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland
Attendance: 38,794*

So, for the final game of our 8 day adventure across Poland it was due south once again to the city of Poznan. This also meant the completion of visits to all four tournament grounds in Poland, which I suppose was the main purpose of the trip.

Poznan had been the main base of the Irish fans during the tournament and they were once again here in numbers. It was 90 degrees in the city today and I think the heat and a week of being on the lash was finally catching up with the Green Army.

Nonetheless the ale was still flowing and the songs were still being sung. The Irish had certainly made an impression on the Polish people and there was a sense today that many locals were wearing green in support of them, eager to join in with the festivities!

There was a jovial atmosphere in the packed Rynek, but it didn't seem to have the same fervour as it did in Gdanask last Thursday.


Poznan's City Stadium has a capacity of 43,090 and is the only ground of the four Polish grounds used for Euro 2012 that has been renovated, rather than built from scratch and, in my humble opinion, was the best ground of the four.

Poznan supporters are world famous for their backs-to-the-pitch celebration, which has been copied in England by Manchester Citeh fans. I have to confess that I did partake in "doing the Poznan" during the game!

Italy earned the victory they needed against an already eliminated Republic of Ireland to go through to the last eight of Euro 2012. Ireland started with well, but went behind when Antonio Cassano headed in a near post Andrea Pirlo corner, despite the best efforts of Damien Duff, winning his 100th cap, to get the ball off the line. 

An equaliser would have dumped Italy out and their keeper Gianluigi Buffon was forced to work, saving a Keith Andrews strike.

Andrews was then sent off for a second booking before Mario Balotelli volleyed in to settle Italian nerves. Italy still had to endure a few nervous minutes as a Croatia equaliser against Spain in the other Group C game would have meant they were out of the tournament, but Spain won and Italy went through as runners up.

Ireland put in a much better performance than in their two previous defeats and the fans appreciated this. They still sang, including a few anti-Roy Keane ditties, and they did their country proud. You can't help but get the feeling that it may be a while before they grace a tournament again and for some of the players this game may have been their swansong. There were rumours were going around that the likes of Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, John O'Shea and Richard Dunne may decide to call it a day.

I can only speak as I find and It was a top week in Poland. Four great cities, four great grounds. It was an all round fantastic experience. Poland was brilliant, the people were warm, friendly and very welcoming. There was no hint of trouble and the reality bore no resemblance to what was portrayed in the media prior to the tournament. I wonder if there will be any 'documentaries' to set the record straight?

Having spent time in amongst them, I can confirm the Irish supporters are absolutely top draw and they certainly embraced Poland as Poland embraced them. This headline in a Polish newspaper sums it up...

Anyhow, one more time....POLSKA BIALO CZERWONI :)

* This was the attendance 'flashed' on the screens at the ground. Media were reporting the attendance as 44,416 despite the fact there were plenty of empty seats and for Euro 2012 the capacity of the ground was only 40,000!!

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