No meatballs but Swedes retain pizza Kiev action

Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:08am EDT
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By Philip O'Connor

KIEV (Reuters) - Swedish meatballs have been in short supply and their team departed Euro 2012 on Tuesday, but that has not stopped two Scandinavian entrepreneurs continuing to help feed and quench the thirst of fans still streaming into Kiev.

With Sweden playing their three group games in the Ukraine capital, two Swedish businessmen found a local partner to help set up the “'Swedish Corner' in the Kiev Fan Zone, where they have been serving beer and food since the tournament began.

"“We'll be here until after the final, it's been a lot of hard work but a lot of fun too. We even got to see some of the games," Fredrik, a Swedish bartender, told Reuters.

Sharing the same colours as the host country, the Sweden and Ukraine fans turned the Fan Zone into a sea of yellow and blue during the opening phase of the tournament.

Fredrik and his colleagues have worked flat-out, serving beer and pizza to fans from all over the world.

Ukrainian import restrictions on food put a stop to them serving genuine Swedish meatballs, but that has not stopped fans from enjoying their fare. "Every football fan loves beer and pizza," said Fredrik.

Each night, a singer and guitarist entertained the crowds with Swedish folk and pop songs, and there were regular visits from cult former footballer Glenn Hysen, whose son Tobias was part of Erik Hamren's Sweden squad.

The city of Kiev released statistics following the group stage, revealing that 1.25 million people had visited the Fan Zone on Khreschatyk Street in the first 12 days of Euro 2012.   Continued...

An Ukrainian women, dressed in traditional clothes, instructs Sweden soccer fans in how to make traditional Ukrainian Vareniks dumplings, at the Euro 2012 fan zone in central in Kiev June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich