England will look to see off Ukraine to reach the last four of a major tournament for the first time in 25 years – but will have to do it largely without support in the stands.
The Three Lions will take on Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine at the Stadio Olympico in Rome, but Italy remains on the UK’s amber list and fans have been urged not to travel.
Regulations in Italy also mean fans would have needed to have spent five days in quarantine and have had a negative post-isolation Covid test to be allowed into the stadium.
That means those backing Gareth Southgate‘s men in their first away game of the tournament will either be those who call Italy their new home, or who have travelled from another European country to attend the game.
Italian police are set to bring in check points at the Olympic Stadium to intercept and arrest any England fans who slip into the country from the UK.
Expat fans were warned to carry proof of their address or face being arrested and fined £386 if they are found to have breached the quarantine rules.
It comes amid fears celebrating football fans back home will drink pubs and stores dry this weekend because of possible beer shortages.
Deliveries of beer, fresh food and barbecue essentials to pubs, convenience stores and supermarkets are being hit by a national lack of drivers.
Those backing Gareth Southgate’s (pictured) men in their first away game of the tournament will either be those who call Italy their new home, or who have travelled from another European country to attend the game
England fans Lj Jones, Martha Duncan-Zaleski and Edie Bound fly the flag for England on a day trip to Bournemouth beach in Dorset yesterday
Boris Johnson poses for a photograph outside 10 Downing Street with a giant St George’s flag ahead of the England Quarter Final game against Ukraine
Jack Grealish and Harry Kane of England board the plane as the players travelled to Rome yesterday ahead of the huge clash
Plain clothed Italian police will wander among the crowds arriving for the match in Rome later today to carry out spot checks and ask for ID papers.
Border police will be focusing on five flights arriving at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinici airport from London and one flight from Birmingham.
A spokesman for the police said they had not intercepted a single fan attempting to breach the strict quarantine rules imposed to keep out the Delta variant.
‘Controls will be tightened ahead of the match,’ said a spokesman.
Even a fanzone set up in the centre of Rome at the Piazza del Popolo where a big screen has been erected to show the Euro 2020 matches will be strictly controlled.
Only fans who can prove a negative Covid 19 test will be admitted although any social distancing was forgotten on Friday night as hundreds of locals watched Italy’s 2-1 win over Belgium.
Italian supporters celebrated into the night driving through the city blasting their car horns in jubilation at the result.
Bars and restaurants showing the match on TV were packed to capacity as locals came out to watch their team progress into the Euro 2020 semi-final.
More than 3,000 England fans are expected to attend the match tonight with dozens of fans flying in from Dubai and other travelling from their homes in other European cities.
Those fans already in Rome were keeping a low profile ahead of the match with not a single white England shirt or flag spotted around the tourist hotspots in the city.
Many of the tickets have been sold to some of the 30,000 ex-pats who live in Italy and the FA returned its allocation of tickets for the 16,000-capacity stadium.
Had Covid restrictions not been in place thousands of fans would have poured into Rome and taken over the open-air bars and restaurants and stood drinking and chanting into the night.
James Curran, 25, (middle) and two friends (Bosco Leong, left; and Elliot van Barthold, right) will undertake an 800-mile rail trip to be at Rome’s Olympic Stadium for the quarter final match against Ukraine from their home in Prague
Student Jack Francis, 20, from Southampton, plans to travel to Rome from France, and secured his ticket on Twitter for £145
At Campo de Fiori, a favoured drinking spot for fans, ex-pats who had flown in from Dubai stood drinking and chatting.
One of the fans said they had paid an ‘extortionate price’ for a three-day trip to Rome – but added it would be worth it if England win.
‘There were lots of fans on the Emirates flight from Dubai and I know a lot more are coming on the day of the match,’ said the fan, who did not want to be named.
None of the group from Dubai wore football shirts or clothing that would identify they as an England supporter.
‘We are here legally, but with the rules that are in place there is no point in drawing attention to ourselves. If they are looking to keep out fans from the UK turning up in a Three Lions shirt marks you out for attention.
‘We had no problem getting in and I’ve been able to get a ticket from a friend in England who was not able to travel.’
Secondary sale websites have almost sold out of match tickets with an Italian based site Ticombo selling over 500 in the last 24 hours.
The 60 tickets left for sale range from £130 up to £500 with the site not requiring proof of residency or quarantine.
