There was no sign of nerves from one group of Polish fans ahead of Friday’s Euro2012 curtain-raiser in Warsaw.
They chanted boisterously, putting their arms around a Greek supporter – who smiled despite appearing slightly wary.
The tournament’s co-hosts have been preparing for thousands of visitors. Come late afternoon the new National Stadium in Warsaw will be the focus of attention when Poland take on Greece.
Both Polish and Greek supporters are hoping their teams can make it past the group stage.
“Yes of course, Poland is a very good team but so are we – or so I hope – and most of all I expect it to be a good game. It is going to be fun,” said Nikos, who had travelled from Athens.
Preparations have not been entirely smooth in the western city of Wroclaw, the venue for Friday’s later match, also in Group A.
But at least it makes an easy journey for Czech fans: the border between the two countries is 50 kilometres away. One group had just arrived by car from Prague on Friday morning.
“We don’t believe that the Czech team will play so long in this cup, but we hope that it will (do so) very long,” said 35-year-old Jiri Hanusch.
Supporters of the Czechs’ opponents have also been arriving, from further afield. Russians have travelled not just from Moscow but in some cases from much further east.
Tensions between the two countries have eased since the days of the Cold War.
Russian fans are looking for revenge though. Sixteen years ago, the Czechs knocked them out of Euro ’96.
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