Who is going to host the 2012 Euro Cup?

The paint is barely dry on Spain’s spectacular championship from the 2008 Euro Cup, but already there is speculation about whether the 2012 Euro Cup will be moved.  Poland and the Ukraine were selected by UEFA to be the host countries of the 2012 European Cup; they will split the hosting duties the same way that Austria and Switzerland did in 2008.  The question now is whether Poland and the Ukraine will be ready to host the games, or will UEFA have to do the unthinkable by moving the tournament to another location.

News articles have questioned whether the Poland/Ukraine hosts have the proper infrastructure to host an international soccer tournament of this magnitude.  Italian media have asked about rumors the tournament will be moved to Italy and France. Some speculated that UEFA has already drawn up a contingency plan in-case they need to move the Euro 2012, something that UEFA officials deny.

Even the Prime Minister of Poland has stepped forward to say that all construction projects will be completed on time.  Comments he made after UEFA’s president said the Euro 2012 would relocate if stadiums in Warsaw and Kiev were not ready.  This while UEFA official visited Poland and the Ukraine to inspect their progress.

This is the same type of speculation that has continued to plague the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  Will South Africa finish their stadiums and have the proper infrastructure completed?  That is still not 100% determined.  So right now it looks like it will be an interesting four years until the next Euro Cup.  My bet is Poland and the Ukraine will pull it together and fulfill their duties as hosts of the Euro 2012.

More info on the 2012 Euro Cup, including the cities and stadiums scheduled to be used, is listed on our Euro 2012 page.  There is also information about the format of the Euro Cup tournament.

Euro Cup 2008 Final this week

The 2008 UEFA Euro Cup is drawing to a close this week with the Semifinal matches on Wednesday & Thursday and the Championship match on Sunday in Vienna.  The four teams left in the tournament that are competing for the European Championship are Germany, Russia Spain and Turkey; the later three of those teams are all upset higher favored teams to earn their Semifinal spots.

In the Quarterfinals Germany defeated Portugal 3-2 in a match that most experts predicted Germany would win; now the German national team will face upstart Turkey who beat tournament powerhouse Croatia on penalty kicks.  On the other side of the bracket both Russia and Spain pulled off mild upsets to make the Semis.  Russia took down a highly regarded Netherlands team 3-1 in the Quarters, and Spain finally got past Italy in penalty kicks to setup the Russia versus Spain match.

On Wednesday, June 25th Germany will play Turkey at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland.  Then Thursday Russia will play Spain in Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, Austria.  The winners of those two matches will play for the 2008 European Cup Championship on Sunday in Vienna.

2010 Soccer World Cup

Are you already making travel arrangements for the Soccer World Cup?  South African cities slated to host games in the 2010 FIFA World Cup:

Johannesburg (Joburg), Cape Town, Durban (Durbs),

Bloomfontein, Nelspruit, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, and Rustenburg

gomo gomo leopard

The stadiums in Joburg, Cape Town, and Durbs have the largest seating capacity of all of the stadiums that are being built/refurbished.  I don’t mind flying into Durban and being in the city can be pleasant.  There is a nice beach front and some really great antique stores and galleries.  One of my favorite art collectives is there, the African Art Centre.  A lot of the residential construction in the older parts of town remind me of San Francisco.  There are some nice tourist markets that occur in parks on Sundays in Durbs.

The International Airport in Joburg recently had an embarrassing episode which I was unfortunate enough to witness: water mains burst above the check-in areas.  We stood in lines for 3 ½ hours and were checked in manually.  Amazingly, all of our luggage eventually arrived back in Austin.  This airport has a reputation for being rough so keep your eyes on your bags. (Traveler’s tip: wear comfortable shoes when traveling in SA.)

Port Elizabeth is in the southern part of the country, and is the closest of all of the other cities to Cape Town.  PE is a lovely city on the coast.  If you are able to, schedule your international flights in and out of Cape Town.  These cities will be cold and windy in June-July but still worth visiting.  Hardcore diving enthusiasts won’t want to miss the white shark trips that regularly go out to Seal Island.  (Where 99% of all of the air jaws footage has been shot.)  This area also has some excellent wineries worth visiting.  Just as in the States, these wineries open their grounds for special occasions like weddings, just in case you’re up for planning something really special. (Traveler’s tip:  when flying within South Africa make sure to be within the maximum weight allowance for domestic carriers. There is a surprising difference between the weight allowance for international and domestic travel – you’ll pay through the nose if your bags are too heavy.)

