Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wore a blue and yellow football jersey at the meeting of the Government in Kyiv, Ukraine, following the Ukraine’s dramatic 2-1 win over Sweden on Tuesday night.
His entire cabinet proudly joined him in wearing the national football team’s shirts at the meeting ahead of Ukraine’s anticipated quarter-final match against England on Saturday.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (pictured) wore a blue and yellow football jersey at the meeting of the Government in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday following the Ukraine team’s victory
He said: ‘Historic victory of the national team of Ukraine over the team of Sweden! We are in the quarterfinals.
‘This evening, all 40 million Ukrainians were with you on the field. We are proud! Glory to Ukraine!’
And Olga Stefanishyna, the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, said she was ‘proud’ to wear the football shirt after the country’s win last night.
She tweeted: ‘Historical win for Ukraine. Was proud to wear today the shirt of the national football team.’
England will be facing the Ukraine on Saturday after sending Germany home after an incredible 2-0 victory at Wembley, while Prince William, Ed Sheeran and David Beckham all eagerly watched from the stands.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, and his son George, seven, both donned formal suits as they cheered on the team, not opting to wear England’s red and white shirts for the thrilling match.
His entire cabinet proudly joined him in wearing the national football team’s shirts at the meeting ahead of Ukraine’s anticipated quarter-final match against England on Saturday
Cabinet minister Olga Stefanishyna said she was ‘proud’ to wear the football shirt after the country’s win against Sweden. Pictured: Cabinet posing wearing Ukraine’s football jerseys
It comes after Ukraine’s football manager Andriy Shevchenko said his team would not be intimidated by England’s win over Germany at Wembley in their Euro 2020 last-16 clash.
The Ukrainians booked their quarter-final berth with an extra-time 2-1 win over Sweden thanks to a last-gasp goal by Artem Dovbyk after England defeated Germany on the back of second-half efforts from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.
‘England are a great team, they have a deep bench, an outstanding coaching staff and we are fully aware how tough this game is going to be,’ Shevchenko told a news conference.
‘I saw all their three group matches, not today’s win over Germany because we had to prepare for our own game with Sweden. They are incredibly difficult to score against but their strength shouldn’t scare us.
‘It should motivate us because everything is possible in football as in life and we will play our hearts out to give our fans even more to cheer about.’
England are yet to concede in the tournament, having beaten Croatia and the Czech Republic 1-0 in the group stage while they also drew 0-0 with Scotland.
Man of the match Oleksandr Zinchenko, who scored Ukraine’s first goal and set up the second against Sweden, heaped praise on his Manchester City team mate Sterling who has scored three of England’s four goals in Euro 2020.
The Ukrainians (pictured after victory) booked their quarter-final berth with an extra-time 2-1 win over Sweden on Tuesday night, thanks to a last-gasp goal by Artem Dovbyk
Ukraine players celebrate in front of their fans after victory in extra time during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 match
Ukraine’s football manager Andriy Shevchenko said his team (pictured) would not be intimidated by England’s 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley in their Euro 2020 last-16 clash
‘Sterling is one of the best wingers in the world and right now he is making all the difference for England,’ he said.
‘We will need to be at our very best in defence to stop him but it will be difficult because he is on a roll.’
Zinchenko added he and the rest of the team had been under pressure to deliver against Sweden after coming under fire for poor group-stage performances, having lost to the Netherlands and Austria while beating North Macedonia.
‘It was difficult for me to adjust because a lot of criticism was poured on the whole team and on me in particular.
‘Today, we have proved to the whole of Europe that we can achieve our goals.’
‘I would like to thank the fans, all those who managed to come to the stadium. This is a historic achievement and they should rejoice because moments like this are rare,’ he added.
Your essential guide to England’s quarter-final opponents: Meet Ukraine’s answer to Posh and Becks, why Chicken Kievs AREN’T from Kiev, how they are BIGGER boozers than Brits…and whose president is a comedian (literally)
By Martin Robinson, chief reporter for MailOnline
England will take on Ukraine in Rome on Saturday night in the eastern European state’s biggest match in its history.
The team is led by talisman and captain Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is a familiar name with football fans because he is a Manchester City player and teammate of England stars Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Phil Foden.
Zinchenko lives in a Cheshire mansion with his wife, Vlada, a glamorous blonde TV journalist and model branded the world’s most beautiful WAG, and they are considered Ukraine’s hottest couple and dubbed the country’s ‘Posh and Becks’.
The largest country entirely in Europe is also one of the continent’s newest, gaining independence from Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 – but since 2014 it has been at war with Putin’s state after he annexed Crimea. Tensions remain high in the region and Russia even claimed to open fire on a British warship last week after it passed close to the Crimean coast after the Royal Navy insisted they didn’t recognise Russian claims to the region.
