For residents of the Polish capital Warsaw, the ceremony announcing their country as hosts of UEFA EURO 2012™ in tandem with Ukraine was so good they played it twice. The first was beamed live from Cardiff early yesterday afternoon, the second came in the evening when crowds were treated to a spectacular firework display as well as the sight of UEFA President Michel Platini revealing the successful bid.
Poland/Ukraine easily overcame opposition from Italy and Croatia/Hungary to land the finals, sparking scenes of joy in the four proposed Polish host cities – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw – and Chorzow and Krakow who are on the reserve list. "Viva Polonia!" said Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. "The dream has come true and everybody is very happy." In Gdansk, locals gathered in front of the famous Golden Gate for an impromptu son et lumière - fireworks and a concert. "This is the most important day for Gdansk for many, many years," said mayor Paweł Adamowicz. "This is a celebration for citizens of Gdansk, Poland and Ukraine. I'm euphoric."
Three hundred children were arranged to form the number 2012 in Wroclaw, where citizens tuned into events in Cardiff from City Square. There was double delight for the city as it is twinned with one of the Ukrainian venues, Lvov, and mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz got into the festive mood by playfully throwing footballs into the large crowd. In Poznan, revellers left Independence Square after the announcement to cheer local Ekstraklasa club Lech Poznań to a 3-0 victory against MKS Pogoń Szczecin before rounding off a day to remember with yet more music and fireworks.
There were also live transmissions of events from Cardiff in Krakow and Chorzow. In the old capital, players from Wisla Kraków, MKS Cracovia Kraków and Hutnik Kraków watched the decision on a giant screen in the Rynek Glowny Central Square, while mayor Jacek Majchrowski gave assurances that the historical city "will be perfectly prepared to host national teams and football fans from all over Europe". The same message came from Majchrowski's counterpart in Chorzow, Marek Kopel. "We must do everything we can to ensure we stage two or three games at the Śląski Stadium because this is a great chance, not only for Chorzow, but for the whole region to attract investment," he said.
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