Donetsk airport is full of weary and bleary England fans this morning, making their long way home. For Tony and I it will be a 14 hour journey via Kiev. A long day. But made sweet by the knowledge that this time England are staying put! Well done team!
It may not have been a great performance, but it was good enough. I thought Gerrard was outstanding, he was at the heart of everything. The Rooney-Welbeck partnership on the other hand didn't seem to have the edge that Carroll offered against Sweden.
The atmosphere inside the ground was incredible. We weren't in the main England group, instead we were surrounded by Ukraine fans, behind Joe Hart's (1st half) goal. The noise of the home fans was huge, waves if sound crashing around the stadium. In judging England's performance don't forget this was very much an away game. But for all their noise the home fans were always friendly. They watched politely as we sang God Save the Queen and shook our hands in friendship at the end, wishing us and England Good Luck. And this had been the theme of the whole evening. After a short visit to the Golden Lion pub, the England fans' base camp (quick question: why do we still sing songs about German bombers over Coventry?), we headed for the ground on our own - two red shirts. in a flood of Ukrainian yellow. And what a struggle it was to get through the flood! We were stopped again and again so that home fans could have their photos taken with us. At one point we had a queue of four groups waiting to pose with us! All smiles, handshakes and the occasional kiss!
And so our Ukrainian trip is pretty much over. The whole thing has been great fun and very easy. We ve been made welcome every where we ve been: Ukraine has such a lot to offer - I really would come back here on holiday! Not least for the lovely gardens and cafes of Donetsk.
Our best memories? The kindness of our hosts in Donetsk, Igor and Galyna; the Great Storm before the France/Ukraine match; the Orange parade in Kharkiv; the monster quiz against the Turkish journalist and of course the night in the sanitarium! I must get some of those lovely sheets!