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Donetsk bids a fond farewell

After providing a warm welcome to football fans from across Europe, the party in Donetsk is drawing to a close after the city hosted its final game, but the memories will linger.

UEFA EURO 2012 in Donetsk ©UEFA.com

For Donetsk, the party is finally drawing to a close. Last night's semi-final was the last game to be played in the city and signals that the month-long festival, that has seen English, French, Spanish and Portuguese fans revelling with their Ukrainian hosts, is coming to an end.

This month, the eastern Ukrainian city has become one of Europe's sporting epicentres, with songs and anthems in numerous languages resounding passionately around the Donbass Arena and throughout the fan zones. Parties have lasted all night on the camp sites as people from all corners of Europe have been welcomed with a smile.

The football has been special, and the excellent beer and delicious food served up all around the city has kept visitors well fuelled to visit the numerous museums, theatres and exhibitions. "On Sunday I was at the Second World War Museum and, despite the late hour, I came across supporters from France, England and Spain," said Donetsk's mayor Aleksandr Lukyanchenko. "It's a pleasure to know that our city will leave good memories that are connected not only with football."

It has not only been foreign fans who have connected with the city, with Ukrainians also being given the chance to focus on Donetsk, since the co-hosts played two of their Group D games at the Donbass Arena. The city has been decked out in blue and yellow and the home fans will never forget the moments before the matches as the Ukrainian national anthem was sung by thousands. Local fans registered a new decibel-level record in the stadium before the game against England, and responded to the deluge and peals of thunder that delayed their game against France with chants of "Go, Ukraine!"

However, after the storm comes the calm, and the city is now returning to ordinary life. Donetsk will say its last farewell to UEFA EURO 2012 when Sunday's final in Kyiv is screened in the fan zone, but Donetsk will not forget this summer, and we hope that our visitors won't either.