Ukraine’s president is Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former stand-up comedian elected in 2019. His journey to high office became life imitating art because his most famous TV role was of a school teacher who rants about corrupt politicians, which is shared by students, goes viral and he is catapulted to the presidency.
His nation is hard-drinking and sports mad, and its most famous athlete of all time is also the country’s coach Andriy Shevchenko, who is the nation’s record scorer, also stood in elections after he retired and is close friends with oligarch Roman Abramovich, who signed him for Chelsea.
But the chicken kiev, named after its capital, has no roots in Ukraine having been invented by a Parisian chef to impress a Russian tsar 200 years ago. Ukraine’s favourite foods are borscht and burgers, and has one of the busiest McDonald’s branches in the world.
With the game in Rome approaching, here’s MailOnline’s guide to Ukraine:
Ukraine’s Posh and Becks
Ukraine’s golden couple Oleksandr Zinchenko with his wife, Vlada, a TV journalist and model
Vlada Zinchenko takes a picture inside the stadium prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group C match between Ukraine and North Macedonia a fortnight ago
TV presenter Vlada Sedan posted this image to her Instagram, of the pair in the national arena when they became engaged in 2019
Zinchenko broke interview protocol with TV reporter Sedan when Ukraine beat Serbia 5-0 – and their relationship blossomed soon after
Vlada is an outspoken journalist who slammed her husband’s manager Pep Guardiola on TV
Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko is the team’s biggest star, current captain and married to a woman considered the world’s most beautiful WAG.
Zinchenko’s wife, Vlada Sedan works as a TV reporter for Ukrainian TV covering the football team her left-footed husband leads and they have been known to kiss during post-match interviews.
In 2019, after he helped his side to Euro 2020 qualification with a win over Portugal, he proposed to his girlfriend at his country’s national stadium in Kiev.
They live together in a Cheshire mansion in an area dominated by footballers playing for Manchester giants United and City.
Vlada, who is also a model, is known to be outspoken, causing a headache for her husband after she laid into his manager Pep Guardiola after they failed to win the Champions League again.
Oleksandr was forced to distance himself from her comments – and deny claims he told her the goings on in the changing rooms – when she told viewers: ‘Perhaps I have no right to say this, perhaps Zinchenko will forbid me. But to put it mildly, and in order not to swear, this is completely Guardiola’s fault’.
The comedian-turned president of Ukraine who won using social media
TV star turned president Volodymyr Zelensky
A comedian with no political experience won a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election in 2019.
Volodymyr Zelensky, whose only previous political role was playing the president on television, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko by taking 73 percent of the vote, according to exit polls conducted by several think tanks.
Poroshenko lost to the television star across all regions of the country, including in the west where he traditionally enjoyed strong support.
It was an extraordinary outcome to a campaign that started as a joke but struck a chord with voters frustrated by poverty, corruption and a five-year war that has claimed some 13,000 lives.
The 43-year-old star of TV series ‘Servant of the People’ will now take the helm of a country of 45 million people beset by challenges and having run on the vaguest of political platforms.
Zelensky’s bid to lead the country of 45 million people was initially dismissed as a joke when he announced his candidacy on New Year’s Eve 2018.
His unorthodox campaign relied heavily on quirky social media posts and comedy gigs instead of traditional rallies and leafleting. He ran his campaign mainly on Instagram, where he has 3.7 million followers.
He has also promised to fight corruption, a message that has resonated with Ukrainians who are fed up with politics as usual in a country of 42 million people that remains one of Europe’s poorest nearly three decades after winning independence from the Soviet Union.
The star coach
Andriy Shevchenko quit all football to begin a career in politics – but went that went badly turned to coaching the national team.
But the hero Ukrainian striker has been a great success, taking the country to its first Euro quarter-finals where they will play England on Saturday.
Ukraine’s manager Andriy Shevchenko celebrates victory after the Euro 2020 soccer championship round of 16 match between Sweden and Ukraine at Hampden Park – and right last month at the Champions League final with close friend Roman Abramovich
The former AC Milan and Chelsea forward ended his international career when Ukraine failed to progress from the group stage at Euro 2012, which they co-hosted with Poland.
Shevchenko emerged as one of European football’s hottest properties at Dynamo Kiev before enjoying a hugely successful seven-year spell at AC Milan.
He then moved to Chelsea in 2007 for £30million but struggled during his time at Stamford Bridge, netting just 22 times in three seasons.
However, he remains close to Russian owner Roman Abramovich, sitting in front of him at May’s Champions League final and celebrating Chelsea’s win over Man City with the Billionaire.
