Ukraine toasts its World Cup heroes
Thousands of Ukrainians shouting Uuu-krai-na! took to the streets throughout the former Soviet republic after entering the quarter-finals.india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 18:49 IST
Ukraine toasted its hero footballers on Tuesday after the team defied expectations to secure a place in the World Cup quarter-finals by beating Switzerland 3-0 in a penalty shootout.
"We're in the quarter finals!" screamed the headline of one Kiev daily.
"Let's call it like it is: They're heroes," one sports commentator said at the end of a match which the Ukrainians won after the match had finished locked at 0-0 after extra-time.
Thousands of Ukrainians shouting "Uuu-krai-na!" took to the streets throughout the former Soviet republic after the game that finished in the early hours of the morning.
In the capital Kiev, fans virtually took over the central Independence Square and Khreshchatik thoroughfare for hours, waving the blue and yellow national standard from honking cars and motorcycles.
In the western city of Lviv, hundreds of fans converged on the central square singing the national anthem.
Ukraine -- a country that was deeply divided during the 2004 "orange revolution," where government has been in continuous turmoil since, and where another gas showdown is looming with Russia -- was in need of some good news and its football team has provided it.
"The successful playing of the Ukrainian team works to unite Ukraine and instills patriotism," President Viktor Yushchenko said after congratulating the team on its historic win, according to a statement from his office.