As part of our coverage of the 2012 UEFA European Championships, NESN.com will showcase fans from participating countries.
Ukraine took the easy path to the 2012 UEFA European Championships. As co-host, Ukraine didn’t need to qualify, getting a free pass into the group stage instead. They were promptly bounced from the tournament after three games.
Despite its early exit, Ukraine still had some positive moments. Andriy Shevchenko rolled back the years to score twice in the host’s thrilling opening win against Sweden. But Ukraine fell back to Earth in its next game. A 2-0 loss to France put it in a tough position to qualify for the next round, needing a result against England in the final game.
Here is where the plot thickens. Although Shevchenko is the only Ukrainian to officially score at the tournament, many fans feel the hosts were robbed of a legitimate goal. Striker Marko Devic looked to have equalized against the English, as replays showed the ball to have crossed the line before John Terry hooked it clear. However, with no goal-line technology on hand, the goal was never allowed and Ukraine was eliminated.
Although Ukraine will be disappointed not to have advanced — and furious that what appeared to be a legitimate goal didn’t stand — its supporters were amongst the best in the tournament, creating a terrific atmosphere in every game, and looking pretty good while doing it. You can also enjoy pictures of other countries’ fans in our round-up of Euro 2012 fan photo galleries.