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Russia: Soccer Team Qualifies for Euro 2012 – “On To Ukraine and Poland!!!”

Russia officially qualified for Euro 2012 when they finished at the top of their group with a 6-0 win over Andorra on October 11, 2011. The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship is referred to by some as ‘Polkraine 2012′ since it will be held in both Poland and Ukraine.

Citizen media has captured the popular perception of the qualifying round as well as efforts made toward ensuring the proper facilitation of the tournament. Maxxrus1977 posted a Promo for Euro 2012 on a Kiev Dinamo blog, which gets across the intensity and exhilaration the European continent experiences through international soccer tournaments (click here to view).

UEFA Euro 2012 mascots - Slavek and Slavko. Photo by Roger Gorączniak (CC BY 3.0)

UEFA Euro 2012 mascots – Slavek and Slavko. Photo by Roger Gorączniak (CC BY 3.0)

World Cup Blog described the rules of the tournament as well as the schedules of the matches in Group B, Russia's group, in a post from July 3, 2010:

Group B for Euro 2012 qualifying will be contested between the following teams: Russia, Slovakia, Ireland, Macedonia, Armenia, and Andorra, with the group winner qualifying automatically and the second place finisher entering the playoff round unless they are the highest ranked second placed finisher, which also qualifies automatically.

After this year's September 6 match, when Russia tied Ireland 0-0,World Cup Blog provided this analysis:

Anyway, Russia had a frustrating time in Moscow as they were held to a 0-0 draw by the Republic of Ireland. Russia dominated the game but simply could not find the break through. Shay Given was the strong point while Ireland had no attacks and were almost completely on the back foot. The result keeps Russia in first place ahead of Ireland, Armenia, and Slovakia.

Russian fans commented on the analysis given on the Ireland match on the Russian-language news portal, Football Russia:

seens72: Жаль что не забили… Столько ОПАСНЫХ ситуаций и НЕТ голов! Но игра мне понравилась)

A pity they didn't score… So many DANGEROUS situations and NO goals! But I liked the game)

Ruslan: Удачи России в следующих матчах !!! Русские выйдут с первого места !!! Россия вперед на Украину и Польшу !!! )

Good luck to Russia in the future games!!! Russia will qualify from the first place!!! Russia, on to Ukraine and Poland!!!

After the October 7 match between Russia and Slovakia, World Cup Blog had this to say:

All Russian fans now know that their team almost have one foot in the finals. After defeating Slovakia 1-0 through Alan Dzagoev’s long range goal, Russia are now in first place with 20 points and a draw at home to Andorra will confirm a ticket to Poland and Ukraine. In what was a nervous buildup, Russia started very strongly and dominated most of the match. Slovakia found it difficult to find a footing but did have a few sporadic attacks forcing critical saves from Malafeev.

And, as expected, comments made on Football Russia's analysis of this match were more enthusiastic as the article focused on the 71st minute when Russia was finally able to capitalize on a scoring opportunity.

Rusik: Че несете “че на евро нам делать ” ? Выигрывать ! Россия чемпион )))

What do you mean, “we've got nothing to do with Euro”? We've got to win! Russia is the champion )))

Edik: Самый сок будет когда в евро на финал попадем и выграем хотя бы со счетом 1:0 это будет что то))))))

The best thing will be when we get to the finals and win with at least 1:0 – that would be awesome )))))) [...]

Finally, going in to the match against Andorra, World Cup Blog wrote:

Four years ago, Russia faced Andorra in their final Euro 2008 qualifier under very nervous circumstances. Russia had to win and hope Croatia defeat England at Wembley the same day. Well thats what happened. Russia barely defeated Andorra 1-0 while a dramatic game saw Croatia defeat England 3-2. This time Russia sit at the top of Group B needing only a draw to qualify. Only Ireland can surpass Russia if Andorra pull off a major upset on Tuesday. Aside from that, Russia’s task is very direct and clear cut.

Russia not only went on to defeat Andorra, they dominated the match as they kept possession of the ball for a tournament high 72.8% of the match, as OptaIvan reported on Twitter:

72.8% – Сборная России показала наивысший процент владения мячом в квалификации Евро-2012 в первом матче против Андорры. Превосходство.

72.8% – Russia's team has shown the highest percentage of possession of the ball in the Euro 2012 qualifier's first game against Andorra. Superiority.

OptaIvan also cited other interesting statistics regarding Russia's performance in the Euro 2012 Qualifying round.

@malafeev16 is the Twitter account belonging to a Russian goalkeeper out of St. Petersburg, Vyacheslav Malafeev:

С момента появления сборной России (лето'92) ей удалось выйти в финальную часть 6 из 10 крупных турниров (2 ЧМ, 4 ЧЕ). Достижение.

Since the emergence of the Russian national team (summer '92) it has managed to reach the finals of six out of ten big championships [2 World championships, 4 European championships]. An achievement.

***

With regard to the facilitation of the tournament, some Ukrainians and Poles have expressed uncertainty as to whether the benefits outweigh the costs of construction and the disturbance in everyday life. Many stadiums must be rebuilt, there are issues of travel legalities between countries, and all if it must be paid for. The Twitter account “Euro-2012 in Ukraine” announces, among other things, the progress that the construction efforts are making:

Варшавський стадіон відкриють через три місяці після здачі в експлуатацію bit.ly/oYmNjR

The opening of the Warsaw stadium will take place three months after its completion bit.ly/oYmNjR

Damon on Kiev Dinamo Blog in a post entitled “Do we really need the Euro?” expressed a very honest wonderment as to whether or not Ukraine would benefit in the long term from taking on the responsibility of hosting such an event. At the very least it seems to be a valid question:

Когда только объявили, что Евро-2012 пройдет у нас, я был в восхищении! Наверное, как и все. Прошло время. И я как-то начал задумываться, а что, собственно, это Евро даст народу Украины, – нам с Вами? Вот подумайте, – ну что, кроме зрелища? А теперь тоже подумайте, кто на этом заработает прежде всего. Я не то, что против евро, но как-то, с учетем нашего убожества, это кажется пиром во время чумы. Ну, если я не прав, то разубедите.

When they had just announced that we would host Euro 2012, I was excited! Just like everyone else, perhaps. Time has passed. And now I'm kind of thinking, what exactly will this Euro give to the people of Ukraine – to all of us? Think about it: except for entertainment, what else? And also think of who is going to profit the most from all this? I'm not exactly against Euro 2012, but considering the squalor around us, it seems like a feast in time of plague. Well, if I'm wrong, go ahead and dissuade me.

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