Sweden may not have conquered UEFA EURO 2012, but their fans certainly have conquered Kyiv. In terms of fan count, Tuesday's final group match against France is already a rout in the Blågult's favour.
For the Group D opener against co-hosts Ukraine, Sweden were always going to be at a numerical disadvantage. But who could tell? The majority of Ukrainians were waving and wearing Sweden's familiar yellow and blue.
The same colours dominated the stadium and the city on Friday as the Swedish presence dwarved the English contingent. Now there's one game to go, and the biggest win of all seems at hand: I have seen only a handful of French supporters in Kyiv as yet.
The fans here would have loved their team to progress, but that's part of football – no one ever sees their side win all the time. The Swedes in Kyiv haven't let defeat stand in the way of a good party. The Swedish corner of the fan zone on the central avenue of Khreschatyk is the prime example.
I went there the other night to meet ten friends who had come to town to watch the Blågult play. The Swedish corner was heaving, and not only with Swedes. True, the English guys next to us were a bit disappointed that there were fewer female fans from Sweden than they'd hoped, but they still looked in good spirits.
When the Swedes led the chants of "Stå upp, vi är gul och blå", it didn't matter who wore yellow and blue or not. Regardless of nationality, people stood up in a joint celebration.
The Swedes – supporters as well as players – deserve to leave the tournament with at least a point. On paper, France may appear the most difficult opponents for that to happen, yet count on the fans to do their bit. They're already winners on the streets of Kyiv.
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