England’s Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell on the tarmac heading to board the plane as the England team depart Birmingham Airport
Luke Curner, originally from Folkestone, Kent, was able to avoid isolation as he travelled from Helmstedt, Germany, where he lives with his wife and children.
The 36-year-old bought tickets for the match in 2019 as it falls on his birthday weekend and told the PA news agency: ‘I feel very privileged to be here I’m usually on the wrong end of these kind of situations.’
Jack Francis, 20, from Southampton, travelled to Rome from France and said: ‘Obviously it’s nothing like the classic England away day you see on the telly, as apart from being able to hear English being spoken there is minimal English presence.
‘I feel really lucky and privileged to be here and hopefully everything goes smoothly with getting into the stadium. It feels very surreal, and hopefully it will be a memorable game which will be talked about for years to come if we go all the way.
‘I’m feeling confident for the game especially if we play the way we did against Germany. But with the lack of home advantage it will be interesting to see how we play in our first away game of the tournament, but hopefully the England fans here will do all they can to give the players a boost.’
Meanwhile back home celebrating football fans risk drinking pubs and stores dry this weekend because of possible beer shortages.
Deliveries of beer, fresh food and barbecue essentials to pubs, convenience stores and supermarkets are being hit by a national lack of drivers.
The Campaign for Pubs and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) say wholesalers are failing to make deliveries ahead of the busiest weekend of the year.
The situation has been exacerbated by a shortage of kegs and delays in deliveries of nitrogen, which is used to add fizz to some brews.
A national shortage of around 60,000 drivers is the key issue, but it is part of a wider crisis across the supply chain from farms to food processors. The impact of Brexit and coronavirus means the UK has lost thousands of workers from the EU.
At the same time, British drivers have been barred from training and taking tests to drive HGVs due to lockdown restrictions.
The Federation of Wholesale Distributors argues the situation is so bad the Government should put the Army on standby to help.
Deliveries of fresh produce and milk to supermarkets have been interrupted or delayed, meaning tonnes of food has been dumped
The Campaign for Pubs and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) say wholesalers are failing to make deliveries ahead of the busiest weekend of the year. Harry Kane is seen celebrating a goal above
A national shortage of around 60,000 drivers is the key issue, but it is part of a wider crisis across the supply chain from farms to food processors
Greg Mulholland, campaign director of the Campaign for Pubs, said: ‘The England quarter-final on Saturday night will be a great night for England’s pubs, but with some distribution problems, some publicans are worried they won’t get all their beer supplies or fresh food.’
An insider at a major pub restaurant chain said: ‘The ongoing shortage of delivery drivers is putting considerable strain on supply chains for hospitality businesses across the UK.’ Chief executive of the ACS, James Lowman, said: ‘We are calling on the Government to help by temporarily extending driver hours.’
Deliveries of fresh produce and milk to supermarkets have been interrupted or delayed, meaning tonnes of food has been dumped.
The British Meat Processors Association, British Poultry Council and Tesco have all demanded urgent action from the Government to protect food supplies.
The prize for winning against Ukraine would be a semi-final against either the Czech Republic or Denmark at Wembley, with attendance at the London ground set to be increased.
More than 60,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley if they have a negative Covid-19 test or prove they are double vaccinated.
This could lead to some of the largest crowds in the UK since the start of the pandemic. All ticket holders will be required to have a negative coronavirus test or provide proof of two doses of a vaccine 14 days before a game.
The Lion’s roaring back! After a miserable year, leading historian DOMINIC SANDBROOK revels in boosterish Britain’s new optimism (so surely nothing can go wrong for England tonight…)
Can there be a better feeling than watching England beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley, after a pandemic that has lasted for a year and a half?
On Tuesday evening, as the referee blew the final whistle and confirmed England’s first knockout victory over the Germans in my lifetime, I couldn’t immediately think of one.
‘We haven’t seen scenes like this in a football ground for a long, long time,’ said the BBC‘s Guy Mowbray after the first goal. He was right — not just because it symbolised a nation’s release after months of lockdown, but because it was so rare for us to be in the lead against Germany.
As Wembley erupted in flags and songs, I thought back to previous defeats by our Teutonic cousins, seared into the memory of anybody who, like me, spends far too much emotional energy on England’s footballers.
