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Our blogger arrives in Kiev

The fanzone in Kiev Photo: Calendar

The day starts well with a smooth taxi ride down to Heathrow and we stride through security with only a limited degradation factor - just take off your top and your belt sir, keep your shoes on - and are soon sitting pretty in departures wondering if 6:40 is too early for beer? Apparently not.

A smooth flight out and we re in Kiev and how good is it here. Sunshine is good for start. But the whole experience is pretty good. Easy off the airport and straight into town where we are met by hoards of young and yes pretty Ukrainian girls eager to help us find our way around.

The fanzone in Kiev Credit: Richard Astle

Casting aside their offers of help we stow our bags at the station and head for the fan zone via the Metro. Isn't it strange, Ukraine sounds so different but when you are squashed into the tube the BO is just the same!

And how good is the fan zone? Very good. Straight into lots of banter with Ukrainian football fans and thousands of lagerd up and sun burnt Swedes! This is why you come to football tournaments. Everyone wants to chat. Everyone wants to banter. Apparently the Swedes will beat us on Friday. We think not and the bald guy playing Swedish folk songs in Swede Corner - no really - sings on.

Richard's friend Tony in the Kiev fanzone Credit: Calendar

By now food beckons so we cross the square where the Orange Revolution took place and find a Crimean cafe, full of Swedes! But the rice and kebabs are good and my Russian language skills can manage dva piva pazhalousta! Soon we will hit the fanzone again for Greece v Czech and then it's the over night train to Kharkov and the big day tomorrow: Germany v Holland. Tony and I will both be shouting for Holland - how can you not when your first World Cup memory is 1974!

UPDATE: 8.39PM BST

The overnight train to Kharkov is about to set off, packed with German and Dutch fans! No chance of sleep tonight! We have stocked up with a traditional Ukrainian sandwich and several beers and expect to be in Kharkov at 7am tomorrow. There are four of us in our compartment - me, Tony and a Dutch fan called Dirk who holds out no hope for tomorrow. The 4th team member...? A very worried Ukrainian lady travelling on business. What is she doing? Don't worry we have saved her a sandwich!

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