Ukraine's woes dominate rest day
By Martyn Herman
GDANSK, Poland (Reuters) - Players, officials and fans took a breather on the first blank day of the European soccer Championship on Wednesday but the rumblings of discontent surrounding co-hosts Ukraine continued.
They joined fellow hosts Poland on the tournament's scrap-heap after losing 1-0 to England the previous night when the major talking point was Marco Devic's 'goal' which was ruled not to have crossed the line.
The sense of injustice in Ukraine would have hardly been diluted by Pierluigi Collina, head of referees at European soccer governing body UEFA, admitting that the goal should have been allowed.
Ukraine is also still dealing with continued protests about the jailing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko with the British government saying it would boycott England's quarter-final with Italy in Kiev on Sunday by not sending any ministers.
When asked if any United Kingdom politicians would be present, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: "No. They're not. It reflects ministers' busy schedules ahead of the Olympics and widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine."
German chancellor Angela Merkel, an avid supporter of the national team, stayed away from all of Germany's three group matches in Ukraine but will attend their quarter-final against Greece in Poland's Gdansk on Friday.
Players and coaches from Germany and Greece have sought to play down the importance of a game which has turned minds at the tournament to the economic crisis affecting many of the nations involved.
Greek media though are relishing the chance of sending a fancied German team home in front of their leader, who is unpopular in Greece for the tough austerity she has imposed on the euro zone country in exchange for its international bailout. Continued...