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Ukraine

Ukraine Hosts First Games In Euro 2012

What Foreign Fans Think About Ukraine i
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June 09, 2012
In Lviv, one of the host cities for the Euro 2012 soccer championship, foreign fans discuss their impressions of the city, Ukraine in general, and what they expect from the tournament.

WATCH: What Foreign Fans Think About Ukraine

By RFE/RL
Netherlands took on Denmark on June 9 in Kharkiv on day two of Euro 2012 as the tournament moved to co-host Ukraine.
 
Germany and Portugal face off in the western city of Lviv later on June 9.
 
Netherland's game comes amid renewed concerns about possible racist behavior by fans at the tournament, after Dutch black players were subjected to racist abuse during a training session on June 6 in the Polish city of Wroclaw.
 
The Dutch have said that if there was a repeat during a Euro match, they would ask the referee to stop the game.
 
'Having A Good Time'

Besides supporters of the national teams, neutral football fans from all over Europe and beyond have come to watch the games. In Lviv, 30-year-old Lebanese tourist Wissam Haddad said everyone is having a great time.

"No I'm not worried [about racism]. So far nothing happened. I don't see any problem with this. You see everyone is having a good time," Haddad said.

"Everyone is enjoying their time and this is all about football, about respect, and you know it unites all the people regardless of their ethnicity, their religion. It all revolves around the ball and the game and respect and fair play and until now I haven't seen anything wrong."

In the competition, Portuguese coach Paulo Bento urged his squad to bring cheer to its home country, as Portugal is struggling economically with a recession which has seen joblessness at times top 15 percent.
 
As Ukraine prepared to host the June 9 matches, Kyiv's central square was festooned with balloons in the national blue-and-yellow colors.
 
The Euro 2012 tournament, in which Poland and Ukraine are alternating as hosts, is the biggest event of its kind in Eastern Europe since the collapse of communism.
 
Sixteen countries are participating in the championship, which is to end with the final being played in Kyiv on July 1.
 
On the opening day of the competition on June 8, co-hosts Poland drew 1-1 with Greece in Warsaw while Russia thrashed the Czech Republic 4-1 in Wroclaw.
 
Officials said four stewards needed hospital treatment after being attacked by Russian fans at the stadium after the match.
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