Thursday, December 9, 2021

More Austrian twilight zone than fan zone

SoccerNews in European Championships 10 Jun 2008

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After a strong opening weekend, fan zones in Austria saw a distinct drop in numbers on Monday as Switzerland played host to matches for the third day of Euro 2008.

While the fan mile in Vienna's historic city centre reached capacity on Sunday with 84,300 fans turning up to watch the two group B matches between Austria and Croatia, and Germany and Poland, on the giant screens, a meagre 17,500 filled the 100,000 square-metre area on Monday.

And this, despite pre tournament favourites Italy and France playing their first games.

One Vienna pub, usually packed with fans during live football matches, was barely half full on Monday evening, even emptying slightly after the first game between France and Romania.

In the south Austrian city of Klagenfurt, only about 1,000 people filled the fan zone on the main square.

Another larger fan area with a capacity of 25,000 had just about 88 people at half-time during the first match between France and Romania, the Austria Press Agency counted.

In comparison, 60,000 fans had invaded the south Austrian city with a population of 90,000 on Sunday as it hosted a match between Germany and Poland, half of them celebrating in the streets while the other half went to the stadium.

“We're not a host city, we're a ghost city,” quipped a local, reacting to the lack of customers at his stand following the departure of the German and Polish fans.

Klagenfurt residents have stayed away from the city centre following reports of potential violence from fans, prompting calls from local politicians to take part in the celebrations.

Things were looking up however on Tuesday as Austria prepared to host two new matches, Greece-Sweden and Spain-Russia, accompanied by the inevitable hordes of traveling fans.

Some 10,000 Greeks and 15,000 Swedes were expected in Salzburg during the day, with 7,000 Spanish and 6,000 Russian fans due to fill the streets of Innsbruck during these first group D matches.

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