The Soviet Union have a history as far as EURO competitions go. They were the first winners in EURO1960. Did you know that the competition has yet to be staged anywhere in eastern Europe. Russia hope to change all that and are using the slogan "We deserve it". Football has been played in Russia since the 19th century, and as the level of interest in this season's dramatic Russian Premier-Liga title play-off between FC Lokomkotiv Moskva and PFC CSKA Moskva proved, there is plenty of passion for the game.
The Russians have lined up eight cities to act as host centres for the finals with the Luzhniki stadium, home of FC Spartak Moskva and FC Torpedo Moskva, earmarked to stage the final. To the north of Moscow, St. Petersburg's Kirov stadium will be used, while to the south, the Rotor stadium in Volgograd, the Lokomotiv in Saratov, the Central in Kazan, the Kuban in Krasnodar, the Metallurg in Samara and the Rostselmash in Rostov-on-Don will all host games. The Lokomotiv stadium in Moscow has also been placed on a reserve list.
While the Russian Football Union (RFU) are realistic and admit that the stadiums need refurbishment to host any major tournament, the will is there in Russia to do what it takes to welcome the rest of Europe. The distances between venues are relatively long but the RFU plan to use the river Volga and 500 luxury steamships - effectively floating hotels - to transport supporters from venue to venue. A massive footballing infrastructure and huge numbers of coaching schools for an array of sports, training facilities will not be hard to come by. Vladimir Radionov, secretary general of the RFU said: "Awarding the European Championship to Russia will provide a huge boost not only for our soccer infrastructure but for the country's economy as a whole". They have already tabled plans for major conservation work to be carried out in order to make the route as scenic as possible.
The history of Russia has full of a great many rather than just great men. The man on the street are keen to get behind the bid with almost two million Russian supporters contacting the bid's website. Bid director Alexander Chernov believes the people's passion will help Russia, saying: "We're confident that we can sell out every single game, starting from the group matches all the way to the final. The after-effects from EURO2008 will not only benefit those eight cities, but will be felt in Siberia, the Urals, Russia's Far East - all over the country." Far be it from me to suggest just how they can ensure full grounds. I will leave that to you and your fertile imagination.
84,745 capacity Luzhniki stadium
Alexei Andronov, press officer for the RFU said: "If we win we would have up to eight new stadiums which would do an enormous amount for the popularity of football in Russia. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the popularity of club football has gone down, but we are slowly returning to normality and EURO 2008 would help to speed that process up. Usually the championship is played in western Europe and it would be very interesting for people to visit us."