And so it begins! A month of European soccer kicks off today with two matches: one of the host nations, Poland, against the 2004 champions Greece in Warsaw; and Russia vs Czech Republic in Wroclaw.
World champions Spain will begin their title defense against Italy on Sunday after Germany, also one of the favorites, face a tough first match against Portugal on Saturday.
Poland and Ukraine hope the month-long tournament will show the world how far they have come since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed two years later. Both countries have been preparing to host this event for 5 years, building stadiums and roads from scratch, overhauling train stations and extending airports traffic capacity. Even though at some point it looked impossible to achieve – now all participating teams and their fans came to the Eastern Europe for one of the most important sports events of the year.
In Poland matches will be hosted in Warsaw, Poznan, Gdansk, and Wroclaw. Ukraine will celebrate this month of European soccer in Kiev, Kharkiv, Lviv, and Donetsk. The two countries will fairly share all the matches of Euro 2012 among their cities. The final will be held at the Olympic stadium in the Ukrainian capital city Kiev.
The draw for the final tournament divided the sixteen finalists into 4 groups.
Group A: Poland, Greece, Russia, and Czech Republic;
Group B (called “The Group Of Death”): Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Denmark;
Group C: Spain, Italy, Croatia, and Ireland;
Group D: Ukraine, England, Sweden, and France.
The favorites of the championship are called Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain.