Huge celebrations are under way in Poland and Ukraine, not least in their capitals, after the two countries won the right to stage the UEFA EURO 2012™ finals.
Huge celebrations are under way in Poland and Ukraine after the two nations won the right to stage the UEFA EURO 2012™ finals.
In Warsaw, large crowds took to the streets this morning in expectation of the decision from Wales and jubilant scenes followed as UEFA President Michel Platini announced the verdict via large television screens. Despite the overcast skies and chilly weather, the scores of fans gathered in the open air jumped for joy and hugged each other. Supporters of all ages were present, from young children unaware of the fuss to pensioners who have waited a lifetime for such a sporting event to come to the country.
Polish prime minister Jarosław Kaczyński was in Belgium, meeting European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, when the news filtered through. "It's a beautiful day for Polish sport," he said. At home, the Warsaw stock exchange reacted by reaching a record high. Nearly 500 miles away in Kiev, Ukrainian government ministers broke into applause as the verdict came through during a cabinet meeting while president Viktor Yushchenko said it offered a great opportunity to the co-hosts to lay on an "extraordinary" sporting showpiece.
Kiev office workers and businesses came to a standstill as they anticipated the news. The collective roar that greeted the decision could be heard across the capital, with some even crying from happiness. Flags were soon hung from windows as fans congregated in the streets to share in the party atmosphere. The fact football remains a common cause throughout the nation was underlined by the shouts of "Ukraine, Ukraine" that could be heard all day long.