By Kacper Pempel
Three weeks of the Euro 2012 adventure are already behind us. Three weeks of hard work, meeting thousands of people, driving thousands of miles and shooting thousands of pictures.
As a photographer based in Poland, I was assigned to cover not only matches but also news stories in Polish cities like Wroclaw, Poznan and Gdansk. So I had a chance to meet people from many different parts of Europe who made the journey here for the soccer fiesta. They were genuine football lovers and real soccer fans.
The Irish fans made the most remarkable impression. The party they threw for all three of their games was incredible and they showed they know how to have fun even when their team is losing. They transformed the Old Market in Poznan into a “green island”, singing and cheering their national team before and after matches and through the night. After a couple of hours sleep they would be back again to kick off the next day’s festivities.
Every Poznan citizen I spoke to – taxi drivers, waiters – said they had been surprised how nice the Irish were and they wouldn’t forget the example they set of how you should behave as a soccer fan on the road.
But it wasn’t only the Irish. I also spent a good deal of time with other nationalities from Groups A and C. I remember Croatian fans dancing with a huge flag and with a red and white board covering half of Poznan Old Market. They also came with a small band of musicians to accompany their national songs.