Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An upcoming film that depicts the events surrounding the so called 'death match' between a team of Ukrainians and occupying Nazi troops during World War II has seen its launch delayed because of fears it will create negative sentiment ahead of Euro 2012.

'The Match' tells the story of a group of Ukrainian footballers who beat a Nazi team during 1942 despite the obvious fears that any subsequent victory might threaten the safety of all of the Ukrainian players involved. The Ukrainians won 5-3 and it is believed that up to four members of their team were later murdered, three of them in concentration camps. 

However, although the match certainly took place, there has never been conclusive evidence of what truly occurred following the infamous game as the Soviet authorities later used the story for their own propaganda interests following World War II. The story is also said to have inspired two films in later years: the 1961 Hungarian film 'Ket felido a pokolban' ('Two half times in hell') (see below) and the Hollywood production 'Escape to Victory'.

Up to 10 million Ukrainians died during World War II - a fact often overlooked by historians from the United States, Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Ket felido a pokolban - the 1961 Hungarian film based on events in Kyiv during WWII which will also feature in the upcoming movie 'The Match'.

Monday, February 28, 2012

While the identity of the next England manager remains unknown, one thing the new boss will face is the realization that England have a severe shortage of experienced central strikers ahead of Euro 2012, with Darren Bent becoming the latest major casualty.

Aston Villa's Darren Bent would likely have featured in England's plans for this summer's European Championships in Poland and Ukraine but will now miss the tournament after rupturing ankle ligaments whilst playing for Aston Villa against Wigan at the weekend.

With Wayne Rooney set to miss England's two opening Euro 2012 fixtures through suspension, England may have to trust in a relatively untested forward line in Ukraine, with the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe suddenly looking far more likely to travel to the tournament.

England face Holland on Wednesday evening and will use the opportunity to try out strikers Campbell, Sturridge and Manchester United's Welbeck against the Dutch.
Monday, February 20, 2011

Stereotypes are hard to break. Ask somebody who has never been to England what London is like and they may well tell you that everybody is polite, wears a bowler hat, calls home from a red telephone box and drinks a dozen cups of tea per day. And what are the stereotypes of Ukraine? All Ukrainians drink vodka. The women are all blond. The men are all muscular. And it is very cold there...
For this very reason it is often necessary to bring in the PR boys and girls to shake up the perceptions of others. These are the latest promo clips that aim at creating a rather more upbeat and positive image of this beautiful country:
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yesterday was the final day for the fans of some of the teams involved in Euro 2012 to buy tickets for the tournament from A special ticket portal was launched late last year specifically for fans from the 16 participating teams. While fans of a number of federations have until February 29 to register their interest in tickets for their teams, English fans, for example, had to purchase tickets by midnight on February 15. 

The English Football Association said yesterday: "As it currently stands, we are confident that we will have enough tickets to satisfy demand for all of our matches."

It is expected that around 85% of the 1.4 million tickets available for Euro 2012 will go to fans with the remaining 15% going to sponsors, VIP guests and the like. Officially, each team has the opportunity to receive 16% of the overall net stadium capacity at each venue.

Image (C) Austin Nicholas,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It has been revealed that 13 of the 16 teams participating at Euro 2012 have chosen to base themselves in Poland rather than Ukraine. And with one of those three non-Poland based teams being Ukraine itself, it means that only Sweden and France have elected to base their training headquarters in Ukraine.

Despite the fact that Krakow is hosting no matches during the tournament, both Holland and England have decided to base themselves in the Polish cultural capital. Second favourites Germany will be based right up on the Baltic Sea coast in Gdansk, meaning the team will have to make a 3,000-kilometre return trip for their group match in Kharkiv.
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Camper Van Nick might be joining our gang for the 2012 Euros. Nick who, you might remember, drove myself, Columbian Rich, Geordie Robin and Swiss Fabio around South Africa in his camper van in 2010, is seriously considering a trip out to Ukraine. He was in Riga last weekend escaping the delights of Bolton for a few days. It is fair to say he ended his first trip to Latvia looking like a broken man after three nights of partying. Apparently, he was so hammered on the bus back to the airport that he got off two kilometres before the terminal and had to walk to Riga International Airport through a field. 

Last night I also met a good friend called Christophe who used to live in Riga but now resides in London. Christophe is planning to sail from Stockholm to Africa in late spring. If he does I will certainly link this website to his for anybody who wants to follow what should be an epic adventure.

Minus 10 in Riga now. Website traffic going very well with nearly 600 unique visitors yesterday. Continuing to optimize More Than a Game ahead of this summer's Euros.

Riga Nights...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UEFA President Michel Platini has been speaking to Interpol ahead of Euro 2012. 

As well as signing a memorandum of understanding between UEFA and Interpol, in an ongoing attempt to fight crime in football, the two bodies have also been looking ahead to this summer's tournament in Ukraine and Poland.
Interpol will deploy Interpol Major Events Sports Teams (IMESTs) at the tournament, which will liaise with police from 190 countries around the globe, as both UEFA and Interpol look to reduce crime at Euro 2012.