HERE LIES THE place where Roy Hodgon will define his reputation as a manager.
The former West Brom boss will pit his wits against Laurent Blanc, Oleh Blokhin and Erik Hamrén, but first, he’ll have to navigate the team bus to the ground.
Here’s some help, Roy boy.
Olympic Stadium (Olimpiyskiy), Kiev
Vital statistics: Originally erected in 1923 as the Red Stadium of Trotsky, it has since become the less colourful ‘Republican’ stadium. Though it did also bear the name of Nikolai Kruschev in the 50s and 60s before becoming olympified in the 1990s. It will have a capacity of 70,000 for Euro 2012 and is the current home of Dynamo Kiev.
Як туди дістатися / How do I get there? The fanzone (found on Academician Hlushkov Street) is located right beside a metro link to the stadium, but walking from anywhere in the heart of the city to the stadium on the south side shouldn’t take much longer than half an hour.
What games are here? As the second largest stadium in eastern Europe (after the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow) this is where the final will be held. Sweden will play all three of their group fixtures here, but with the Ukraine, England and France rocking up in great numbers, they are not likely to enjoy much in the way of home advantage.
Once the preliminaries are over, The ground will host a a quarter final with the winners of group D meeting Ireland (unless we win the group C, of course) and all 16 teams will be vying to return here on July 1 for the final.
But before the excitment, here’s a Mexican wave. Try this at home, not in the stadium.
YouTube credit: buha903
Donbass Arena, Donetsk
Vital statistics: The home of Shakhtar Donetsk will have a capacity of 50,000 during the Euros. The stadium opened for business in 2009 and so is not a purpose-built venue for this tournament, but rather a show of wealth that has surrounded Shakhtar thanks to its coal mines.
Як туди дістатися / How do I get there? This is easy, we would be very surprised if you landed in Donetsk and missed the great big shiny stadium sitting in the heart of the city. The fan zone is across tow, but only a couple of kilometers, so grab your John Delaney branded bag full of cans and go walkabout.
What games are here? All English eyes will be on this ground as Roy Hodgson takes the Three Lions to meet France first up in the group and then the hosts, Ukraine. Donbass will then host a quarter final between the winners of Group C (Ireland?) and the runners-up from this group. It will then host a semi-final from the other half of the draw.