Warsaw Opens New National Stadium

Concerns about being ready in time for this year’s European soccer championship were at least temporarily put aside by the opening of Poland’s new National Stadium in Warsaw Jan. 29.

It was originally scheduled to be ready last June, but was repeatedly delayed when construction experts and firefighters kept finding work incomplete or needing improvement.

The 40,000 or so visitors who attended the opening night enjoyed a fireworks display and a concert featuring top Polish acts including VooVoo i Haydamaky, Zakopower, Coma, T. Love, and Lady Pank.

The venue, which was built on a site previously occupied by a disused 100,000-seat stadium built to stage Communist rallies, will have its readiness to stage soccer matches tested Feb. 11.

It will host the Polish Super Cup clash between Legia Warsaw and Wisla Krakow.

It will stage its first international match when Poland takes on Portugal Feb. 29, exactly 100 days before the European tournament kicks off June 8. Poland, which is co-hosting the competition with Ukraine, will play Greece.

The 58,000-capacity Warsaw stadium, located on the east bank of the river Vistula, was built specially for Euro 2012 at a cost of 2 billion zlotys ($600 million).

It includes restaurants, exhibition halls, conference rooms, offices and a sports museum.

It’s one of three Polish venues built especially for the 14th European Championship, The others are the Arena Gdansk and the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw.