I do like watching sports, but going to Ukraine just to see the festivities is by far the craziest thing I've ever done. I didn't even have a ticket to the game for I planned to watch it with other people on the road, locally known here as nonton bareng.
When I arrived in Kiev, the first thing I asked was whether there was a place to watch the game with other people. Mas Haris, a relative of my friend Amr, said, "Why, of course. There is the Fanzone on Khreschatyk Street."
So I did a sport tour with Mbak Ida, from the Wisma gang:). First stop is the Olimpiyskiy National Sport Complex. It was closed, so I only took pictures from the outside.
The west side of the stadium
Reading the code of conduct for fans
The north side of the stadium
Then we walked to Dynamo Stadium. If you don't know Dynamo Kiev, well just Google it. Ukrainian striker Andriy Schevchenko started his football career in this club. But it was also closed. Argh.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium
Mr. Lobanovskyi himself :P
So we walked into the Fanzone. I went to the Fanzone twice, on June 8 to watch the opening match between Poland and Greece and on June 11 to see how it's like during the Ukraine vs Sweden match (It was wild!). Here are the photos :).
Crowds focused their gaze to the big screen
Ukrainian fan team. Oh boy, I really like the costume :)
When it comes to costume, Ukrainians not only stick to the jersey but have many options to show their love for the national team. People wear traditional garbs or simply wear any blue or yellow outfit. I saw a woman wearing a lovely national flag color combination of blue halter top and long yellow maxi skirt.
If they don't have the blue and yellow outfit, they just painted their face with the flag color. The most flexible solution comes from businessmen who walk into the Fanzone in their working suit and leather briefcase but tying the national flag around their neck as if it is some kind of a cape.
As the opening ceremony rolled and the match between Poland and Greece started, people focused their gaze to the big screens. Many people sat down on the road. Seeing a woman was still standing in the front row, a man tapped her shoulder and politely asked her to sit down. When she pointed to her white trouser (a sign that she did not want to soil it), the man took off his jacket and offered it for her sitting mat. Aww, so sweet.
The fans watched the match side by side and cheered their teams peacefully. When the first goal took place, the crowd jumped into a roaring joy, regardless the team they sided in. It was a celebration of fair play, indeed.
The love for football is something Ukrainians have had for decades. During the German occupation of Kiev in 1942, the Ukrainian team FC Start humiliated the German team Flakelf with a 5-3 victory despite the Nazi advice to let the Aryans win or serious consequences would take place. The Ukrainian footballers were later executed at the Babi Yar ravine. The deadly match inspired Hollywood to make a movie titled Victory, starred by, among others, actor Sylvester Stallone.