“The end of a fairy tale,” read a headline in the Gazeta po-Kievsky daily.
“Ukraine’s squad couldn’t extend the fairy tale in Germany having lost to the Italians 0-3. But it doesn’t matter. The only thing we can say is: Thank you!” the paper said.
Although the Ukraine has only been independent form the Soviet Union since 1991, and have only attempted to qualify for three World Cup Finals in total, their debut on the world stage was very important to the people of the Eastern European country.
“For the first time, even though the squad lost, there is no bitterness of defeat,” Yuryi Rybchinsky, a poet, said on “Third Time,” a late-night sport talk show.
“We ended up in the last eight while ranked 45,” he added poetically.
On the same show, Olexander Chubarov, a former Ukraine trainer was perhaps slightly ahead of himself given the relatively easy group the Ukraine had to get through to make the second round.
“We were among the eight strongest teams in the world,” said Chubarov.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, flew into Hamburg to watch the match, and went down to the dressing rooms after the match to congratulate the Ukrainian squad on their achievements on debut.
“Today every Ukrainian can be proud of our team,” Yushchenko’s office quoted him as saying.
Fans who had watched the tournament unfold from at home in Kiev were also positive about the five matches they got to see their team play.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” said a local supporter.
“But they defied all expectations to get this far. So I’m not crushed,” he added.