Day 17 – Game Day! Ukraine v England – 19/6/12

For the fourth time on the trip we were donning on the sharavary. This time we got a taxi at midday to the train station in Mariupol instead of all the way to Donetsk. This was due to Ukraine playing at the later time so didn’t want to leave early in the morning and risk the chance of not making it to the game due to the extra hours of drinking in Donetsk.

With half of the group going to buy train tickets and half going to stock up on beer, vodka and food for the journey we all met outside the train station. Both groups had good news as one group had the food and drink whilst the other group said that we didn’t have to pay for the train and that the match ticket was our ‘train ticket’. We saved all of probably £5 each, but nevertheless was a saving for an extra beer for us all.

We boarded one of the new EURO 2012 purpose bought trains and there seemed to be some confusion with the conductor who said we had to pay. We took no notice and boarded anyway without paying before cracking open the beers. 13.30 on the clock and we were now on our way. The conductor came round saying we had to pay, but we weren’t having any of it. Chrystyna went to have a chat with conductor and eventually came to the agreement that we have to pay 50 UAH each. Hardly breaking the bank we paid up, and cracked on with the party.

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Beer, vodka and singing was in full swing with the other passengers on our carriage joining in with the party. The conductor also joined in after pocketing our money, but hey we didn’t mind. Arriving at the train station we headed straight to the fan zone for what must now sure must be tedious reading for all as the beer, singing and dancing continued.

Early evening we started to make our way to the stadium, Here we stopped off for a picture with a Shakthar Donetsk painted car and a man dressed as a blue and yellow football. Petro in his wisdom and continuing his sticker siege across Europe decided to cheekily stick a Dynamo Kyiv sticker on the windscreen of the car. Can’t imagine that this resulted in a positive response, but we didn’t ‘stick’ around to find out.

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stopping off at a supermarket near the stadium. With both sets of fans walking to the stadium, we eventually saw a group of Ukrainian Kozaks that were also dressed up in sharavary. This was totally unheard of and had never seen anybody else bar us dress up this way to a football game. We obviously went over to them, where we were also greeted with amazement from the kozaks. Starting the chant of ‘хто не скаче той москаль’ we couldn’t believe we were chanting this in eastern Ukraine where the majority of people are pro-Russian.

We were soon remembered of where we were as one Ukrainian fan clearly took offence to the chant and came over and said that we were not allowed to chant this. We told him where to go and the fact that we reminded him we were in Ukraine which aggravated him even more, before the police showed up and we then walked off.

At the stadium team Chymera (including the now non-Femen Chrystyna), both the Andriy’s (Luczka and Buniak) were seated in the same section, whilst Stepan, Stefan and Zenko were close together but on the opposite side of the stadium. The match kicked off and there was once again a great sense of optimism between Ukraine fans that the victory was more than capable.

With a solid performance from Ukraine that showed a sense of urgency and passion both on the pitch and in the stands, England took the lead. However, it was the controversy that followed that Ukraine felt hard done by. The officials, including the so called ‘worthwhile’ extra fifth official that stands next to the goal with his Harry Potter wand, failed to spot Marco Devic’s effort cross the goal line and not award a goal, which saw the match end 1-0 to England.

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Unlike the previous match, the only storm this time was in the crowd (in Stepan’s, Stefan’s and Zenko’s section) where an England fan decided to give it the big shot in the middle of a bunch of Ukraine fans. Here one Ukrainian quite rightly squared up to him, but to much of our disappointment pushed him instead of kicking crap out of the England fan. The match stewards to their credit were straight on top of things and diffused the situation by escorting the England fan away. The Ukrainian fan then went back to his seat, where had BBC had a camera on him, they would have had evidence to back their Panorama programme up as he decided to continuously give the ‘zig hai’ salute to our embarrassment. Meanwhile over on the opposite side of the stadium with the Chymera’s and the Andriy’s was a pleasant atmosphere where they were sat with an UPA dressed fan. It was also at this match that lots of people back home in the UK said they saw us on TV!

In a game that we believed Ukraine were the better team, it was a hard result to accept, not only due to the fact of the goal that was wasn’t given, but also meant that it was Ukraine’s turn to bow out of the competition.

The feeling we had was not just deflation, but our bubble had now been completely burst. Clearly in no mood to do anything, we took a taxi back to the apartment and went to bed.

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