Road Trip Kiev: Root root root for the home team

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KIEV — When Andriy Shevchenko scored his second goal, putting Ukraine into the lead for good and telling Zlatan Ibrahimovic “anything you can do, I can do better,” the crowd in the Kiev Fan Zone exploded. But perhaps not quite as much as one might think.

Sure, they were excited, but it was a brief moment of ecstasy. More “oh cool, we’re winning” than “AHHHHHHFKLDSJFKLJAJKSAJIOI!!!!!!!!” There wasn’t any throwing of beer in the air to celebrate, despite our preparations. There wasn’t the usual insanity you picture tied to important goals (except for this kid, who is beyond adorable).

Perhaps Shevi’s second goal came too quickly on the heels of his first and the crowd was still a little stunned. Or perhaps it’s because the country isn’t used to winning — they are ranked just 52nd, according to FIFA’s June poll — and didn’t expect to prevail here (but c’mon guys, it’s Sweden). Or maybe the crowd recognized that there was still half an hour of defending to do and wanted to save the celebration for the end. (A nice theory, but one that falls flat giving the lack of jubilation after the final whistle.)

Whatever the case may be, the fact remains: Shevi scored, a cheer when up, then quickly died away. It was, all and all, a little disappointing.

Luckily, there are always more games. Ukraine plays France in four days. Should the Yellow-Blues go ahead, I hope there’s a bit more pandemonium. Carlsberg is not that good. It deserves to be thrown in the air. Celebrate, Kiev.