wild frontier

Johann and I drove from Joburg (“Egoli” in Zulu) to Nelspruit and on into Kruger National Park for my first game lodge experience.  It was an amazing drive but not one for the faint of heart.   (Traveler’s tip: have cash when you drive in case you need to pay a “fine” for speeding in the boonies.) Fly into Nelspruit (say “nels-prey”) or have a van pick you up in Joburg for the drive.  Game lodges in the Kruger can help you sort that out.  A word about game lodges:  you can hunt or you can take pictures.  Accommodations can vary.  You can go 5 star (Singita is amazing) or spend all of your money on a nice camera lens and hit Gomo Gomo.  Johann and I were fortunate enough to see the rarest mammals in Africa when we followed a pack of hunting wild dogs.  The game lodges don’t have fences – the animals roam around where they please.  Everyone sees the same animals – it’s the accommodations that differ.  (True story:  I once outran a stampeding bull elephant while on a “leisurely” walk in the bush.  The guide pointed, screamed and started to run.  I thought he was joking until I saw villagers pointing behind me and scrambling up trees.  Traveler’s tip: make sure that you are in good shape for your trip to the African bush.)

wild dog

One thing to remember about South Africa when you are planning your trip to the 2010 FIFA World Cup is that our summer is their winter.  You’ll be there in June-July and depending on where you are, it can be very cold.  The winter months can be great months to visit game lodges as it is easier to see animals with less vegetation in the way.

Another great thing to do in SA is – I hate to admit it – shop.  The malls are quite fun as you’ll see an absolute rainbow of people.  One of Durban’s malls has a store where some of the country’s best young designers are featured.  Great place for affordable and unique clothes, shoes and jewelry. When shopping, you’ll be able to have a smoothie, buy African tribal masks and sculptures (reproductions), diamonds, saris, and your favorite team’s soccer jersey to wear to the matches.  (Traveler’s tip:  let the South African ladies wear their best jewelry – leave yours at home.  Also, wandering around at night is discouraged.)

The majority of South Africans are multilingual.  English speakers will occasionally pepper in Afrikaans or Zulu phrases.  If someone says “How’s it, China?” just translate that to “S’up, man?”.  “Lekker” (“good”) might be an appropriate response.  (Traveler’s tip:  you will see a lot of American television shows in South Africa.  Definitely watch the long running Safa show “Egoli” in which actors go from Zulu to English and Afrikaans and back again all in the same conversation.)

There is a lot of speculation as to whether or not the World Cup will actually be held in SA in 2010.  When I asked the Safas (shorthand for South African like “Yank” or “Yankee” is for an American) about the Cup they would just shake their heads.  “Never happen” they would say.  At the moment the country is plagued with rolling power outages and a shortage of skilled labor.  Public transportation is non-existent.  Should the 2010 World Cup be moved to a country that has a better infrastructure to support it, TicketCity will work with our clients to provide tickets for the new venues.  Or we will refund all orders 100%. Stadium construction aside, South Africa is such an amazing country and I’d encourage everyone to visit.  (Traveler’s tip:  Don’t measure other countries against your own, just appreciate the idiosyncrasies and go with the flow.)

If you are interested in doing some of your own online research about SA, here’s a tip that will help – type “co.za” after your search items and that will take you directly into South African cyberspace.  Also, catch-up on South African news and happenings with News24 and Carte Blanche.

2008 Euro Cup Draw Announced on Sunday

On Sunday December 2nd at 6AM EST, the draw will be announced for Euro Cup 2008. Euro 2008 is a soccer (football) tournament held every four years that features the top national teams from Europe and surrounding area. The Euro Cup is held on opposite years from the World Cup, and the qualify for Euro 2008 actually began right after World Cup 2006 in Germany.

Euro 2008 Tickets

The draw is put on by UEFA, which is one of soccer’s top international governing bodies. They will seed the 16 qualifying teams into four groups. The tournament will begin round robin group play on June 7th, 2008. Each country will the others in their group once. At the end of group play, the top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the Euro Cup Quarterfinals.

The Euro 2008 Quarterfinals begin on June 19th. They will be followed by the two Euro 2008 Semifinals on June 25th and 26th. The Euro 2008 Final will be played on June 29th in Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, Austria. The entire Euro Cup 2008 is being played in Austria and Switzerland.

The 16 teams that qualified for Euro 2008 are:
Austria (host country)
Czech Republic
Switzerland (host country)

TicketCity has Euro 2008 tickets available for sale now. And you can visit our site on Sunday to see the results of the Euro Cup draw and buy your 2008 Euro Cup tickets.

A brief history of the Euro Cup is on the bottom of our page.

Brazil to Host 2014 World Cup

FIFA announced that the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament will be hosted by Brazil. FIFA, who is soccer’s governing body, picked Brazil because they were the only remaining country only the list from South America. Colombia was in contention to host the World Cup, but dropped out in April. So get ready for World Cup 2014 in Brazil!

World Cup Tickets 2010

South Africa is scheduled to host the next World Cup in 2010. You can by World Cup Tickets for South Africa right now.

FIFA’s Executive Committee also announced that Germany will be the host country for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Germany just hosted the Men’s soccer World Cup in 2006.