It’s the ukulele capital of the world. They love them so much that after the visit of their favourite film star George Formby in 1958, they actually put the “uke” in Ukraine by changing the name of their country to incorporate the tiny instrument.
“Let’s not make a joke about tiny instruments and rapid wrist action” joshed England Manager Roy Hodgson, whose idea it was for the team to become the unofficial Ukulele Ensemble of Great Britain. “Look what happened to John Terry after just a few careless words. Joking apart, Ukraine is one of the cheeriest of the former Socialist Republics, and we look forward to greeting their famously jolly crowds with our new version of the cold war favourite “It’s raining nukes. I mean ukes.”
Meanwhile, other members of the squad have been practising some old favourites, as the Eastern European city of Chicken Kiev, whose passion for global harmony is as great as its devotion to garlic-infused poultry dishes prepares to welcome England’s first ever strumming soccer squad with a warm and inclusive musical welcome and free salad (selected outlets only)
Selected members of both countries' teams will go solo as part of the pre-match entertainment. Theo Walcott will perform the old Formby favourite “I’m hanging from a lamppost at the corner of the street”. And Ukrainian captain Andriy Shevchenko’s “When I’m ethnic cleansing” is sure to bring appreciative smiles.