December 9, 2022

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The Lodz match turned into a national holiday for Ukraine.  "The happiest day since the outbreak of war" Football

The Lodz match turned into a national holiday for Ukraine. “The happiest day since the outbreak of war” Football

– This is the Ukraine that I remember. Beautiful, free, safe, full of smiles – says Lilia, she met at the ŁKS Lodz stadium. She started crying herself. Her hands hold the flag. He shakes her and pulls her towards him. “This flag, these colors…have never been more important,” he says in the following words. It is inconceivable that in the twenty-first century someone starts a war and does not care about any rules. It kills civilians, it shoots hospitals, it demolishes homes, it tears families apart… – a break is needed again. – Bokza, Mariupol, my God … – Another break. – I came to Poland for work eight years ago. Two months later I am going home. To Ivano-Frankivsk. Now that’s impossible. But today, here in front of the stadium, for the first time since the outbreak of war, I feel at home – he says. I haven’t watched the World Cup matches with Scotland and Wales. I am not a fan. Watch husband. and cried. I am with him.

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a house? But in Poland or in Ukraine?

This match is just an excuse to stay together and share your emotions. A stranger hug feels the same way. To roll a flag during the hymn performed by seven-year-old Amelia Anisovich, who a few months ago became famous for singing “I have this strength” in the basement of Kyiv. On the other hand – it is not about the outcome of the match against Armenia, because the League of Nations does not have a great prestige. On the other hand, victories have never been more important for Ukraine. Otherwise Ukrainian TV operator after the first Goal He wouldn’t forget the camera, he wouldn’t let go of his tripod, he wouldn’t start clapping. Otherwise, the journalists would not have fallen into their arms from there. Otherwise, many people would not cry in the stadium. Otherwise, it wouldn’t take that long for the fans to say goodbye to the players. Victory inspires pride and gives hope. Since today he got on the field, tomorrow he can go to the front.

Already two hours before the match, there were a lot of fans around the stadium: women in wreaths, men raising flags. Albert, a native of Kyiv, wrote in his book: “Wherever I am, I will never forget my home.” Wrapped in him, despite the heat, is waiting in the parking lot for the bus with the guys. He has been in Poland for four years. After the outbreak of the war, he wanted to return, but his wife protested and cried. They have a young son. My parents stayed there.

The conversation is interrupted by the noise as the players leave the bus. “Ukraine, Ukraine!” – Dozens of fans shout. Olekandr Zinchenko, the biggest star in z ManchesterWaving to the crowd. “Slava Ukraine!” Albert shouts.

Nice holiday, but I can’t speak. Watch what’s up – smiling little girl selling national team jerseys in front of the stadium. Since the outbreak of the war, it is difficult to obtain them. She has a model from the past championship, that is, with an embroidered country scheme – with the Crimea. Next to him, there is a long line of Lviv Ukrainian beer – the sponsor of the team. zlotys 12 for a half-liter cup. It is blue and yellow. a picnic. Lots of smiles, every now and then someone jumps up, frightened by the sound of trumpets everywhere. But it soon gets serious, because someone is walking with a sign that says Kherson, occupied by the Russians, belongs to Ukraine. Another – “Stop the war.” Next – a cross out of Vladimir Putin and a reminder that 6000 have already died. civilians.

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– a house? But in Poland or in Ukraine? A lot of fans ask when I want to know where they come from. In Poland – Poznan, in Ukraine – Kyiv. in Poland – Warsaw, in Ukraine – Poltava. There are two types of houses. I am comfortable with my neighbor, but the longing for myself is strong. And this fear – does my fear still exist? I meet fans who attended this match, especially from Germany. There they fled the war. They came here to feel like guests for a while.

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“I’ve never carried a gun in my life. How can I help? Here, I help more.”

– I do not remember the first thought after the outbreak of the war, because in a second I had about a hundred. You must come back, and I must bring my father here, and I must bring my sister first, and they will come here and stay with me in Wroclaw, and I will go back there. That this is a joke and there will be no war. It will be and we will all perish. And wait a moment so we can do that. And finally why, what about all this? Sister nations? in this era? – says Roman. He is 26 years old and has been working in Poland since becoming an adult.

– Many of my friends from the construction team went to fight. I didn’t go back because logically it didn’t make sense. I live in western Ukraine, where it is relatively calm, although bombs fall 150 kilometers away. I have never carried a gun in my life. how can I help? There are not enough guns for everyone. I asked my colleagues who are fighting. They wrote to me that they had one rifle out of three. I’m in touch with them all the time and I know I can do more here. I went to bring in refugees, I was a volunteer in the border-I did what I could. I speak Polish well, so I helped with all the formalities. I’d better be here, earn money and pass it on to the Ukrainian army and medicine for civilians. – The most important thing today is that we are all here together. We fight together there, here we encourage and help together, because by buying a ticket for this match, we also support Ukraine. Free Ukraine, please write it down – he says.

