James Miller


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Belarus 3 - England 1


The real reason to go to Minsk, was to see England play Belarus for the first time. Pages and pages have been written of the result, which was a good one for England, so I will leave that out of this report.

Belarus 3 - England 1, MinskThe stadium is reasonably modern, having been built for the football of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and holds about 40,000 spectators. It doesn't have a roof, but then it didn't rain, whilst we were in Minsk, except for an hour or so on the Tuesday.

Belarus 3 - England 1, Minsk
This picture shows the Belarus Militia, who were tasked with keeping the England and Belarus supporters apart.

When I went with Ipswich to play in the Olympic Stadium in Moscow in 2001, the security was heavy and humourless. I also heard stories of fellow England supporters, who said that when England had played in Moscow a couple of years ago, they had not been any better.

But the actions of the Belarus Militia were probably nearer to those of the Suffolk Constabulary than anybody else. They were professional, well-drilled and dressed for the coldish weather rather than trouble. There were smiles and laughs too. The only English words I heard from the Militia was Please!

Was there any trouble?

On the details from Sport Options, it just said that we were to make our way to the stadium for seven. We all walked down more or less in small groups and I certainly didn't hear anything untoward at all. It was the same on the way back.

Afterwards, we didn't hear of any trouble, whilst we were there and it would appear that there were no reports in the papers, on the radio or on television.

It was a good result for everyone, in many more ways than could have been expected.


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