Can there be a better feeling than watching England beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley, after a pandemic that has lasted for a year and a half? (pictured, Harry Kane celebrates scoring the second goal against Germany)
First was the World Cup semi-final in 1990, when I was still at school. Gary Lineker’s goal, Gazza’s tears, Chris Waddle’s penalty . . . if you’re about my age, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Then, in the semi-final of Euro 96, came another soul-sapping shootout. Alan Shearer scored early, and football was coming home. Then, after a German equaliser and two hours of bitten nails, Gareth Southgate stepped up . . . and you probably know the rest.
In the grand scheme of things, football might seem utterly trivial. And yet, like so many apparently unimportant things, it matters. You don’t even have to like it to see that.
Rightly or wrongly, the game dominates the hopes and dreams of millions of ordinary people across the country. Often, it sets the national mood.
So when England beat West Germany to win the World Cup in 1966, it set the seal on the Swinging Sixties, a golden summer of optimism and opportunity, presided over by a football-loving prime minister in Labour’s Harold Wilson.
Perhaps it was no coincidence, then, that when England lost their crown in Mexico in June 1970 — beaten by, surprise, surprise, the Germans — Wilson suffered a shock election defeat just four days later.
In a flash, the 1960s were over. As Wilson never tired of telling his aides, football really did matter after all.
So I hope even football-haters will forgive me when I suggest that Tuesday’s match, too, could be a landmark moment.
After all, England will never have a better chance of winning silverware, with a Wembley semi-final and, God willing, a Wembley final awaiting them if they can win the atch tonight.
As is often the way, the timing could hardly be better. The worst of the pandemic, thank goodness, seems behind us. A summer of freedom lies ahead.
Is it fanciful, then, to hope that, one day, historians will see England’s landmark victory over our most formidable foe as one that presages something much bigger? After all, for the first time since those early rumours emerged from Wuhan, there really are reasons to be cheerful.
Let’s start with the obvious: the virus itself. Thanks to the Delta variant, Covid infections have risen again, with almost 28,000 new cases reported on Thursday.
Over this past week, there were, on average, just 16 deaths a day from Covid. Each was an individual tragedy. But in a country where 85 per cent of adults have had at least one vaccine dose, they are not figures to terrify us into another lockdown
But there’s no doubt that the vaccines are working — and far better than anybody predicted. As the Mail showed in graphs this week, hospital admissions and, crucially, deaths are far below the levels in the first waves.
Over this past week, there were, on average, just 16 deaths a day from Covid. Each was an individual tragedy. But in a country where 85 per cent of adults have had at least one vaccine dose, they are not figures to terrify us into another lockdown.
No wonder, then, that at Wimbledon on Monday, the spectators rose as one to applaud the scientist Dame Sarah Gilbert, who designed the life-saving Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It’s no exaggeration to describe her as the woman who has given us our freedom.
As Britain opens up, of course, cases are bound to rise. Most scientists agree the final stages of the Euros, as well as greater mixing over the summer holidays, will bring more infections.
Yet there’s no reason to fear a surge in deaths. Covid may never go away, but the vast majority of us can look forward to resuming our normal lives.
And what a refreshing change that the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, recognises the importance of getting Britain moving again.
In stark contrast to his predecessor, Matt Hancock, who was clearly distracted by his own version of social distancing, Mr Javid has made all the right noises from the outset.
His mission, he said this week, was to ‘help return the economic and cultural life that makes this country so great’.
And rejecting talk of delaying Freedom Day, set for July 19, he reminded the Commons that no date ‘comes with zero risk for Covid. We cannot eliminate it, instead we have to learn to live with it’.
Unlike his hapless predecessor, Mr Javid is a serious politician. The state-educated son of a Pakistani bus driver, he worked his way up to become a senior figure at Deutsche Bank, and served as both Business Secretary and Chancellor.
He knows, in other words, that it’s vital to get our economic engines roaring again, not least because economic health and public health are so closely entwined.
To put it bluntly, we can’t sustain the NHS on debt forever. At some point, Britain’s businesses must start making money, not least because we need the tax revenue to fund the estimated 2.4 million operations cancelled during the pandemic.
But the signs from Whitehall are promising. On Thursday evening the Prime Minister was absolutely explicit, promising that within weeks we will have returned to ‘a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible’.
On Thursday evening the Prime Minister was absolutely explicit, promising that within weeks we will have returned to ‘a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible’
So on July 19, it looks as if we can forget the rule of six, the one-metre rule and the 30-person limit, which is great news for festivals, theatres and wedding planners.
