Euro 2012: Good football does not colour Ukraine pretty | The Economist

Euro 2012: Good football does not colour Ukraine pretty | The Economist.

Nader Nazemi

ON the pitch, Ukraine could scarcely have hoped for better in their Euro 2012 opener: a 2-1 victory over Sweden with Andriy Shevchenko providing the goals. At 35 and suffering from chronic back problems, Mr Shevchenko would normally have retired from international football by now. But with the European Championships being played in Ukraine (and Poland), the man regarded as the greatest Ukrainian player ever simply had to be in the squad.

For Ukrainians to see that “Sheva” could still rise to the occasion was an emotional moment celebrated in consummately European style. Crowded café terraces were erupting in whoops of joy. Even Donetsk, the mining metropolis of the East and traditionally Ukraine’s most pro-Russian (or Soviet-nostalgic) part, has equipped itself with a pedestrianised central strip in recent years, modeled on Western Europe.

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