In front of the stadium you can buy the shirt of the Ukrainian national team.  Until recently - a rare commodityIn front of the stadium you can buy the shirt of the Ukrainian national team. Until recently – a rare commodity David Simzak

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Our army does not give up, nor do our players. Nobody writes their hand, setting an example for all Ukrainians. Every victory brings us hope. I did not think that there would be so many people here – says 17-year-old Katya, who came to لودód from Rzeszow. The train started at 5 at 12 she was there. – It’s all about unity, but for me the result and the match are also important. I play soccer myself in Heiro Rzeszów, I was previously a soccer player in Vorskły Połtawa. It is the center of Ukraine. Soon the Russians attacked the city. I stayed there for a month after the outbreak of the war, because I could not bear to be separated from my family. They were in danger, I didn’t know what would happen to them. It was unbearable. I’d rather be there with them than be here in suspense. A month later, I did not want to return to Poland, although the sirens still left an imprint on me. Parents insisted. I’m fine here, but it was a very difficult decision. exactly. Maybe too good? I will be back again during summer vacation.

A fight between football fans during the Netherlands-Poland matchA fight between Polish fans at the Rotterdam stadium. bargaining scenes

Football players greeted each other with trembling hands. There are no people untouched by war in the frame

The stands were full a few minutes before the match and the announcer was playing with the fans. You can only see small gaps in the gate sectors. “Slava Ukraine!” – You can hear even before the players leave the field. The screams of the children who lead them to the stadium and the screaming of the fans in the stands. Competitors leave and are surrounded by Ukrainian flags. This is the first moment the fans I watch are crying. She has a beautiful yellow dress in blue flowers. When the anthem is released, the emotions are stronger. Players were affected, too. 12 thousand Ukrainians consist of a proud choir of a little seven-year-old girl in an airy white dress, who at the beginning of the war sang a touching song of “Frozen” and patriotic songs in the shelter, and is now performing the national anthem before the first “at home” match of Ukraine after the outbreak of the war.

It is such a gathering that a few weeks ago football players greeted each other with trembling hands, after training they held their phones and listened to their families, and after matches they checked whether their relatives had enough food to eat and drink. Some haven’t played in months, others have played anyway. There is no immune from war in their staff. specific Oleksandr Petrakov One day after the outbreak, he volunteered for the regional army to take up arms and defend Kyiv. He has heard that there are a lot of young people ready and that he is the only one who can lead Ukraine to the World Cup. Taras Stepanenko, midfielder Shakhtar DonetskWho spent several days with his family in the shelter, received many messages of support from soldiers fighting at the front. When the sirens first sounded, goalkeeper Heorhij Buszczan hid in the Kyiv metro station. Mikocha Matuenko, who did well in the semi-finals with Scotland, fled with the whole family to an underground garage. Likewise, Serhiy Sidorchuk, captain of Dynamo Kyiv. He and his wife slept on the floor and put the children in the car. Many families of Ukrainian football players are still in the country. The attacker’s wife, Artem Dubek, remained to take care of her parents and in-laws. In besieged Kherson, there are Oleksandr Karaov’s parents, and relatives of Mykola Shabarenko lost their home near Donetsk under the bombing.

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Despite the difficult preparations, Ukraine won with Scotland in the semi-finals and was one step away from reaching the world championship. She played one of the best matches against Wales, but lost after an own goal Andrey Yarolenko The referee differs with not imposing a penalty kick. War makes you numb. You don’t quite enjoy anything like you used to. But you also do not despair, although not so long ago you would have cried, says Oksana, who is involved in the game with her husband, sister and fiancé. – I dreamed that there would be 3:. I rarely dream of anything other than war – he adds when there is less than an hour left until the match.

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“It has turned gray, but this is the happiest day since the outbreak of the war”

The score was 3-0 at the end and a great joy. All goals were scored after the break – the first was Ruslan Malinovsky from Atalanta Bergamo, who counted on social media a few days ago: “100 days of war. 12 million people left their homes, 22,000 people died in Mariupol. 641 hospitals, 1123 schools demolished.” Oleksandr Carwaggio scored 2:0, and a few weeks ago he shouted at a press conference when they asked him about the war. The result was determined by Vitaly Mykolenko, who at the beginning of the war wrote to Aritom Dzyuba, the famous Russian footballer: “When you and other rough balls are silent, civilians are killed in Ukraine. All life, and most importantly, your children. And I am happy With that. You will never be forgiven for that.”

Few of the fans started to leave with the final whistle. The rest is left to extend this national holiday. The players arrived at each stand and bid farewell Andrei PyatovWho, having played 102 matches for Ukraine, ended his career. and later Oleksandr Zinchenko He called all the players into the middle of the field. They stood on the line of the central circle facing the stands. They applauded rhythmically and the crowd ignited. Enslaved: Ukraine!

After the match we meet Victoria and her mother, Valeria. They fled from Kyiv to Warsaw shortly after the outbreak of the war.

Valeria: – Within a few months, I turned gray, fearing for my son and husband. But this is the happiest day since the outbreak of the war.