UEFA EURO 2012 (Wrocław)

Tuesday 12th June 2012
UEFA Euro 2012 Group A
Greece 1-2 Czech Republic
Attendance: 41,105*

The first game of a 7 day journey across Poland took place in the city of Wrocław with Greece's Group A clash with the Czech Republic. As we flew into Berlin on the Monday the day actually began in the German capital, but a 'dry' 6 hour train journey saw us reach Wrocław by early afternoon.

Wrocław was the historical capital of Silesia, and today is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. Over the centuries, the city has been part of either Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Prussia, or Germany, and has been part of Poland since 1945 as a result of border changes after World War 2.

Sadly the tight schedule meant there was little chance to see the sights of the city and after a couple of much needed beers at the station, where we were joined by some, who we could only assume were, Śląsk "boys" who proceeded to give us a run down of teams they don't like, it was off to the ground to join the long queue to collect our tickets

The Municipal Stadium was built for Euro 2012 and has a capacity of 44,416. The stadium is located to the west of the city and is the home of Śląsk Wrocław. It was opened in 2011 and Śląsk Wrocław beat Lechia Gdańsk 1-0,  Johan Voskamp scoring the first ever goal at the ground.

The stadium was designed to resemble a Chinese latern and it looked quite smart from the outside, but once inside it had, to me, the feel of a typical new build ground. The tickets we had were half price as they were obstructed view.

This, on the face of it, seemed odd for a brand new stadium but there are posts inside, so walking up the steps I was thinking to myself we are going to be stuck behind a bloody post. As it turned out the obstructed view was mearly a hand rail, which never affected the view at all if you leant in a little, so in fact it made the tickets a bargain!

As the Czech border is around 150km from Wrocław, there were plenty of Czech fans in the ground and it felt like a home game for them. Lots were wearing Petr Cech protection caps as a tribute to their 'keeper, but would that have been the case afterwards if his mistake had cost them the game?

After racing into a 2-0 lead inside 6 minutes, Petr Jiracek (3) bagging the opener when he converted Tomas Hubschman's defence splitting pass and Vaclav Pilar grabbing his second goal of the tournament when he bundled home from two yards out.

Greece had a goal ruled out for offside, Giorgos Fotakis's header was disallowed, but the replay seemed to show he was level. However Fanis Gekas capitalised on Cech's howler just after the break, rolling the ball into an empty net. The goal knocked the Czech's out of their rhythm but they still managed to hold on for a crucial win.

*This attendance figure is what was 'flashed' on the screens at the ground. Media channels are reporting the attendance as 35,213. The ground looked pretty full to me.

1 comment:

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