On June 7 the Warsaw airport resembled an ant hill: coming fans, journalists, VIP guests - all together passing passport control and looking for luggage. The same day Poland's capital opened the biggest in Europe fan-zone of total capacity of 100 thousand people.
On match days the fan-zone is opened from noon till 1 a.m., while on non-match days - from noon till 11 p.m.
The fan-zone has been set on the biggest square in Warsaw - Defilade Square.
During the official opening the fan-zone was not crowed at all, may be due to the religious holiday Corpus Christi. However, even during the Euro-2012 opening day the Warsaw streets were empty.
The locals explained that many capital residents left the city, using the opportunity to have a three-day holiday (7-10 June were announced as days-off).
On June 8 the Polish capital was quiet. Things were humming only in the very center, in the fan-zone and around the stadium. There were a lot of law enforcement officers, but they mostly observed and did not touch anybody.
Fans were 'cruising' around the city from the very morning, signing hymns, taking photos and giving interviews.
The Polish in one voice assured us that they expect Ukraine and Poland to meet in Kyiv for the final.
There were many volunteers working in the city, their bright T-shirts were hard to miss.
It's also worth mentioning that despite the ocean of beer there were no drunken people in the streets.
Later in the evening the crowd started gathering near the national stadium. The process was smooth and quiet, without panic and fights. Though the streets near the stadium were closed, public transport kept functioning, brining fans to the match.
ForUm managed to have a talk with fans from the Great Britain, a couple from London, Magda and Thomas:
- For three months we were trying to buy tickets through Internet, and finally we've managed. We also want to go to Kyiv for the final. Is that true that everything is really bad in Ukraine?
- No, of course not. Definitely not worse than in Warsaw. Welcome to the final in Ukraine!
- Yeah...but they wrote...
- You know, Professor Preobrazhenski from "Heart of a Dog" by Bulgakov said one nice thing: "Do not read Soviet newspapers before breakfast..."
- Like we thought, the British laughed and left to take their seats.
Apart from the Ukrainian fans the match was attended by Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych. Together with his Polish colleague Bronislaw Komorowski and UEFA Chief Michele Platini, Yanukovych watched the opening ceremony of the Euro-2012 finals and then watched the match between Greece and Poland.
We also spotted the head of the Kyiv city state administration Oleknsadr Popov and Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi.
We often heard that after Poland many fans will fly to Ukraine. Those were people from different countries and with different color of skin. Some of them we met later back in Kyiv. With a surprise foreigners told us that they expected horrors and wildness, while Ukraine turned out to be beautiful, comfortable and welcoming.
Thanks God the anti-Ukrainian campaign has failed... Now we just need to host Euro in at the decent level and prove the world that Ukrainians not only can be, but also should be dealt with.
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