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Nice

Ground: Stade de Nice (Allianz Riviera)

Visits: 1

Date: 22nd June 2016

Match: Sweden - Belgium  0-1  (Euro 2016)

Attendance: 34 011

 

I arrived back home from the Faroe Islands on Monday afternoon but the following day I was on the move again. Sweden´s last game in the group stage was against Belgium in Nice and getting only one point from the opening two games this was a game Sweden had to win. In February 2013 I visited Nice for the first time in my life. The local football team, OGC Nice, played at Stade du Ray back then but are now playing at Stade de Nice (Allianz Riviera). Last time I visited it was quite cold and it rained a lot. As I arrived on Tuesday evening this time around it was 22 °C and lovely weather. The airport shuttle buses were on strike but I managed to find a local bus (23) bringing me to the city centre. My hotel was was only a 5-minute walk from the train station and at 21.15 I was in my room. As I woke up on Wednesday morning the weather was even better than yesterday, 25 °C and a clear sky. After a long breakfast I rested in my room before going to a café by the sea front. Fellow Footballgroundguide members Dan and Mitchy are in France for the Euros as well (although they didn´t have a ticket for today´s game) and waited for me at the café. We then went on to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The restaurant in the city centre were packed with Swedish and Belgian fans who mixed and exchanged songs and chants in the Nice weather. I have to say it makes me happy to see so many fans enjoying themselves and this is what major tournaments are all about. After lunch I walked along the beach before returning to my room for a short rest.

 

Allianz Riviera, or Stade de Nice which is the official name during Euro 2016, was opened in September 2013 and has a capacity of around 35 000. The ground is situated far from the city centre but the organisers provided shuttle buses from the city centre and the train station. Unfortunately the buses dropped us off around 2 km from the ground and in the heat it seemed like an eternal walk to reach the ground. The ground itself is actually quite good. My seat was in the middle tier of the north stand (behind the goal) and from there I had a great view of the action. Once again the yellow wall gave their team a massive support and if you ask me the atmosphere at this game was better than the Ireland game at Stade de France. Sweden need to win to go through to the knock-out stage and in the 3rd minute Marcus Berg had a really good chance but Curtois saved. Some decent chanced in the first half but still 0-0 at half-time. As Sweden had to go forward Belgium could counter-attack but thankfully the Swedish goalkeeper (Andreas Isaksson) had a good game and made some crucial saves. Belgium saved off the line and Sweden had a goal ruled out before Belgium managed to score in the 84th minute. I think everyone with a yellow shirt now realized the tournament was over for Sweden and as the final whistle was blown there was huge disappointment around me. This was to be the last game for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a Sweden shirt. Having scored a record number of goals (62) for my country he will always be remembered as our greatest ever player.

 

Having done three trips abroad in 10 days I was quite pleased as I returned back home on Thursday afternoon. Despite the disappointing results for Sweden it has still been some great trips though. I was of course very tired after all my travelling and will now take a short rest from football.

 

fans mixing3

Fans mixing in the city centre

 

fans mixing

Fans mixing in the city centre

 

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Fans mixing

 

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Fans mixing

 

beach

Nice weather!

 

beach, fans

Fans next to the beach

 

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Fans on the beach

 

belgian fans

Belgian fans

 

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Belgian fans

 

bus trip

Bus shuttle

 

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Going to football

 

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Closing in

 

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Stade de Nice

 

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Stade de Nice

 

fans eager to enter

Fans eager to enter the ground

 

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Fans eager to enter

 

fans entering

Fans entering

 

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Stade de Nice, rear of the North Stand

 

east stand

East Stand

 

south stand

South Stand

 

west stand

West Stand

 

swedish fans

Swedish fans waiting for kick-off

 

avspark

Kick-off

 

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East Stand

 

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Swedish fans

 

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Belgian fans

 

belgian fans4

Belgian fans

 

south stand2

South Stand

 

view of play

Come on, Sweden

 

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West Stand

 

free-kick, sweden

Free-kick, Sweden

 

stade de nice, floodlights

Stade de Nice under floodlights

 

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Pano

 

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Pano

 

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Pano