Hosting the Euro 2012 football tournament is being seen by some as a chance to strengthen Ukrainian patriotism.
As people adorn themselves and their cars with flags, the team’s victory over Sweden on June 11 has united fans from all across the country.
The Ferents family in the capital Kiev are welcoming the competition as a chance to forget about political divisions in Ukraine, and focus on an event that has a feel-good factor.
“When people are in a bad mood and have feelings of apathy, it’s like a splash of joy and luck. Maybe it will lead to some good deeds and improve everyone’s mood – let’s see what happens next!” said Vyacheslav.
“During the matches, people forget all their troubles. You just worry about the game, about Ukraine, the coach and the players,” added Oleh Ferents.
The national team enjoys huge support, both from those who are ethnically Ukrainians and from the country’s large minority of Russian Ukrainians.
“When the Russian team plays, we can see a divide of two countries here, two societies. In Lviv, people will shout ‘Hurray! Here it goes!’ when the Russian team loses, and in Donetsk, they would celebrate every goal scored by Russia. But when it comes to the Ukrainian team, everyone unites behind them,” explained journalist Vitaly Portnikov.
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