Europe’s largest country – and one of its newest – after escaping Moscow’s clutches in 1991 before war broke out with Putin’s super-power in 2014
Russian military hardware rolls into Ukraine
Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the relationship between Ukraine and Russia remains a complicated and violent one.
Divided by political and civil unrest, Ukraine has become a pawn in a power game played by Russian president Vladimir Putin after the country gained independence.
They are fiercely proud of its yellow and blue flag, which was banned from being flown by Moscow in 1946 until it became a free state.
Its citizens comprise those loyal to Russia and those who want Ukraine to remain an independent country to Russian rule.
On February 26 2014, local self-defence forces began to take control of the Crimean peninsula. Military personnel in Russian-made uniform without insignia, and former members of the Ukraine military were involved.
Most of Crimea’s two million inhabitants speak Russian and describe themselves as Russian, and even though they hold Ukrainian passports they live in an autonomous region with its own constitution and parliament.
However, there is also a percentage of revolutionary dissidents who hate Russia, called the Crimean Tartars, who feared Russian president Vladimir Putin would encourage the Ukrainian separatist movement for his own political benefit and intervene militarily in Crimea.
The chicken Kiev IS NOT from Ukraine (and they love Beetroot soup and Big Macs)
The chicken kiev, a much loved dish in Britain that has no link to Ukraine other than the name
People are stand queue to McDonald’s in central Kyiv – a branch reputedly the third busiest in the world
Ukraine’s capital is synonymous with a breaded chicken dish named after the city.
But in fact the Chicken Kiev, a staple dish for millions of Britains, was invented by a French chef to grace the dinner table of a Russian tsar in the early 1800s.
It became a 1970s staple in the UK – but the breadcrumbed chicken with its hidden geyser of garlicky butter was supposed to have been consigned to food history by the nouvelle cuisine of the 1980s.
Yet today it’s enjoying a posh-nosh revival on trendy restaurant menus across the country, while star chefs including TV favourites Jamie Oliver, Tom Kerridge and James Martin have all made space for it in recent recipe books.
Its national dish is borscht, a bright red beetroot soup that was also Princess Diana’s favourite meal, and is a hearty meal containing masses of beetroot mixed with yogurt, onion, chicken stock, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper with a swirl of horseradish sauce.
But for Ukraine’s younger generation, it is more about fast food.
The McDonald’s next to the main train station in Kiev is believed to be the third busiest in the world.
Drinking is a national pastime
Fans from the big drinking country watch the Ukraine vs Austria match on June 21, 2021
While England’s team is expected to win on Friday night, the Ukrainians would be expected to take the spoils in a drinking competition.
Its national drink is a moonshine called Horilka – translating as ‘burning water’ as it is often flavoured with chilli – and the booze mad nation drinks an average of 27 pints of it a year.
Youngsters have moved away from the spirit, which is often brewed at home by Ukrainians, and prefer to drink beer.
According to the World Health Organisation it is the sixth biggest drinking nation on the planet.
Only people from Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Russia and Romania consume more alcohol each year.
Gigantic country has gigantic landmarks
Ukraine is the largest country entirely in Europe and has some of the world’s largest and grandest landmarks.
Kiev has the world’s deepest metro station, at 115metres underground. In other words, just about deep enough to swallow the England team up if they lose this weekend.
And Khreshchatyk Street in Kiev is the world’s widest road at 100metres or more. Even the pavements are huge, measuring up to 15metres wide on each side on average.
1000sq mile no-go zone around Chernobyl ‘will last 20,000 YEARS’
The haunting Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, that blew up in 1986 and may have killed 200,000 people since
In 1986 an accident at the USSR’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant triggered the world’s worst radiological crisis.
The events of that night are well documented – but history didn’t stop there. Chernobyl, as a place, remains very much alive today.
1,000-square-mile Exclusion Zone, which includes the city of Pripyat, and will need to be in place for 20,000 years, experts say.
Once inside, there’s no time limit for the stay – but you’re not allowed to sleep in the zone.
There’s no dress code, apart from the stipulation to wear long sleeves as protection against the radiation.
But visiting the zone is not dangerous.
Irradiated topsoil has been scraped away and visitors are advised to rent Geiger counters, which will warn them if they stray into an area of high radiation.
The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1986 – and it ranks as one of the biggest nuclear catastrophes in history.
But the abandonment of the town by humans has created one of the most diverse animal sanctuaries in the world, mixed with some of the most striking scenery.
The initial explosion in the No. 4 nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant killed two people with a further 29 dying days later from acute radiation poisoning.
Greenpeace says that 200,000 more deaths were caused by the effects of nuclear fallout.