No more bubbles, no more social distancing. No more instructions to work from home either. And above all, no more of those masks, a grim necessity very few of us have learned to love.
What else? Well, without getting too carried away, there’s a decent chance that some of us might get abroad this summer, after all.
In yet another defeat for the Germans — and yes, I know I’m gloating — Spain, Portugal and Greece have roundly rejected Angela Merkel’s scheme to keep British tourists out of Europe. Boris will have been stressing to the German Chancellor the importance of opening up on her visit to Britain yesterday.
The Government is reportedly close to agreeing a deal with Brussels, allowing fully jabbed Britons to use the NHS app as a vaccine passport, which means we can visit Europe without punitive restrictions.
And now for the really good news, on which Britain’s future really depends. The economic outlook, which I feared would be utterly bleak as Covid receded, is rather sunnier than most of us expected.
According to the latest projection by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Britain’s economy is set to grow by 7.1 per cent this year, the fastest rate since 1941. And next year should see the boom continue, with growth of about 5.5 per cent.
Other figures tell the same story. The Confederation of British Industry’s quarterly index of manufacturing output, which has been running since 1975, has just shown the biggest surge in its history.
And some analysts estimate that British households have saved a staggering £190 billion in lockdown — money people can hardly wait to spend on restaurant meals, holidays, evenings out and other consumer pleasures.
What about jobs? Well, the end of the furlough scheme will probably bring short-term pain for some. But in huge numbers of businesses there is currently a staff shortage — one that is actually limiting their capacity.
The truth is that, at 4.7 per cent, unemployment is nowhere near as bad as many predicted it would be a year ago, and not remotely as bad as it was in, say, the 1980s.
For four months in a row, the jobless rate has fallen. And the Bank of England’s outgoing chief economist Andy Haldane has even warned that inflation — currently 2.1 per cent, but likely to rise to about 4 per cent by the end of the year — could prove a greater threat than unemployment, with too much money chasing too few goods.
That’s a useful reminder there are bound to be bumps in the road. The current house price explosion — up by 13.4 per cent in the past year, the fastest rise since 2004 — is bound to end eventually. And if it coincides with a spike in interest rates to cope with inflation, then that could spell trouble for some homeowners.
But this is the kind of nuts-and-bolts issue normal governments face all the time. It’s a return to normal life — hardly an existential threat.
And here’s another reason to be cheerful: Brexit. Yes, you read that right. Some readers may recall that I voted Remain, largely because I was worried about the economic dangers.
But the sky patently hasn’t fallen in, as so many Remainers predicted. Indeed, just this week Nissan unveiled plans for a new £1 billion factory in the North-East, creating some 6,200 jobs and making 100,000 electric-car batteries a year.
Just this week Nissan unveiled plans for a new £1 billion factory in the North-East, creating some 6,200 jobs and making 100,000 electric-car batteries a year
As the Mail’s Alex Brummer wrote yesterday, this was the most important industrial decision taken by a major international giant in Britain since the referendum in 2016. And it’s also a victory for Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda, as well a sign to the world that Britain is well and truly open for business.
Nissan’s chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta even said: ‘Brexit gives us the competitive advantage not only within the United Kingdom but outside the United Kingdom also.’ Quite a change of tone for the company, as he admitted: ‘Brexit, which we thought is a risk . . . has become an opportunity for Nissan.’
No doubt there will be more Brexit twists to come, such as the recent row about Brussels’s absurd attempt to stop Britain selling sausages to Northern Ireland.
But there are welcome signs even here that the EU are beginning to yield to reason, since they have agreed to a three-month extension for the much-maligned British sausage, and are beginning to talk about cooperation rather than obstruction.
The hysterical cultural politics of the past 12 months, inflamed by the reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, also seem to be receding from view.
This time last year, I was writing in these pages about the appalling violence and vandalism in London, where the Cenotaph had to be boarded up to protect it from Left-wing activists.
The headlines were dominated by Black Lives Matter, and all the talk was of intractable division and supposedly ‘systemic’ racism.
But in the past few weeks, I’ve detected a distinct weariness with this whole poisonous, cynical and exploitative business. And this brings me back to England’s footballers.
Some are white, some black, some mixed-race. But really, who cares? Watching them on Tuesday evening, nobody could possibly question their skill, spirit and love of country — all of which would have made their predecessors proud.
