Sunday, October 12, 2008

England v Belarus Minsk

England travel to Minsk in Belarus on Tuesday for their Group 6 European zone World Cup 2010 qualifying match.

Victory Square, Minsk

Minsk, with a population of 1.8 million people, is the capital of Belarus, a former republic of the Soviet Union, which gained its independence in 1991, though the newly independent state retains very strong links to its giant neighbor, Russia.

The currency of Belarus is the Belarusian ruble.
Minsk is 2 hours ahead of UK time.
Prices are lower than the western European average.
Minsk International Airport is situated 42km east of the capital and has connecting flights to Austria, Cyprus, Germany, France, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Germany, Russia, the UK, Italy, Iran, Latvia, and Turkey.
Assume a flight time of 2 hours, 30 mins for the 1800km journey between London and Minsk.
Dinamo Minsk and FC BATE Borisov are two of the country's premier soccer teams.
Dinamo Stadium, Minsk, with a capacity of 41,000, will be the venue for the Belarus v England game.
Minsk and the area of present-day Belarus were devastated in WWII. Much of the capital post dates 1945.
The Minsk metro which consists of two lines is the quickest and cheapest way to get around the city.
A visa is necessary to enter Belarus.
Book hotels in Minsk.
The current most famous player from Belarus is the ex-Stuttgart, Arsenal, now Barcelona midfielder Aliaksandr Hleb.
Belarusian is the official language and has strong similarities with Russian.
International dialling code: +375
Described as "Europe's last dictatorship," by the US, Belarus is ruled with an iron fist by stalinist President Alexander Lukashenko, who was relected in March in an election described as "flawed" by outside observers. Insulting the president, even as a joke, is punished with a prison sentence.

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