Ukraine's opening victory against Sweden was described as a "fairy tale" and a reward for five long years of preparation in a press conference at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium to mark the conclusion of the first set of UEFA EURO 2012 matches in the country.
The comments were made by Grigoriy Surkis, Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) president and UEFA Executive Committee member, who was joined by Borys Kolesnikov, Ukrainian deputy prime minister, and the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament director Ukraine, Markiyan Lubkivskyi. They were speaking the day after the stadium hosted Ukraine's 2-1 Group D win, and following the rest of the opening matches in the country's other host cities of Lviv, Kharkiv and Donetsk.
"I want to thank everyone. We had a great holiday in Ukraine, a great celebration [with] this fairy tale," he said. "I want to thank the supporters who came to the Olympic Stadium, to the first game in a beautiful renovated stadium. It was great joy for our fans because our team won."
He emphasised the duration of the work ahead of UEFA EURO 2012. "In 2007 in Cardiff, Poland and Ukraine were awarded the tournament. It was a great moment, but the next three years were difficult. However, [President] Viktor Yanukovych and his team did amazing work. In April 2010 it was hard to imagine what we have now."
Deputy prime minister Kolesnikov added: "The tournament has started and these years of preparation passed very quickly." Praising the efforts of those involved in the construction of stadiums, airports and roads, he said: "Lots of visitors have now come, they have spoken to their compatriots, and we expect even more tourists and spectators."
Lubkivskiy, who made presentations on behalf of the local organising committee to both his colleagues on the podium, gave his progress report, saying: "Four of our 16 games have taken place, there has been an unforgettable atmosphere, we have had positive feedback from fans and journalists. A lot of people who have come to Ukraine have enjoyed the wonderful welcome and hospitality, and have shared in the celebration of the victories.
"The volunteers have helped this football celebration. The teams are satisfied with their training facilities in Ukraine. They have the best possible conditions for resting and training."
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