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Fan Photos From Euro 2012

When the Euro 2012 soccer championship began three weeks ago, the world expected the worst from co-host Ukraine. Western media reports painted the country as a hub of racist violence, repression, and crumbling infrastructure. But visitors gave the country warm reviews. Here is a selection of photographs sent to RFE/RL by visiting football fans.

Irina Toldina, a 31-year-old lawyer from Kharkiv, her husband, Oleg (right), and son Yaroslav, 5, welcome visiting Dutch fan John, who came to Kharkiv for the Netherlands vs. Denmark match on June 9.
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Irina Toldina, a 31-year-old lawyer from Kharkiv, her husband, Oleg (right), and son Yaroslav, 5, welcome visiting Dutch fan John, who came to Kharkiv for the Netherlands vs. Denmark match on June 9.

Toldina made borscht for visiting Dutchman Jeroen, who also came for the Netherlands vs. Denmark match. "It was like one week of fireworks. I got such great positive emotions," Toldina said. "All my guests were wonderful."
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Toldina made borscht for visiting Dutchman Jeroen, who also came for the Netherlands vs. Denmark match. "It was like one week of fireworks. I got such great positive emotions," Toldina said. "All my guests were wonderful."

Toldina and Oleg pose with visiting German fans Thomas from Munich (left) and Volker from Berlin (second from left) who came for the Netherlands vs. Germany match on June 13. "It was a pity that they had to go back home," Toldina said.
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Toldina and Oleg pose with visiting German fans Thomas from Munich (left) and Volker from Berlin (second from left) who came for the Netherlands vs. Germany match on June 13. "It was a pity that they had to go back home," Toldina said.

Polish fans Jacek (left) and Piotrek amid a sea of Swedish supporters during the Euro 2012 soccer championships in Kyiv on June 15.
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Polish fans Jacek (left) and Piotrek amid a sea of Swedish supporters during the Euro 2012 soccer championships in Kyiv on June 15.

"In Ukraine, it was really something special," says Marcin Pietrzyk, who drove from Poland to Kyiv to see England's 3-2 victory over Sweden.
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"In Ukraine, it was really something special," says Marcin Pietrzyk, who drove from Poland to Kyiv to see England's 3-2 victory over Sweden.

Piotrek (left), Jacek, and an unidentified friend at Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv.
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Piotrek (left), Jacek, and an unidentified friend at Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv.

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Jacek strikes a pose in front of the 62-meter-tall Rodina Mat (Mother Motherland) statue in Kyiv.
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Jacek strikes a pose in front of the 62-meter-tall Rodina Mat (Mother Motherland) statue in Kyiv.

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Aside from a few speeding tickets, the friends said they didn't have any problems during their visit.
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Aside from a few speeding tickets, the friends said they didn't have any problems during their visit.

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