The UEFA EURO 2012 Follow the Trophy tour came to an end in Odesa on Saturday and Ukraine skipper Andriy Shevchenko is among those hailing the journey a resounding success.
The roadshow set out from Warsaw on 20 April and visited 14 cities across the two UEFA EURO 2012 co-host countries, Poland and Ukraine. Over 200,000 people visited over the course of the trip, with a great many of them joining at times snaking queues for the opportunity to have photos taken with the main attraction: the Henri Delaunay Cup.
There was plenty to divert their gaze, with games on mini-pitches, shot-speed competitions, freestyle jugglers and in Wroclaw even live music headlined by Oceana, singer of the official UEFA EURO 2012 song. Autograph hunters never had to look too hard for their next entry, with Polish favourite Andrzej Szarmach, Davor Šuker and ex-boxer Dariusz Michalczewski among the famous faces that leant their support.
Another, Andriy Shevchenko, admitted to being impressed by the Follow the Trophy Tour experience. "It is very important for fans to feel close to the tournament," said the Ukraine forward. "Even when I lifted the trophy, it was emotional for me. It's very good the Trophy Tour has taken place across the whole of Ukraine, not just in the EURO host cities. The fans who won't be able to watch the games have the chance to experience the European Championship a little bit."
Polish tournament director Adam Olkowicz added: "The incredible success of the trophy tour demonstrates how eagerly Polish and Ukrainians are awaiting the start of UEFA EURO 2012. It was a truly emotional experience for tens of thousands to come close to the Henri Delaunay Cup and to be pictured with it, offering them tangible memories of such passionate moments."
There are sure to be more passionate moments when the trophy is next on display, in Warsaw, where Poland kick the tournament off against 2004 champions Greece.
For more from Shevchenko, and the thoughts of Davor Šuker, one of the stars of EURO '96, view the video above.
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