On the eve of the match Ukraine-Sweden my neighbor came to me with a reputable Swedish newspaper in his hands. "I want you to read this. Here they are writing about your country", he said with a smile. Surprised by his first visit in 4 years, I immediately asked, "Are they writing that everything is bad in Ukraine?" "Well, yes. You have nothing but corruption, prostitution and murder on the streets, "- he announced cheerfully. "Then take your newspaper. I will not read it "- I replied, quite tired from all that denigration of Ukraine, which the local press is filled with.
My husband, having come home from work, told me with a smile that his colleagues offered him dinner and overnight after the match. The implication was that after Ukrainian national team loses, his wife and mother-in-law, who are Ukrainians, will show him the second Poltava battle.
Two hours before the game we sat down to supper. My mom seriously asked our 3-year old daughter about the result of the game and without any hesitation she raised her glass of water and shouted: "Bud’mo, Ukraine! Heya Sverie!" (Long live Sweden!). Having applauded, we proudly looked at her. The result of the Ukrainian-Swedish cooperation was simply stunning.
And here it was, the first match of our team. At the first sound of Ukrainian national anthem, I choked and tears rolled down on my cheeks. Strange, I had never been an ardent football fan, but now I felt it so strongly. There was a wild desire for a victory. Our victory!
Certainly I wished our players to succeed, but my mind told me that the victory of Ukraine was NOT REAL.
And suddenly two goals from Shevchenko… Last time I cried THAT much during the birth of our daughter. My husband looked at me with a surprise and smiled. I hugged him tightly and whispered in his ear: "Sweetheart, you must understand, we need this victory. It is very necessary! Everything is well in our country, but Ukraine is in full “chocolate”. My husband nodded and said: "I understand".
For me, just as for many Ukrainians, the victory in this match was one of the few opportunities to show the world that we are not a nation of thieves, prostitutes and racists. Yes, we have that too. Just like other countries. We do not hide flaws, but honestly demonstrate them.
In the photo: Jennie – a daughter of the Ukrainian-Sweden family