Friday, June 15, 2012
Sadly, it is going to prove logistically impossible to visit the orphanage today so instead we relax in Brovery and then drive into the capital where we enjoy an excellent Ukrainian meal at a Carpathy Ukrainian restaurant Oleksa knows in Kyiv. I can’t remember the names of the special meals we had so I will ask Oleksa and add them to the blog later.
The Swedes have 20,000 fans in the city, easily outnumbering the English fans who probably only number 5,000. While the English have been struggling to find accommodation for less than a couple of hundred euros per night in Kyiv, the Swedes struck a deal with the mayor to put a campsite on an island in the Dnipro, making it more than affordable for the Swedes to travel to Ukraine in big numbers.
It is a sea of yellow and blue all around Kyiv’s pristine city centre streets and almost all of the drunken behavior is coming care of the men from Malmo and Gothenburg. In sight of the new multi-million euro Kyiv football stadium we find a bar to watch the earlier match between Ukraine and France only to watch the pictures of the game being suspended because of the severe thunderstorm in Donetsk. We have witnessed a couple of storms like that thus far in Ukraine but nothing quite that extreme. I don’t know how they managed to get all that water off the pitch and resumed the match so quickly. The bar is 90 percent Swedish and we sit with three Ukrainian police officers who later rush off to deal with an incident of fighting between the Swedes and English a couple of streets away.
This is one hell of a stadium but the old iconic floodlights have sadly gone. Sweden might have the numbers but England easily out sing their opponents. The England away end even has Germans in it supporting England with three of them passionately singing the English National Anthem (!).
After starting strongly and going into a 1-0 lead through a superb centre-forward’s goal from Carrol, England begin the second half all over the shop with Sweden attacking with two men down England’s weak flanks. When Sweden go 2-1 up after two incidents of comedy defending it looks like goodbye Vienna for England but the decision to bring on Walcott for Millner proves crucial. England, in my opinion, look best when they are attacking and with the pace and movement of Walcott, Young and Wellbeck the Swedes are in disarray. England go wild when Walcott makes it 2-2 just in front of them but when Wellbeck makes it 3-2 there is almost a touch in the celebrations of that famous night in Munich when England beat Germany 5-1.
The stewarding inside the ground has been virtually non-existent which has allowed a couple dozen England lads to almost encroach the pitch. That aside, England have been pretty well behaved and leave the stadium happy and without too many incidents of it kicking off.
Somehow Neil and I manage to get on the Kyiv metro after the match and jump off at Lisovo. There is no way we are going to allow Oleksa to come and pick us up at 2am but that, of course, is exactly what he wants to do. We couldn’t find a taxi in Kyiv and it isn’t much easier finding one out at the city’s limits. Encamped in a petrol station by the main highway we get chatting to a young IT lad from Brovery who we end up sharing a taxi back with us for six quid. It is definitely a case of job done as we get inside the flat at 2am, crack open some cold beers and watch rerun highlights of the game on Ukrainian TV. What a cracking match!