Euro 2012: Will Ukraine Become the Feel Good Story of the Tournament?

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 11, 2012

KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 11:  Andriy Shevchenko of Ukraine celebrates victory at the final whistle during the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between Ukraine and Sweden at The Olympic Stadium on June 11, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It all went down like a fairytale at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on Monday.

After going down a goal to Sweden in their first Group D game, the home crowd went crazy thanks to their national football hero, Andriy Shevchenko.

Shevchenko scored in the 55th minute, three minutes after Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Sweden the lead, and then once again in the 62nd minute to win the match for Ukraine.

The win also put Ukraine at the top of the Group D table with three points, two ahead ahead of England and France who drew in the their match in Donetsk on Monday.

With the group wide open and the home support behind them throughout the tournament, it is very possible that Ukraine can go far in the tournament and surprise everyone, including themselves.

The Yellow-Blues are a mix of wily old veterans and young players looking to make their mark on the European stage.

Older players like Shevchenko (35), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (33), and Andriy Voronin (33), are all in the latter stages of their careers and are looking for one last chance to take the nation by storm.

The three players were in their prime during Ukraine's 2006 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal run in Germany, where they lost to Italy in the final eight.

All three of those players scored moves to big European clubs within the next year after that tournament with Shevchenko to Chelsea, Tymoshchuk to Zenit St. Petersburg and Voronin to Liverpool.

Now with the three in the twilight of their careers, they could be on their way along with a new group of Ukrainian footballers to creating memories in their fans' minds for decades to come.

Up ahead for Ukraine are France and England and with a win in one of those games the team will advance into the knockout round.

A run into the knockout round will not only capture the hearts of the Ukrainian people, but it will captivate the rest of the world as well.

One can only dream at the moment, but if the unlikely Ukrainian success continues, the whole world will be not only watching but rooting for Shevchenko and company.