After so many lectures about Britain’s supposed racism, how heartening it is to see England’s top goalscorer, Raheem Sterling, hailed as a hero by the Wembley faithful.
And how splendid to see the manager, Gareth Southgate, an impressively articulate, decent and patriotic man, redeemed after his penalty agony against the Germans a quarter of a century ago.
How splendid to see the manager, Gareth Southgate, an impressively articulate, decent and patriotic man, redeemed after his penalty agony against the Germans a quarter of a century ago
Patriotism is a dirty word in liberal intellectual circles, I know. Earlier this year, when Labour’s beleaguered leader Keir Starmer floated plans to embrace the Union Flag, some of his own MPs accused him of flirting with the far-Right.
But one of the many wonderful things about Tuesday night was that it reminded us just how patriotic most ordinary Britons are. Despite all the hullabaloo of the past year, most of us cherish our history, love our country and are proud to fly our flag.
And let’s face it, we have so much to be patriotic about, don’t we? Not just Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish, but a world-leading vaccine programme, a booming economy, the end of restrictions and a renewed sense of national optimism.
If tonight’s match goes to plan, and the Wembley crowd roars our boys to victory on Wednesday, then next Sunday England could be just 90 minutes away from our first title since 1966. Now that really would be the stuff of patriotic dreams.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First things first. Bring on the Ukrainians!
Meet the ‘world’s most beautiful WAG’ plus everything else you need to know about England’s Euro 2020 opponents Ukraine ahead of tonight’s quarter-final
THE TV STAR
Stunning blonde Vlada, 25, is married to Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, 24. She is a presenter for a Ukrainian TV football station and has been called the world’s most beautiful WAG.
The two married in August last year after Oleksandr proposed inside the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, and she is expecting their first child. They have been dubbed Ukraine’s ‘Posh and Becks’.
Stunning blonde Vlada, 25, (pictured) is married to Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, 24
Model, dancer and actress Christina Yaremchuk, 27, is the wife of striker Roman.
They have been together since he was 16 and she 18 — Christina says she approached him saying: ‘Boy, you have beautiful eyes’. Married since 2017, they have a toddler son. Roman previously played for Dynamo Kiev and now plays for Gent in Belgium. She has worked as a fitness coach and has spoken out against WAGs who live off their boyfriends.
Model, dancer and actress Christina Yaremchuk, 27, (pictured) is the wife of striker Roman
A mother of three young sons, Margarita Stepanenko has been married for eight years to midfielder Taras, who plays for Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk. A local celebrity, she has her own clothing brand and shares her favourite recipes online.
A mother of three young sons, Margarita Stepanenko has been married for eight years to midfielder Taras, who plays for Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk
Married to midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi since 2016, Roksana, 27, is settled in Bergamo, Italy, while he plays for its club Atalanta. Their daughter Olivia was born in 2019. She says that she is planning to open a shop in the city.
Roksana, who was raised in Sevastopol — the largest city and a major port in the Crimea, said: ‘Sitting at home is not my style. Since Italy is a country of textiles, it is a sin not to get in touch with fashion and clothing.’
Married to midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi since 2016, Roksana, 27, is settled in Bergamo, Italy, while he plays for its club Atalanta
Mother of two Tania is the model wife of defender Yevhenii Makarenko, 30, who plays for the Belgian team Kortrijk on loan from Anderlecht. Their children are Emi, born in 2019, and Alexander, born in 2017. The family lives in Brussels.
Mother of two Tania is the model wife of defender Yevhenii Makarenko, 30, who plays for the Belgian team Kortrijk on loan from Anderlecht
THE CHARITY WORKER
Inna Yarmolenko married West Ham forward Andriy in 2011 and they have three young sons. She has worked as an interpreter at a charitable foundation and says that in the early years, ‘my earnings helped us a lot’. Andriy now earns £115,000 a week.
Inna Yarmolenko married West Ham forward Andriy in 2011 and they have three young sons
GERMAN REF WITH A TOUGH REPUTATION
Let’s hope Felix Brych is not a man to bear a grudge — the German will referee tonight’s clash just four days after England knocked his nation out the Euros.
Brych, 45, hails from Bavaria and is one of the best-known referees in world football.
Some of his decisions have been controversial: in the 2018 World Cup he didn’t give Serbia a penalty against Switzerland even though it appeared that striker Aleksandar Mitrovic was being held down by two Swiss players.
