Spain V Russia Euro 2008 Semi-Final, Vienna

A few pics from last night’s semi-final build-up in Vienna. The Spaniards were out in force again yesterday, with a sprinkling of Russians here and there. Like last Sunday the largest group of people congregated on the Kaertnerstrasse, chanting, dancing, and kicking a football high into the air, sending it bouncing off the buildings. The usual friendly antagonism between rival fans; the Spaniards cheerfully out-singing the Russians, chanting taunts and taking pictures with one another. Or, as here on the left, earnestly wishing one another luck with a sort of may-the-best-man-win camaraderie. It was reported on the news that so many private jets had arrived at the Vienna airport, carrying the new class of Russian oligarchs, that they didn’t know where to park them. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great; humid, hot, and overcast, and the heavens opened like last night around 7 and poured all night. To the left are three Spanish fans dressed as oranges, perhaps hoping to gather attention but really looking rather self-conscious. Not that many attempts at creative costumes, though there were one or two—the oranges there and a few elaborate flamenco head-gear: not a flamenco hat, if there be such a thing, but a miniature dancer perched on a square head-set. I saw a few of those. Lots of police out too: as the fans were celebrating, several vans zoomed into the vicinity, and about 20 riot police got out, helmets, shields, and all. Most of them were solemn and stern-looking; others, particularly the younger ones, looked rather amused, and looked as though they wanted to join in the fun. On one or two occasions the football that the fans were kicking around landed on one of the police vans, bouncing back high into the air, and recovered by some fan who promptly booted it back into the crowd. Despite the foul weather last night—constant rain from around 7 late into the night—I heard the fans singing until the wee hours. So. Calm until Sunday.

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