Arrived in Warsaw on the morning of the opening game to bright sunshine in contrast to the pouring rain the previous night as I left Nottingham.
Greeted by people offering accommodation at the airport. With all the problems I had booking somewhere to stay I may need them later.
Was able to use my match ticket for today's game to travel from the airport the centre of town from where I caught my first glimpse of the National Stadium. I visited the site back in 2004, then it was just a gigantic bowl shaped mound which was being used for car boot sales. I was informed that there used to be a stadium there and that it held over 100,000 people.
The rain followed me from England and refreshing light rain turned into a heavy shower as I started to make my way to the stadium. Found refuge in a coffee shop and two Capuccinos later I was on my way. It was still raining but you could feel the heat radiating off the pavement.
I mentioned that tickets were only recently put on sale for the majority of games, some of these were restricted view tickets. Well this stadium did not appear to have such a thing. The stadium is impressive both inside and out. My seat was category 3 (at the lower price end) €45 plus 10% plus €20 delivery charges and was excellent on the last row of the bottom tier right behind the goal where the action took place.
Poland started extremely positively and after they carved the Greeks open for the third time down the right Lewandowski opened the scoring. The Greeks struggled to cope in the first half but stuck to the laws of the game ensuring that they had a Papadopoulos (spell it how you like) on the pitch at all times.
The second half was a different story and an inspired substitution almost gave the Greeks victory.
Returning back to the city crossing the Wisla river, two crowds merged as the 100,000 who had been at the fan fest in the city centre met the 56,000 from the stadium.
I then watched the Russia-Czech Republic game at the, by now, relatively empty fan fest. Each goal was cheered, as there was a healthy Russian contingent present. The Poles were to busy drowning their sorrows to realise what a situation they had got themselves into from such a promising start.
© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile
Euro 2012 football