Saturday, June 9, 2012
The nice people who run Ghostel have kindly put us in touch with a local lad who has an apartment free for tonight. Otherwise, we would definitely be struggling to find anywhere to rest our weary torsos later. The apartment is a 30-minute walk from the centre and sets us back 400 Hryvna.
We rest up for a couple of hours and walk to the fan zone which is buzzing ahead of tonight’s first match in Lviv. I then head off to the stadium which is a one-hour bus ride out of the centre where I pick up my press pass for the tournament. Clearly, the infrastructure around the stadium wasn’t quite finished in time for Euro 2012 but the stadium itself is a beauty.
Germany must have 10,000 plus fans in the stadium and might be expected to boss the match. Their support behind the goal is vociferous and booming out songs. Neil radios in to say he can’t find a ticket for a normal price and is drinking in the fan zone.
Germany are not firing on all cylinders but Portugal’s front three of Ronaldo, Nanni and Postiga are also not at their best. The German fans begin to throw paper missiles on to the pitch at the Portugal players. It is not dangerous but threatens to get them in trouble with UEFA if it gets out of hand. Germany win it thanks to a very good centre forward’s goal from Gomez who was about to be replaced by Klose. I would say that only Portugal’s Fabio Coentrao and Germany’s Mesut Ozil stand out as world-class players.
Post-match it is an absolute mess trying to get back into town. The buses are full and many of us are forced to begin walking the 8km back into town. After a half hour walk I manage to jump on a 40-year-old trolleybus which slowly shudders its way towards the city and off into one of the suburbs. I jump off that in the middle of nowhere and manage to find another rammed trolleybus for the final leg. It is crazy that I have been forced to walk and make two trolleybus journeys after a UEFA tournament match. Some of the infrastructure and transport budget has clearly ended up in somebody’s back pocket.
I reckon Platini should get his arse down here and take a midnight trolleybus ride through Lviv's Soviet suburbs after a match. We like to keep it real but post Euro-2012 trolleybus trips is a bit of a stretch.