The countdown to UEFA EURO 2012 reaches a new milestone this weekend as Saturday marks 300 days until the final tournament begins in Warsaw. Celebrations are fairly muted as the host countries focus on preparations that are consuming over half a million people in Ukraine alone. UEFA.com checks out how things are progressing there and in Poland.
• Poland: On Sunday, Poland's newest football ground (for a few weeks at least) will be unveiled when the Municipal Stadium Gdansk opens its doors for the first time as KS Lechia Gdańsk host MKS Cracovia Kraków in the Ekstraklasa. The finishing touches are being applied to venues in Warsaw and Wroclaw, which will be revealed over the next six months. The revamped Municipal Stadium Poznan opened last September.
• Ukraine: Kharkiv's spider-like Metalist Stadium and the ultra-modern Donbass Arena opened in the second half of 2009. The New Lviv Stadium, based on the UEFA EURO 2008 arena at Klagenfurt, is 75% complete and set to host Ukraine's friendly against Austria on 15 November. Four days earlier the national team take on Germany at Kyiv's revamped Olympic Stadium, venue for the UEFA EURO 2012 final. The finishing touches – membrane cover and seats − are now being installed.
• Poland: The railway system is undergoing a major upgrade to slash journey times, and major stations in Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw are in the process of major facelifts. The opening of the new airport shuttle in the Polish capital is imminent while the main automobile route into Poznan from its airport has been reconstructed. Finishing touches are being applied to a new ring road around Wroclaw.
• Ukraine: Airports serving all four venues have undergone major change, with modern terminals, longer runways and even, in the case of Donetsk and Kharkiv, new control towers either in operation or scheduled for before the end of 2011. Roads are being reconstructed throughout the country and in Kyiv several bridges have sprung up traversing the Dnipro to avoid bottlenecks. There has been a significant investment in hotels in the capital since April 2007, when UEFA EURO 2012 was awarded to Poland and Ukraine.
• Poland: Franciszek Smuda's side are unpredictable but there is cause for hope using the admittedly capricious barometer of international friendlies. Over the past 12 months Poland have defeated Ivory Coast (3-1), Norway (1-0) and Argentina (2-1), drawn 0-0 with Greece – and lost 2-0 to Lithuania. It is perhaps the pitfall of having a side so young, if laced with talent like Borussia Dortmund duo Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Błaszczykowski, their captain at 25. The future is bright.
• Ukraine: Oleg Blokhin, who guided Ukraine to the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, returned to the helm in April but after initial success his team have struggled, losing to France (1-4) and Sweden (0-1). The coach remains confident, saying he can "see the direction we have to move in". A meeting with Copa América champions Uruguay on 2 September should give an indication of how far they have to go.
Vitaliy Klitschko and former Poland goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek helped launch the volunteer recruitment programme in mid-June, with the world heavyweight boxing champion encouraging people to "join the action". Persuaded either by his considered words or giant 2.02m frame, they have. Applications are open until 30 September via a portal on UEFA.com.
Customers can resell their UEFA EURO 2012 tickets at face value and on a first come, first served basis through the official UEFA EURO 2012 ticket resale platform until 1 March 2012.
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