Ten years on from UEFA Euro 2012

National Sports Complex Olimpiyskiy, the largest football stadium in Ukraine

Ten years on from successfully co-hosting UEFA Euro 2012 with Poland, Ukraine has fell on troubled times with the ongoing conflict with Russia. The tournament was the third European Championship to be co-hosted after Belgium/Netherlands in 2000 and Austria/Switzerland in 2008, with eight venues used in eight different cities – four in Poland and four in Ukraine.

Five new stadiums were built, with each of the four group’s matches played in two stadiums. The tournament was the last to be played with 16 teams before being expanded to 24 teams for UEFA Euro 2016 in France.

Group A – Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic
Group B – Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal
Group C – Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Croatia
Group D – Ukraine, Sweden, France, England

Neither host made it through the group stages, whilst the Netherlands also exited after failing to win a match. In the quarter-finals, England lost to Italy on penalties – a feat that would be repeated eight years later at the Final of UEFA Euro 2020. In the semi-finals Spain defeated Portugal on penalties, whilst Italy beat Germany 2-1.

Spain won 4-0 against Italy in the Final to become the first team to win two consecutive European Championships, after winning UEFA Euro 2008.


Poland

Stadion Narodowy (Warsaw)

Stadion Narodowy was officially opened on the 29th January 2012 with a rock concert ahead of Poland co-hosting UEFA Euro 2012 and was built on the site of the former Stadion Dziesięciolecia.

The 58,580 capacity stadium would go on to host three group matches (including the opening match featuring Poland), a quarter-final which Portugal beat Czech Republic 1-0 and semi-final. In the semi-final, Italy defeated Germany 2-1 as they would go on to lose the Final in Kiev to Spain.

Since the Euros, the stadium has continued to be used as the primary home of the Poland national football team and hosted the 2015 UEFA Europa League Final, with Sevilla of Spain defeating Dnipro of Ukraine 3-2.

Stadion Wroclaw (Wroclaw)

Stadion Wroclaw opened on the 10th September 2011 with a boxing match between Tomasz Adamek and Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title, with Klitschko winning by TKO in the 10th round in front of a crowd of 42,000.

Three group matches of UEFA Euro 2012 were held in Wroclaw, all involving the Czech Republic – Russia winning 4-1, the Czech’s then beating Greece 2-1 and then taking a 1-0 victory over the co-hosts Poland.

Poland have since played a number of internationals in the stadium and the stadium continues to be used as the home of Śląsk Wrocław.

Stadion Gdańsk (Gdańsk)

The Stadion Gdańsk opened in mid-2011 with a capacity of 41,620 ahead of Poland jointly hosting UEFA Euro 2012, going on to host all three of Spain’s group matches, as well as a Quarter-final in which Germany beat Greece.

Since it opened, the stadium has been the home of local side, Lechia Gdańsk and continues to host international football as Poland regular play matches at the Stadion Energa Gdańsk. The stadium was due to host the 2020 UEFA Europa League Final but this was pushed back held to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The match saw Spanish club Villarreal of Spain defeated Manchester United 11-10 on penalties after initially playing out a 1-1 draw.

Stadion Miejski (Poznan)

Stadion Poznań (also known as Stadion Miejski) has been the home stadium of Lech Poznań since it first opened in 1980. Reconstruction of the stadium began in 2003, with plans upgraded to ensure Stadion Poznań was eligible to host matches at UEFA Euro 2012. The works were completed in 2010 with capacity set at 43,269.

Three group matches of UEFA Euro 2012 were held at Stadion Poznań – Croatia defeating the Republic of Ireland 3-1, Croatia then drawing 1-1 with Italy and the Italians then beating the Republic of Ireland 2-0.


Ukraine

Olympic Stadium (Kyiv)

The National Sports Complex Olimpiyskiy (also known as the Olympic Stadium) is the national stadium of Ukraine, as well as Dynamo Kiev – the most successful club in Ukraine. Since 2020, Shakhtar Donetsk have also played their home matches at the stadium due to the ongoing war in the Donbas region.

The stadium originally opened in August 1923 but has undergone significant renovations several times, most recently in 2011 as the Olimpiyskiy was selected to host the Final of UEFA Euro 2012, with capacity reduced to 70,050.

Three group matches involving Sweden were played in the stadium, as well as the quarter-final in which Italy defeated England on penalties and then the Final itself with Spain crushing the Italians 4-0.

The stadium hosted the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final in which Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 following two goals from Gareth Bale.

Donbass Arena (Donetsk)

The Donbass Arena opened in 2009 to replace Shakhtar Donetsk’s former home, Shakhtar Stadium and has a capacity of 52,187.

The stadium would host three group matches (featuring England, France and Ukraine), a quarter-final (with Spain beating France 2-0) and the semi-final in which Spain defeated Portugal 4-2 on penalties.

Shakhtar Donetsk moved away from the Donbass Arena in July 2014 due to the ongoing war in the region. The stadium remains unused and has since suffered infrastructure damage due to the conflict.

Metalist Stadium (Kharkiv)

Metalist Stadium opened in 1926 and has undergone a number of renovations across the years, the most recent renovation took place in 2009 ahead of Ukraine co-hosting UEFA Euro 2012 which saw capacity raised to 41,307.

Three group matches involving the Netherlands were played there, with the Dutch losing all three – 1-0 to Denmark, 2-1 to Germany and 2-1 to Portugal.

Metalist Kharkiv have maintained a constant presence in the stadium until its demise in 2016. A phoenix club, FC Metalist 1925 Kharkiv moved into the stadium and is now a co-tenant with Metalist Kharkiv following their revival in 2021. Shakhtar Donetsk played in the stadium from 2017 to 2020 due to the ongoing war in the Donbas region that forced them away from Donbass Arena.

Arena Lviv (Lviv)

Arena Lviv opened in 2011 with a capacity of 34,915. The stadium officially opened on the 29th October 2011 with a theatrical show, with the first football match a couple of weeks later between Ukraine and Austria with the hosts winning the friendly 2-1.

Three group matches were played there – Germany defeating Portugal 1-0 and then two of Denmark’s matches – with the Danes losing 3-2 to Portugal and 2-1 to Germany.

Arena Lviv has struggled to find a permanent tenant during its existence – FC Karpaty Lviv originally played their during the 2011-2012 season but returned to Stadion Ukrayina due to the lease price. Shakhtar Donetsk played their home matches in Lviv from 2014 to 2016 due to the ongoing war in the Donbas region that forced them away from Donbass Arena. FC Lviv became tenants in 2018 with FC Rukh Lviv following suit in 2020.


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