At the age of 35, Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko played the first European Championship match of his illustrious, but increasingly forgotten career and he did it in his own hometown. It was widely assumed that he was only still leading the the national team at this advanced footballing age, years removed from his Ballon d'Or-winning prime and even his more recent years of expensive disappointment, as a last hurrah for a respected ambassador. But then Andriy Shevchenko scored both goals in Ukraine's 2-1 win over Sweden, putting him back on top once again, even if just for one more day.
From his glory days with Milan, where he was twice Italy's top scorer, to his steep fall with Chelsea, where he was the original Fernando Torres and cost a then British record £30 million for three years of belittling jokes, Sheva has always carried himself with a gentle dignity. For the last three years, his career has quietly kept on where it first started, Dynamo Kiev.
Shevchenko shattered that quiet that on the final day of the first group stage matches, though, toppling the younger Zlatan Ibrahimovic's efforts to carry the Swedes in much the same way. For a man who has scored more goals than most, he seemed just as surprised as everyone else that his headers twice found the back of the net after he put an early chance wide. After all, even Ukraine manager Oleg Blokhin has been ripping the lack of quality in his team to the press. But after the final whistle blew on disregarded Ukraine's first win in the first Euros they've ever appeared in (thanks to their co-host qualification exemption), an emotional Sheva was given a hero's ovation.