Let’s hope Felix Brych is not a man to bear a grudge — the German will referee tonight’s clash just four days after England knocked his nation out the Euros
UKRAINE KIT’S PATRIOTIC MESSAGE
The yellow and blue of the Ukraine kit may be a sunny ode to the national flag, which represents blue skies above a field of wheat. But this particular kit, unveiled shortly before the tournament began, has fuelled ongoing and bitter rivalries with Moscow.
This is because it includes an outline map with the peninsula of Crimea — annexed by Russia in 2014 but which is still internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
Look closer and you will see the phrase ‘Glory to Ukraine’ on the back of the neck. The shirts did also carry the phrase ‘Glory to the Heroes’ before Russia complained and they were removed.
The slogans, rooted in Ukraine’s anti-Soviet insurgency, are used as official military greetings in Ukraine, and were a rallying cry by protesters who forced out pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Cue complaints to UEFA from angry Russia. The Kremlin’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, wrote: ‘Sport is not a battlefield, rather it is a field for competition. Become sporting heroes and you will have glory. Do it that way and not with nationalist slogans.’
MANAGER WITH THE GOLDEN BOOT
Ukrainian manager Andriy Shevchenko, 44, has much in common with England’s Gareth Southgate — intelligent, always immaculately turned out (in Giorgio Armani suits made by his Italian fashion designer pal) and a lover of the UK.
His brief sojourn as a Chelsea player may not have been an overwhelming success, but Shevchenko won the 2004 Ballon d’Or while at Italian club AC Milan. He still has a house in Surrey, speaks fluent English and Italian and often plays golf with John Terry and Jamie Redknapp.
Curiously, while his English may be good, he is not so confident with Ukrainian — his native tongue is Russian (like nearly 30 per cent of his countrymen).
Married to American former model Kristen Pazik, he has glamour and sporting history at his side — her father was former New York Yankees pitcher Mike Pazik. A mother-of-four, she often shares photographs of her sons — the second of whom, Kristian, is on Chelsea’s books at just 14, and has been touted as a future England star.
Ukrainian manager Andriy Shevchenko, 44, has much in common with England’s Gareth Southgate — intelligent, always immaculately turned out (in Giorgio Armani suits made by his Italian fashion designer pal) and a lover of the UK
DANGER MEN FOR ENGLAND HEROES
The team danger man is well-known to England fans, West Ham United’s Andriy Yarmolenko. And then, of course, there’s the familiar face of team captain (and talisman) Oleksandr Zinchenko, a Manchester City player and team-mate of England’s man of the moment, Raheem Sterling, along with his fellow England men Kyle Walker, John Stones and Phil Foden.
Another star player is Ruslan Malinovskyi. He has an extra incentive to get on the pitch; his wife reportedly bakes him a cake for every goal scored.
MAKE MINE A SHOT OF BURNING WATER
Some of Ukraine’s biggest exports include steel, grain and sunflower seeds.
But possibly not chicken Kiev. Yes, it is a Ukrainian dish named after the capital, but its origins are much debated. One line of thought is that it was invented by a Parisian chef to impress a Russian tsar 200 years ago.
The best-known national foods are borscht, a beetroot soup, and varenyky (dumplings) along with a side dish of salo, better known as lard, which is popular served on bread with borscht. The national drink is a moonshine called Horilka — translated as ‘burning water’ as it can be flavoured with chilli — of which the nation drinks an average 27 pints a year.
However, younger drinkers have moved away from the often home-brewed spirit, and prefer beer. Cheers!
The Neil Diamond classic that’s England’s anthem
It’s the sound that stopped Harry Kane in his tracks as the final whistle blew at Wembley — 40,000 England fans roaring out Neil Diamond’s classic hit Sweet Caroline.
Even Gareth Southgate gave it a name-check: ‘To hear [the fans] at the end I mean, you can’t beat a bit of Sweet Caroline, can you? That’s a belter, really.’
So how did a catchy 1969 U.S. hit overtake Three Lions as the sound of the 2020 Euros? The song’s popularity as a sporting anthem appears to lie across the Atlantic; NFL’s Carolina Panthers and Boston Red Sox baseball team came first, in the mid 1990s. And from there it grew.
Fans of Reading FC started singing the hit back in the club’s record-breaking 2005-6 season. Oxford United have played it after every home victory since 2016, and Arsenal and Aston Villa fans also like to belt it out.
