Ukraine Team To Get A Little Help From Top Fan

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's football team will get a little help from its top fan during their World Cup quarter-final against Italy, with President Viktor Yushchenko due to attend the historic match.

Ukraine's football team will get a little help from its top fan during their World...

"Today the president is heading to Germany for a few hours in a blitz visit," said Yushchenko's spokeswoman, Iryna Gerashchenko Friday.

Ukraine's squad had appealed this week for the nation's fan-in-chief to attend the match in Hamburg, saying his presence would provide players with "inspiration and will boost the belief in our strength."

"We're certain that your visit will also help to advance our bid with Poland to host the finals of (UEFA) Euro 2012," said a letter to Yushchenko signed by team captain Andriy Shevchenko, head coach Oleg Blokhin and the head of Ukraine's football federation Grygoriy Surkis.

The Ukrainian president has closely followed the team's progress, calling Surkis on the day of each match and congratulating the team on its wins against Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Switzerland.

The support "without a doubt helps and inspires the players," the team's letter said.

Ukraine is making its first appearance at the World Cup since gaining independence and its spot at the quarter-finals is the best result of any ex-Soviet republic since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a regular attendee at Germany's matches. Prince Felipe of Spain was at the Spain-France match earlier this week and Britain's Prince William was at the England-Paraguay match earlier in the Cup.

Source: AFP