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Warsaw first marks 100 days to go for co-hosts

Published: Thursday 1 March 2012, 11.29CET
Cristiano Ronaldo likes the look of the National Stadium Warsaw after the new venue staged its first game as Poland and Ukraine marked 100 days to go until UEFA EURO 2012.
by Dariusz Kurowski
from Warsaw
Warsaw first marks 100 days to go for co-hosts
Slavek and Slavko at the Poland v Portugal game in Warsaw ©Getty Images
 
Published: Thursday 1 March 2012, 11.29CET

Warsaw first marks 100 days to go for co-hosts

Cristiano Ronaldo likes the look of the National Stadium Warsaw after the new venue staged its first game as Poland and Ukraine marked 100 days to go until UEFA EURO 2012.

The first game at the National Stadium Warsaw was the star attraction as Poland and Ukraine marked 100 days to go until UEFA EURO 2012 kicks off.

A crowd of 55,000 watched Poland's 0-0 friendly draw against Portugal at the new stadium, which had been officially opened in January with a free music festival featuring top Polish bands.

"The stadium is nice, very good," Cristiano Ronaldo told UEFA.com after the match. Poland's Warsaw-born goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny added: "It looks excellent inside and outside. And the atmosphere, which is extremely important, was good today."

From a distance the arena resembles a gigantic basket in the traditional red and white colours of Poland, with much attention being drawn by the roof, where steel cables rise towards a pinnacle some 30m over the centre circle. "The stadium is super, absolutely fantastic," said Polish Football Federation (PZPN) president Grzegorz Lato of the venue on the banks of the Vistula, which stands on the site of the old Stadion Dziesięciolecia.

The National Stadium Warsaw is one of three Polish grounds constructed specially for UEFA EURO 2012, along with the Arena Gdansk and the Municipal Stadium Wroclaw. "I am very proud that we have such a great stadium and Poland can play here," said national team captain Jakub Błaszczykowski. All the venue needs now is goals, and striker Robert Lewandowski hopes they will not be long in coming. "I think a Polish player will score the first goal here on 8 June against Greece in the first game of the EURO," he said.

A number of other events marked the 100 days milestone:

• Polish sports minister Joanna Mucha gave a positive update on infrastructure developments. "We're very close to being 100% there – the most important elements like airport improvements and roads are being finished," said Mucha on the day Wroclaw's airport unveiled a new terminal. "We've also implemented a special system for smooth border crossings to Ukraine for EURO visitors."

• A football memorabilia exhibition was launched in Warsaw. Jerseys from greats such as Jürgen Klinsmann, Zinédine Zidane, Luís Figo and many others can be seen while the family of Poland's most successful coach, Kazimierz Górski, made his career items available.

• The entire Kawa czy Herbata (tea or coffee) breakfast television show was dedicated to the EURO. "We dream about a good showing from the Polish national team, but the tournament has already brought us closer to Europe," said EURO ambassador Zbigniew Boniek.

• In Gdansk, mayor Paweł Adamowicz led a dance on the main street while in Poznan a Show Yourself at EURO contest was concluded with the winners being displayed on big posters across the city.

• Work continues apace as Ukraine readies itself for the finals. In Kyiv, a TV link-up between the two capitals was organised with Ukraine's deputy prime minister Borys Kolesnikov and Polish sports minister Mucha among the participants. "Both countries are practically ready," Kolesnikov said. "Ukraine has undergone a fantastic infrastructural development."

• In Donetsk's municipal park, a 200kg cake in the shape of the host city's emblem was presented and eaten by guests at a 100 days to go event, while an open-air figure skating display and a football match on ice featured in Lviv's celebrations.

• In Kharkiv, EURO volunteers used social media to arrange several flash mobs in the city centre while local media invited their audiences to participate in quizzes about UEFA EURO 2012.

Last updated: 01/03/12 13.19CET

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