As the clock ticked into extra time and Ukraine’s hopes of overturning a 1-0 deficit against England dwindled on June 19, a sense of dread crept into the hearts of not only Yellow-Blues supporters, but tournament organizers.
Fellow co-host Poland was already out and now Ukraine was, too. Could the locals really be expected to stay interested in the tournament?
The answer came in the eighth minute of the England-Italy quarterfinal at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium on June 24. The chant started spontaneously before spreading out from its origin high above one of the corner flags: “Oo-kry-ee-nah.” It was louder than anything supporters of the participants could muster up. Even the notoriously deafening England fans had to be impressed.