Andriy Shevchenko is not short of memories from his long career, but his two-goal burst to earn Ukraine a 2-1 win against Sweden – and himself the Carlsberg Man of the Match prize – will surely stand with any of them.
The UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts, having waited so long for their finals debut in this competition on home soil at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium, fell behind to Zlatan Ibrahimović's goal early in the second half. But it was a former AC Milan striker, Shevchenko, in the city where he made his name and now plays again for FC Dynamo Kyiv, who then headed in twice to send the stadium, and the whole nation, into raptures and earn all three Group D points.
"I have so many emotions right now," Shevchenko said. "This is fantastic. It's the European Championship, playing at home, the opening match, and we win 2-1. And [it was] well deserved too; we played very well. I am so happy, so emotional. Thanks to all supporters that came to cheer us on. Thanks to the lads for playing a really good game."
Both goals came from well-worked moves, and the 35-year-old said it was no coincidence. "You know, the corners are prepared," Shevchenko revealed. "The rest is the result of the friendly matches we have had. The lads pulled it together today and played a wonderful game, showing such character and some brilliant combinations. We have a good chance of getting to the next round, so now we will concentrate on recovering before the game against France [on Friday].
"Each game we approach like a final," he added. "Today it was the opening game at home, we won and showed outstanding football qualities. We will be preparing for the next game the same way."
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