Thunderstorms and football don't mix

  • Satellite image from 16UTC (7pm in Ukraine) on Friday 15th June. The red box indicates the thunderstorm over the Donetsk area in eastern Ukraine.

    Referee Bjorn Kuipers leads the two teams off the field as bad weather halts the France vs Ukraine game.

    Lightning over the Donbass Arena, Donetsk after the football game had been suspended.

  • Thunderstorms and football don't mix
    16.06.2012 13:15


    Thunderstorms affected the Euro 2012 group D match between Ukraine and France on Friday evening, with the game being suspended for over an hour, just 4 minutes after kick off. The storm brought torrential rain and numerous lightning strikes to the Donetsk area in eastern Ukraine, making it necessary for the referee to determine that conditions were too dangerous to continue. Only after the storm had passed and the excess water was drained away, was the game allowed to re-commence. In the end France beat the co-host nation 2-0.

    Temperatures had soared through the past week with highs of 34C recorded at Donetsk on Thursday. Elsewhere across central and eastern Ukraine, temperatures reached 37C in places. However, football matches were also taking place in the other host country, Poland on Thursday, including the Group C game between Spain and Ireland, where there were much cooler conditions. The temperature was just 11C at kick off in the Baltic coast city of Gdansk, and although this was the more typical climate for Ireland compared to Spain, the defending champions beat the Irish 4-0.

    By Friday, temperatures again peaked at 32C in Donetsk before the Ukraine vs France game, but an advancing cold front from the west brought the heavy downpours and thunderstorms. Although this caused the game to be delayed, the front brought much cooler and fresher conditions for the rest of the game with temperatures of around 19C. The England vs Sweden game was hosted in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Being situated further west, the cold front had already passed through earlier in the day, meaning it was dry for the game and temperatures were no higher than 18C.

    So what is in store for the rest of the group matches over the next few days. Although it will be much cooler for a time across Ukraine during this weekend, heat will build across Poland and will spread eastwards through next week. The Republic of Ireland’s last game of the tournament (against Italy) is on Monday in the city of Poznan, Poland where a much higher temperature of 27C is forecast for kick off. It is also going to be a warm day in Donetsk on Tuesday, where England will play their deciding group game against Ukraine, with highs of 27C. However, kick off is not until 21:45 local time and by then, temperatures should have fallen back to around 20C, making it much more comfortable for the players.

    To keep up to date on the weather forecasts for all the matches in Euro 2012, check out our dedicated page for the tournament at

    By: Chris Burton