Ukraine’s Euro 2024 is More Than Just a Game

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When Ukraine faces Romania in their Euro 2024 opener, it won’t be just about football. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s national team has become a symbol of resilience and hope for a nation under siege.

Head coach Sergiy Rebrov understands the weight on his team’s shoulders. “Football isn’t the most important thing now,” Rebrov told CNN Sport. “But our success gives people in Ukraine positive emotions.” This tournament marks Ukraine’s first major qualification since the war began in 2022, and Rebrov’s squad is ready to showcase their nation’s spirit on the European stage.

Ukraine secured their spot after a tough qualifying run, finishing third behind England and Italy, but clinching their place by defeating Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland in the playoffs. President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the team, stating they showed the world Ukraine’s unyielding spirit.

Rebrov, who took over as head coach in 2023, has guided a promising group led by Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk and Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko. Yet, managing the team during wartime hasn’t been easy. “Traveling to games is hard,” Rebrov admits, as Ukraine can’t play or train at home due to the constant threat of violence and damaged stadiums.

Ukraine Euro 2024

Communication is crucial in these trying times. Rebrov often relays messages from frontline soldiers and shows players videos of children affected by the war to remind them of their purpose. “These videos bring tears,” he says. “They motivate us differently.”

Ukraine’s participation in Euro 2024 is already a victory. It symbolizes their enduring presence despite the ongoing conflict. Rebrov wants his team to make Ukraine proud, urging them to show the spirit of their nation without setting specific goals for progression.

In a time of escalating violence, sport plays a pivotal role in boosting morale. Ukraine’s team, alongside other national figures like boxer Oleksandr Usyk and tennis star Elina Svitolina, continue to draw attention to their country’s plight. Rebrov emphasizes the broader impact: “Our dream is to end this war and rebuild.”

As Euro 2024 unfolds, Ukraine’s journey will be watched not just for their performance, but for the powerful message they carry: resilience, hope, and the unbreakable spirit of a nation.

Osama Asghar

Osama is a sports industry journalist with a keen interest in covering sports team management, reporting transfer news, creating stories in the gaming world, and providing insights. With a background in sports journalism and a good experience playing as a point guard in his university's basketball team, his take and perspective is very meaningful.

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