England win cannot dampen Ukraine fans’ excitement over Wembley match
Ukraine fans dreamed of a “beautiful game” and a famous victory over England, but could only watch as their side lost 2-0 at Wembley Stadium.
Goals by the Three Lions’ talismanic striker Harry Kane and Arsenal wonderkid Bukayo Saka saw the home side cruise to victory in the Euro 2024 qualifier clash.
Gareth Southgate’s side were favourites to win the game, but that did not dampen the excitement of Ukrainian fans before kick-off.
The fixture saw more than 1,000 Ukrainians and their host families invited to the game as special guests of the Football Association, having been displaced by the war.
One Ukraine fan in the stand was photographed holding up a banner reading “Rishi, We Need F-16s”, in an appeal for the UK Government to send fighter jets to aid Ukraine’s fight to repel their Russian invaders.
Ukrainians Denys and Ganna Dreyzer travelled all the way from Bradford in West Yorkshire to see the match.
Speaking before kick-off, Denys said: “The UK is a really nice country, it’s great that the Government has built this scheme for us to come here and have the opportunity to live a normal life.
“I’m not a good predicter, but I hope that Ukraine will show strength and we will win.”
Ganna added: “I want to say thank you to our Ukrainian community in Bradford, because they helped us so much, they helped us find a house and to settle in and spent time with us on the weekends.
“I hope that Ukraine will win.”
Their compatriots Maksym and Vojislav, who did not give their last names, were among the Ukrainians who travelled to see the game played under Wembley’s famous 133-meter tall arch.
“I hope it’ll be a beautiful game, and that we’ll win,” Maksym said.
“It’s my first time here at Wembley Stadium so I’m very excited.”
“I want my country to win, it’s my dream to see them win here today,” added Vojislav.
Khrystyna, 28, who came to England in 2011 and now lives in London, said: “I’m here to support my homeland in any way I can.
“If it’s football then it’s football, if it’s boxing then it’s boxing.
“Lots of my relatives came to England after the invasion.
“I think that the atmosphere is going to be amazing, it isn’t the first time I’ve been here.”