Diamond biographer Jon Bream says: ‘Once you get to the chorus, everyone seems to know the lyrics.’
It’s the sound that stopped Harry Kane in his tracks as the final whistle blew at Wembley — 40,000 England fans roaring out Neil Diamond’s classic hit Sweet Caroline
Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along
Hands, touching hands
Reaching out, touching me, touching you
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
But now I…
…look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely
We filled it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when holding you
One, touching one
Reaching out, touching me, touching you
Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
Oh no, no
Good times never seemed so good
I believe they never could
Good times never seemed so good.
Was that really a bra?
Hero striker Artem Dobvkyk headed his team into the quarter-finals with an extra-time winner against Sweden on Tuesday night. But whipping off his shirt for a post-goal celebration, the 24-year-old revealed something surprising underneath . . . a bra, or what looked suspiciously like one. In fact, think less crop top, more sophisticated piece of technology designed to help players perform at optimum level.
The £200 GPS tracking devices are popular in elite sport and allow coaches and analysts to track performance. Liverpool and Manchester United have been known to use them, as have England.
Eyes peeled for any chest-baring antics from Southgate’s squad.
Hero striker Artem Dobvkyk headed his team into the quarter-finals with an extra-time winner against Sweden on Tuesday night
What their fans chant
The chants of the opposition may ring louder than usual, thanks to Covid restrictions preventing England supporters travelling to Rome.
So what will they be saying? A rude anti-Putin chant is very popular, as are the Glory To Ukraine, Glory To The Heroes slogans, both team mottos. Another song is associated with the fanatical Ukrainian Ultras (accused by Moscow of being neo-Nazis) and talks of fighting for independence and stabbing Russians.
What else could they sing?
Football’s coming home
Futbol povertayet’sia dodomu
Back of the net
Are you blind, ref?
Chy ty slipuy, suddia
Ukraine coach’s life… in London
By Kamal Sultan for the Daily Mail
Glamour pair: Shevchenko and wife
For the past 15 years, Ukraine’s manager Andriy Shevchenko and his supermodel wife Kristen Pazik have called London home.
But Shevchenko, who has played for Chelsea, is looking to crush the hopes of the nation when his team play England tonight.
He is one of Ukraine’s greatest ever players and remains their record goalscorer with 48 goals in 111 caps. But he enjoyed the best part of his illustrious playing career in Italy. For AC Milan, he netted 175 goals in 322 games.
He met his American wife Miss Pazik, 42, at a party in 2002 and they married two years later. The couple have four sons together – Jordan, 16, Kristian, 14, Alexander, 8, and Rider Gabriel, 7.
The family has lived in London since Shevchenko’s move to Chelsea in 2006. But he struggled to find form playing for the west London club and left in 2009.
When he was later asked if the move had been a mistake, Shevchenko, 44, said: ‘Everything is as it should have happened, so it happened. I have been living in London for the past 13 years. My family is there, plus I wanted my children to go to school there.’
His son Kristian, who was born in London, will have a difficult time choosing what team to support tonight as he is part of Chelsea’s academy and could qualify to represent England in the future.
Shevchenko has guided Ukraine to their first European Championship quarter-final. Speaking about tonight’s clash in Rome, he said: ‘We are fully aware how tough this game is going to be. They are incredibly difficult to score against but their strength shouldn’t scare us.’
At odds: Sarah and Stefan
A game of two (other) halves for this couple
By Lizzie Deane for the Daily Mail
For England fan Sarah Nutbrown it will be a case of ‘who’s sleeping on the sofa’ after she and her Ukrainian partner watch the quarter-final together.
Miss Nutbrown has been cheering for Ukraine during their Euro 2020 games so far, even wearing boyfriend Stefan Yuri Furgala team’s yellow and blue stripes.
But the 27-year-old teaching assistant said her England shirt would definitely be back on for tonight’s game, leaving the household divided. ‘The shirts have been washed – they’re ready,’ she said.
‘For both of us, it’ll be brilliant to watch the teams play. But it’ll be who’s sleeping on the sofa on Saturday night.’
Sports coach Mr Yuri Furgala, 23, said he was feeling ‘nervous’ ahead of the game. Tensions between the couple, from Nottingham, may be eased by the presence of Miss Nutbrown’s six-year-old, Rosie.
Miss Nutbrown added while one of them was inevitably going to end up gutted, they would be pleased either way for the winner.