Our time in the spotlight is over. I am a little sad this day came so quickly. For the two years I have been in Donetsk, Euro 2012 has been in the front of my heart and mind.
I read many of the stories written about the unpreparedness of the country, and more recently, about the threat of racism. As far as I know there were no real problems with racism anywhere in Ukraine. I guess a few reporters from BBC and other places allowed their judgment to be clouded by a few wanna be hoodlums, which is unfortunate.
The only real negative I saw for Donetsk and Ukraine came from the hotels that decided they wanted to make a lifetime income on the backs of guests coming from Europe and around the world.
Last night I attended the semi-final match between Spain and Portugal I left my apartment early to catch some of the sights and sounds of those in town to see the match. As I walked to the stadium, lots of fans and traffic crowded the main street through town. Here are just a few things I saw on my walk:
First photo: Spanish fans walking down Artyoma St, Shakhtar Car makes appearance; new fountain in front of business center.
I spent some time around the stadium doing some people watching while I waited on Sergey to show up. Lots of energy in the grocery and on the street near Donbass Arena.
Sign in the local grocery store: no liquor sales 4 hours before the match; Spanish group gathers on the street; wayward Germans, only 1,500 km from their match with Italy; group from Peru.
Arriving in the stadium, I discovered we were sitting near the Portugal fans. Great seats and great atmosphere…
Portugal fans before the game; two Portuguese officers during their national anthem; Alexiy from Moscow. The police officers have been in Ukraine for a month since Portugal played its group games in Kharkov and Lvov. I asked them what their impressions of Ukraine were and they were very impressed. Then I asked which city did they like best, their response was a definitive Donetsk. Then I told them that I lived in Donetsk and thanked them for their views. They were really nice officers and I enjoyed speaking to them on several occasions since they were stationed near where I was sitting.
Well, the match was great. It was not nearly as boring as the France/ England match. Spain definitely is more a technique type team, very patient to look for flaws or weaknesses, whereas, Portugal seemed more physical and attacking. These are just my opinions.
Thrill of victory, agony of defeat… the final score.. one final view from Donbass Arena. Again, thanks Donetsk for the memories. It was a great month to be in Ukraine.