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Poland seeks Swedish help before Euro 2012

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Poland seeks Swedish help before Euro 2012
09:05 CET+01:00
The Polish government has asked for assistance from the Swedish police concerning the security situation when Swedish supporters travel to the Euro 2012 football championships.

The request from Poland, which is co-hosting the tournament with Ukraine, concerns, among other things, cooperation at airports and information about their travel itineraries to the tournament.

Meanwhile as the clock ticks down to the Euro 2012 draw in Ukraine, Polish organisers say they are ready for anything as they wait to learn which qualified nations will play where.

"We're really coming down to the very practical moment," said Marcin Herra, boss of PL.2012, the body supervising 300 interlinked projects for the European Championships, from stadiums to hotels and road and rail networks to airports.

Friday's draw in the Ukrainian capital Kiev will end months of speculation over who among the 16 qualified teams will play in which of eight cities.

The hosts will be watching like hawks - and not only to see who their on-pitch adversaries are, because match location is a top issue at the quadrennial showcase.

Fan-magnets England, Ireland, Sweden, Germany and Holland all qualified. A team's support level impacts accommodation, transport and security.

Besides Warsaw, Poland's venues are Gdansk on the Baltic, Poznan in the west, and Wroclaw in the southwest.

Poland know they kick off Euro 2012 in the capital on June 8th, play their second match there on June 12th, and wrap up Group A on June 16th in Wroclaw.

Ukraine will play on home turf in Group D.

The other given is that top seeds Holland and reigning champions Spain will play either in Group C in Gdansk or Group B in Ukraine.

European football's governing body UEFA caught pundits out in 2007 by picking Poland and Ukraine over hosting favourites Italy and joint bidders Hungary and Croatia.

It marks the first edition behind the former Iron Curtain.

The communist era ended two decades ago, but Poland and to a greater extent

Ukraine faced challenges beyond those of Western hosts and have been dogged by

doubters.

"Criticism is part of the game," said UEFA's Euro watchdog Martin Kallen.

He noted that Euro 2008 hosts Austria and Switzerland, Euro 2004's Portugal, and Germany and South Africa, which staged the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, faced pressure too.

The Polish state of preparation is good, he said.

"It's very close to Portugal in terms of infrastructure and a little bit further behind Switzerland and Austria. But it's not critical."

"The next six months is a full-on operation," he added. "But I think I'm quite calm," adding that he he relished the chance to show that "impossible is possible".

Euro 2012 will welcome some one million fans to Poland over the course of the three-week tournament.

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