EURO2008 City Scenes: Russia and the Turkish ‘Siege’

19 06 2008

Photo: Russian flags dominate the Tivoli-Neu Stadium on June 18 against Sweden, kindly provided by

I lost yet another bet, however, one I did not regret losing: I was certain that Sweden would beat Russia tonight at the Tivolo-Neu Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria. Not decisively, because the Russian National Team had a strong performance in the previous games. So, in my opinion, the deservedly win tonight, and surprising clearly.

When I left our newspaper office at the Webster University Campus in Kaisermühlen it was about 9.30 pm. I realized by checking on the Internet that Russia led by 0:1, so the favorites to win lost the control over the game and seemed certain to leave the EURO2008 empty-handed. I walked towards the underground station U1 Kaisermühlen, when I notice a couple of cars with Russian flag. Indeed, this district has a substantial Russian community, so I was not surprised, though I haven’t noticed any other yet anywhere else in the city.

As I passed a bus stop, a teenage couple, heavily entangled, the girl also held a flag in their hand, but certainly not waiving it. Then I notice their dog in the dark, a beautiful, young light-brown boxer. And then I regretted not having my camera read: the kids evidently had painted little Russian insignias on his fur. Very cute indeed, calmly standing and watching the street! But, in any case, I should not have disturbed the teenage couple in their personal moments…

As I reached the station and entered the platform, I could hear singing, and noticed the young Sweden supporters – a little disappointed but still high-spirited to win, or score equal. Their English was not fluent, so engaging in a conversation was not possible, but overall they seem to enjoy their stay here in Vienna. with their bottles and can of drinks in their hands, they make their way to the Fanmeile.

Little did I know when I reached home, sat down for a little snack and then turned on my PC, that I would see Russia having scored yet another goal, and little later the confirmation that indeed this was also the end result: Sweden was out, and although history favored this team, Russia, which had not played a major role in football for decades – the USSR became European Champion in 1960 -, won clearly and will meet the Netherlands in the quarter-finale.

Looking ahead towards the end of the week, Vienna yet is preparing for another ‘historic’ event: In 1529 and 1683, the Ottoman Empire expanding westwards, conquering European territories, but each time, Vienna marked the end of their military campaign. In 1683, indeed the Polish army led by King Jan Sobieski, rescued the city, which was difficult to defend on plain land.

However, in 2008, Turkey seem to succeed what has failed 300 and 400 years respectively early – Poland is out of the games and on the way home: 200,000 fans  – the record so far at the game Austria vs. Germany on Monday, June 16 – are at least expected for that occasion on Friday, June 20. Around 4,000 policemen, as Der Standard reported today, are ready and “prepared for a long night.” The Fanmeile is expected to be full with Croatian and Turkish fans.

the meeting of the two contrasting teams indicates equal chances, but maybe slight advantage for Croatia. Their strong and enduring battle against Germany brought their victory. The Turkish team, on the other hand, is able to explore the overconfidence of their opponents towards the end, where no one expected a turn-around. The overall domination of the pitch for most of the game is worthless against this Turkish team, where control might be the key to counter.

The streets will be filled with red-dominated clothing and flags that day. Be ready for a passionate game!




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