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NSK Olimpijskyj (Kiev)

Ground: NSK Olimpijskyj

Visits: 1

Date: 24th June 2012

Match: England - Italy  2-4  after penalties, 0-0 at full-time  (EURO 2012)

Attendance: 64 340

 

Sweden played all three group matches in Kiev but as I couldn´t attend any of those due to work commitments I looked at other matches and was pleased to get a ticket for Winner D vs Runner-up C instead. This match was played at NSK Olimpijskyj in Kiev and I knew the winner of Sweden´s group was to play in this match. In the end Sweden did not even qualify for the quarter finals. Instead I had England vs Italy to look forward to. I have to admit I was quite happy with the outcome, even though I had preferred Sweden of course. Finding reasonably priced flights was not too difficult. Finding accodommation not costing a fortune was more difficult. In the end I had to pay too much for my room but at least I had somewhere to sleep. The lack of hotel rooms and the (steep) prices for rooms available are the main reasons for the relatively small numbers of English (and Italian) fans showing up for this quarter final. In the end I estimate 3-4000 English and maybe 500 Italians made it to the match.

 

My Dniproavia/Aerosvit flight from Copenhagen arrived at Kiev Borispol by 19.00 on Saturday evening and eventually I found the bus taking me to the train station in central Kiev. This was my first ever trip to the Ukraine and as always it was interesting to see what buildings etc look like on the road to into Kiev. I then, with some help, found the nearest metro station and after a while I was at Nyvky metro station. From there I walked to my hotel. Being in a housing complex (and not next to a street) I had some problems finding it. Two local security guards looked at my map, said something in Ukrainian and pointed where I should go. Perfect! On Sunday morning I walked down to Nyvky metro station, this was a 20-minute walk, and this part of Kiev didn´t at all look like I had expected. Several new apartment blocks and quite a nice area. Plenty of local shops selling more or less everything. Once in central Kiev I headed towards the stadium, NSK Olimpijskyj. NSK stands for National Sports Complex and Olimpijskyj has to do with matches being played here in the 1980 Olympics. The stadium has been renovated in recent years and in November 2011 it re-opened with a match between Ukraine and Germany. The capacity is around 70 000. After taking a few exterior pictures I then went to the city centre. Kiev city centre look like any western European city, only the amazing churches/cathedrals and the strange letters (Cyrillic alphabet) making it stand out. It was quite warm (+25 °C and sunshine) but I still decided to walk and not use one an official sightseeing tour. I visited the Sophia Cathedral, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independant Square) among others before going to Stadion Dynamo im Valeriy Lobanovskyi. This stadium is the former home of Dynamo Kiev but nowdays it is Arsenal Kiev and Dynamo´s reserves who play here. Dynamo Kiev will from now on play at NSK Olimpijskyj. To my delight it was possible to walk inside the ground and take pictures of the stands. Outside the stadium there is a monument in memory of the infamous Death match. I have read the book about this event and I can recommend it to others. I then visited a park where I rested and had a drink before walking even further. After a while I was down by the river (Dnipro). As you can see in some of the pictures it is an impressive river dividing Kiev in two halves.

 

Last week I met Daniel and his girlfriend in Warsaw. They were in Kiev too this Sunday and we met up at the Fanfest (in Maidan Nezalezhnosti). Having been to the match in Donetsk the previous night they were a bit tired. The England fans in the fanfest were anything but tired. As I said before there weren´t that many England fans in Kiev but those in the fanfest did their best to make themselves heard. The "10 German bombers" song was sung loud and clear but some locals changed the text to "...Stalin shot them down". After having something to eat and drink I, as well as Daniel and Romina, went down to the stadium and some 1h 40 min before kick-off I was at my seat. It was in the upper tier behind the goal and offered a decent view of the action. As kick-off approached I started to wonder what the attendance would be like. In the end the stadium was pretty full but the far curve (Italian) didn´t look too crowded. To hear English football fans sing "God save the Queen" was as ever a great experience and I have to say the 3000 or so England fans were very vocal during the match. The match itself was dominated by Italy who had the best chances. England had some chances but it was the Italians who deserved to win. No goals in normal or extra-time though. A penalty shoot-out is always interesting for the neutral, I wanted England to win but most of the Ukrainians supported Italy. Yet again England lost after penalties and Italy now have the pleasure of facing Germany in the semi final. The match didn´t finish until 00.20 but I made a quick getaway and was back at my hotel by 01.10. A long and interesting day came to an end. Ukraine is a bit different compared to where I normally travel but I really want to visit this country again for some legaue football. Maybe next summer?

 

metro station

A nice looking metro station

 

sofiakatedralen2     st. michael's golden-domed monastery

Sophia Cathedral                                    St Michael´s golden dome

 

maidan nezalezhnosti

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independant Square)

 

kiev, vy

View of Kiev

 

kiev, vy2

View of Kiev

 

fiskare

Fishing

 

dnipro, pano

Pano, Dnipro river

 

fanfest

View of the Fanfest

 

engelska fans2

English fans

 

engelska fans4

English fans

 

engelska fans3

English fans singing about 10 German bombers

 

engelska flaggor

Flags

 

engelska flaggor2

Swedish corner!

 

fans

Fans mixing

 

riddare

Knights with ladies

 

paint

Painting the English flag

 

nsk olimpijskyj, rear of the west stand2

Rear of the West Stand

 

nsk olimpijskyj, rear of the north stand

Rear of the North Stand

 

entrance, vy

Fans entering the ground

 

fan

A football fan

 

fan2

An Italian fan!

 

east stand

East Stand

 

south stand

South Stand

 

west stand

West Stand

 

north stand

North Stand

 

engelska fans

English fans

 

east stand3

East Stand

 

avspark

Kick-off

 

south stand2

South Stand

 

west stand2

West Stand

 

spelbild

View of play

 

pano, nsk olimpijskyj

Pano

 

pano, nsk olimpijskyj4

Pano