Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Illya Zabarnyi hails ‘warriors that defend our country’ ahead of Ukraine opener

Ukraine’s Illya Zabarnyi started all bar one Premier League game for Bournemouth last season (Mike Egerton/PA)
Ukraine’s Illya Zabarnyi started all bar one Premier League game for Bournemouth last season (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ukraine defender Illya Zabarnyi paid tribute to “the warriors that defend our country” before his nation’s Euro 2024 opener against Romania on Monday.

The 21-year-old centre-half, signed by Bournemouth for a reported £24million from Dynamo Kyiv in January, said it was because of them that he and his team-mates were able to compete in Germany.

Ukraine booked their place at a major tournament for the first time since being invaded by Russia after beating Iceland 2-1 in their play-off in Wroclaw in March.

Illya Zabarnyi joined Bournemouth from Dynamo Kyiv in January
Illya Zabarnyi joined Bournemouth from Dynamo Kyiv in January (Nigel French/PA)

Zabarnyi, who started in all bar one of Bournemouth’s Premier League games last season, said: “For me it’s a great honour to represent Ukraine. You know what times we are going through right now.

“I’ve been through many things both in football and my life and the fact that I am here is down to the warriors that defend our country. They’re incredible people.

“It’s very important because we have war in our country. It’s very difficult for me. When you wake up you think what might have happened to your friends and your near and dear. We wish them safety.

“Of course it can add pressure for all of us, but it can add great motivation to come on to the pitch and do everything possible.”

Ukraine could be without Everton defender Vitaliy Mykolenko for their opener against Group E rivals Romania in Munich due to an ankle injury.

Romania have qualified for their first major tournament since Euro 2016 when current head coach Edward Iordanescu’s father, Anghel, was in charge of the national side.

Edward Iordanescu, whose side were unbeaten in qualifying, told a press conference: “It is a dream come true, a great story to have qualified after such a long time.

“After eight years, we are back among the elite and that is what we wanted.”