The fourteenth European Championship runs June 8 through July 1, and will be played across Poland and Ukraine in Eastern Europe.
Sixteen teams will compete to try to become the best nation in Europe. It’s the first time that either Poland or Ukraine has hosted a European Championship tournament.
Here are the eight cities and stadia were the tournament will be held this summer:
National Stadium (Warsaw, Poland)
Poland vs Greece, June 8
Poland vs Russia, June 12
Greece vs Russia, June 16
Quarterfinal, June 21
Semifinal, June 28
The National Stadium will play host to the opening match of the Euro 2012 tournament. Having officially been opened earlier this year in January, the 58,145 seater capacity arena will be Poland’s finest stage as the competition gets underway on June 8. With a heated pitch, an underground car park, façade lighting and a retractable roof, it is every bit worthy of accommodating the opening match. It is ranked by UEFA as a category 4 stadium, the highest such honor any European ground can be bestowed with.
The stadium is located in the heart of the Polish capital of Warsaw. Nicknamed the Phoenix city as it has survived so many wars, it has emerged into the new millennium as an economic hub linking eastern and central Europe. Football fans can expect pleasant temperatures in the late teens, humidity around the 70% mark with very little precipitation during June and July. Despite emerging badly from communism, the city has seen marked improvements in terms of infrastructure and transportation networks since the 1990’s. With a metro system along with other modes of transports such as trams, buses and urban railway, you will be able to zip around the Polish capital in no time and easily be able to find the stadium.
PGE Arena Gdańsk Stadium (Gdansk, Poland)
Spain vs Italy, June 10
Spain vs Ireland, June 14
Croatia vs Spain, June 18
Quarterfinal, June 22
The stadium is the next Polish engineering extravaganza, especially built for the European Championship. Opened in August 2011, it has already hosted an international match between Poland and Germany and the pitch was in pristine condition for that encounter. There is a capacity crowd of 44,639 and like the National Stadium, it too has been ranked as a UEFA category 4 stadium.
Gdańsk is a picturesque city on the Baltic coast and is Poland’s largest seaport. As a result of exposure to the sea, temperatures are usually in the mid to high teens for June and July with humidity of about 80% with hardly any rainfall. The city is well equipped for an influx of soccer fans as it has relatively modern expressways, trams, trains and buses for ease of transport around the metropolis.
The Municipal Stadium (Wroclaw, Poland)
Russia vs Czech Republic, June 8
Greece vs Czech Republic, June 12
Czech Republic vs Poland, June 16
The Municipal Stadium of Wroclaw in Worclaw, Poland is perhaps the finest arena for the entire tournament. Despite the modest capacity crowd of 44,416, UEFA has rated it as the highest ranked fourth category stadium out of all eight grounds that are set to host a European Championship match this summer. Although it has an almost transparent look about it, the external walls of the stadium can be colored with a sophisticated lighting system. Inside the stadium, there are many facilities for the participating teams including massage rooms and even a swimming pool.
Wroclaw is Poland’s 4th largest city, located in the southwest of the country. The average temperature of the city in June and July is around the late teens mark, with usually 70% humidity and rainfall is pretty much non-existent during the summer months. Although the city itself boasts very reasonable transportation facilities, fans going to the stadium are in luck. A “Park & Ride” plaza is being incorporated into the stadium with tram, train and bus routes bringing you from anywhere in the city right to the door of the stadium with consummate ease.
City Stadium (Poznan, Poland)
Ireland vs Croatia, June 10
Italy vs Croatia, June 14
Italy vs Ireland, June 18
Finally, Poland’s hosting of the tournament is rounded up with the City Stadium of Poznań in Poznań. Since opening in 1980, it has undergone renovation from 2003 to 2010 and in the process, a roof has been added and the capacity has been extended to 41,609. Home of the club, Lech Poznan, the creators of the Poznan celebration, it is sure to be electric atmosphere for every game taking place there in this hostile arena.
Poznań, like the other Polish cities, is adeptly prepared for the arrival of thousands of soccer mad fans. The city has an extensive transport and infrastructural network, which includes motorways, buses, trains, trams and an airport. For the months of June and July, people can expect temperatures to be consistently hitting 20 degrees 68F with about 70% humidity and very little rainfall.
Olympic Stadium (Kiev, Ukraine)
Ukraine vs Sweden, June 11
Sweden vs England, June 15
Sweden vs France, June 19
Quarterfinal, June 24
Final, July 1
The Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine is the showpiece arena of the entire tournament and also where the final is to be held on the 1st of July. Since being built in 1923, it has undergone several renovations and most recently from 2008 to 2011 in preparation for this summer’s competition. With a capacity of 70,050, both sets of fans for the final shouldn’t be too hard pushed to get tickets as it is by far the biggest stadium for Euro 2012. Although it may lack the bright lights and top-of-the-range technology seen with more recently built grounds, it is certain to be a cauldron of noise and a spectacle of color for whichever teams have the honor of playing in this vast amphitheatre.
Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is renowned for being a significant eastern European city for historical and cultural events and football can be added to that list in June. Well inland from any major water, the city enjoys balmy summer heat in the mid-twenties with humidity of about 75% and little rainfall. The metropolis is excellently serviced by great transport connections including funicular, the underground metro system, trams, trains and buses.
Donbass Arena (Donetsk, Ukraine)
France vs England, June 11
Ukraine vs France, June 15
England vs Ukraine, June 19
Quarterfinal, June 23
Semifinal, June 27
The Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine is a wonderful 50,000 seater stadium that was completed in 2009. Home of Shaktar Donetsk, not only is it worthy of big European club games which Shaktar host here but it is worthy of welcoming the cream of Europe’s national talent also. The exterior is illuminated, it has an infrared heating system and also contains vast parklands around the stadium.
The city of Donetsk itself has come a long since the 1990’s. It has modernized rapidly in recent years and it very easy to get around thanks to it’s well-planned out train, tram, trolley and bus routes, including a brand new railway station especially for the event. Temperatures hover around 68F with humidity of only about 65% with minimal precipitation.
Metalist Stadium (Kharkiv, Ukraine)
Netherlands vs Denmark, June 9
Netherlands vs Germany, June 13
Portugal vs Netherlands, June 17
The Metalist Stadium in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is where the stadia get considerably smaller with just 38,633 seats. Since being opened in 1926, it has undergone four renovations, including the one especially for Euro 2012 and some of these improvements were a shopping center incorporated into the arena, replacing the roof and building a completely new East Stand.
Kharkiv, like many other eastern European countries, only significantly developed in recent years. It boasts excellent transportations facilities with an underground metro, trams, buses, rail plus one other unique mode – A ‘’Marshrutka,’’ which is a routed taxi-cab that allows standing on journeys. Like the other Ukrainian cities, its temperatures also hang around the 20 mark with humidity of about 70% and very little rain.
Arena Lviv (Lviv, Ukraine)
Germany vs Portugal, June 9
Denmark vs Portugal, June 13
Denmark vs Germamy, June 17
The final stadium to host a Euro 2012 match is Arena Lviv in Lviv, Ukraine. Built for the competition, it too is small in capacity with only 34,915 seats. It was opened in October of last year but despite its size, UEFA representatives have said it’s possibly the most comfortable stadium of the lot as no matter where you are sitting, the view is impeccable all around the ground.
Lviv is a surprisingly cooler city for the months of June and July. Humidity is also considerably lower near 60% with a fair bit more rainfall in comparison to the other host cities of Ukraine. The locality is well served in terms of transports with metro, buses, rail, and trams. It is also a very bicycle friendly city for anyone interested in getting around very cheaply.