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Stade de France

Ground: Stade de France

Visits: 1

Date: 13th June 2016

Match: Ireland - Sweden  1-1  (Euro 2016)

Attendance: 73 419

 

In 2012 I couldn´t attend any of the Sweden games in the group stage of the European championships. I went to the quarter-final in Kiev but Sweden were knocked-out by then. When Sweden beat Denmark in the play-offs and qualified for Euro 2016 I decided I would go to at least one game. With Stade de France, a ground not used for club football, being one of the venues I was hoping Sweden would play one of the games at France´s national stadium. When the draw was made Sweden ended up with Ireland (Stade de France), Italy (Toulouse) and Belgium (Nice). This was a draw I was pleased with and I applied for a ticket for the Ireland and Belgium games. When applying you had to enter your credit card details and if you were lucky in the draw the money would automatically be deducted. A Monday afternoon in February I was called by my bank wanting me to confirm two transactions. The two transactions had taken part the same minute and the bank thought this looked suspicious. One of the transactions was from UEFA but when I the next day received a mail from UEFA it said my application was unsuccessful. The bank held the transaction until I had confirmed but that meant UEFA cancelled the application. To say I was disappointing is an understatement and I was preparing myself for a summer without (live) Euro 2016 action. Eight weeks later, as I was at Copenhagen airport on my way to England for the annual Easter trip, I suddenly received a mail saying there was a second chance for those who had missed out applying via the national association portal at UEFA.com. It was first come, first served and I quickly bought two tickets. Having already booked flights and accommodation I now only had to wait for the tournament to start. The game against Ireland was played on Monday evening. From Friday night SAS-pilots in Sweden were on strike but since I was flying, with SAS, from Copenhagen I was not affected by the strike. I had heard several stories about fans, especially from northern Sweden from where you first have to fly to Stockholm, being stranded and missing out on the football. My flight arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris 21.30 and 90 minutes later I was at my hotel close to Gare Nord.

 

Some people are luckier than others. My Scottish friend Jonathan managed to get tickets for six games in the tournament and having been to the Germany v Ukraine game the previous night he (and his dad) arrived at Gare Nord shortly after noon. They had tickets for the Ireland v Sweden game as well and had booked a hotel close to Stade de France. I joined them to their hotel and then had something to eat and drink at a nearby restaurant. Kick-off at Stade de France was at 6pm and 2,5 hours before kick-off I was standing outside France´s national stadium. Stade de France was opened in 1998 and has a capacity of around 80 000. To enter the ground I had to pass two ticket controls and I was searched twice. No ID checks though and in general much less hassle than expected. My seat was in row 72 of the southeast corner and from that seat I had a great view of the pitch. As kick-off approached the ground (of course) filled up and my estimation is around 25 000 Swedish fans were inside Stade de France for this game. Ireland had the same number of fans and few games in the group stage will have as many travelling supporters. I have always said the greatest moment following Sweden is to hear and sing our national anthem at a ground far from home. Tonight was no exception!

 

Before the tournament started I was quite pessimistic of our chances and (unfortunately) it seems I was correct. Ireland totally dominated the first half but despite a number of really good chances it was still 0-0 at half-time. In the 47th minute Ireland eventually scored and the green half of Stade de France exploded. After the goal Sweden (finally) started to threaten the Irish goal but still no shots on goal. Sweden actually manged to equalize but it was an Irish player who headed the ball into his own net, 1-1 which was to be the final score. Ireland deserved the three points and Sweden should be very pleased with a point from this game. I stayed behind for a few minutes but still had no problems getting back to Gare Nord. Tomorrow I fly back home but I will be back in France next Tuesday for the Belgium game. Coming weekend I have a trip to the Faroe Islands looking forward to, lots of travelling for me these days!

 

fans mixing

Fans mixing outside Gare Nord

 

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Fans mixing outside the ground

 

fans, outside

Fans being searched

 

irish fans

Irish fans outside the ground

 

stade de france, nw corner

Stade de France (rear of the northwest corner)

 

stade de france, sw corner

Stade de France (after the game, southwest corner)

 

flags

Flags

 

south stand

South Stand

 

west stand

West Stand

 

north stand

North Stand

 

east stand

East Stand

fans mixing3

Fans entering the ground

 

king legend

King & Legend

 

swedish shirt

Swedish shirt

 

banner

Big banner

 

avspark

Kick-off

 

south stand2

South Stand

 

swedish fans1

Swedish fans

 

spelbild

View of play

 

west stand2

West Stand

 

spelbild2

Free-kick, Sweden

 

north stand2

North Stand

 

irish fans2

Irish fans

 

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Irish fans

 

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Irish fans

 

east stand2

East Stand

 

swedish fans

Swedish fans

 

after the game

After the game

 

pano, stade de france4

Pano

 

pano, stade de france6

Pano

 

pano, stade de france7

Pano (pre-match ceremony)

 

pano, stade de france8

Pano