On March 5th, 2014, Ukraine prepared to play the United States in a friendly soccer match as the crisis in the Crimea continued to unfold. Below, Fusion contributor Matt Negrin juxtaposes the political events with the drama of the game.
An envoy from the U.N. was confronted at gunpoint in Ukraine by men shouting “Putin! Putin!”, and Ukraine played a soccer game against the United States.
Hillary Clinton said Vladimir Putin’s rationale for invading Ukraine was “reminiscent” of what Hitler reasoned in the 1930s, and the U.S. national team called up their captain Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders to play against Ukraine.
A TV anchor for Russia Today resigned on the air because she said she didn’t want to be a part of Putin's propaganda, and a bar opened 45 minutes early in Seattle so Dempsey’s fans could watch.
Secretary of State John Kerry told Russia to call its troops back after the U.N. envoy was accosted by armed men, and Ukraine’s national team stood in a line on the field and sang their country’s anthem which includes the line “Ukraine has not yet perished.”
President Obama called Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain to figure out what to do about the invasion in Ukraine, and a moment of silence was observed before the kickoff for those killed since the crisis began.
The head of NATO said it would halt its meetings with Russia, and the owner of the bar in Seattle barreled behind the counter after Ukraine scored and yelled, “What a horrible start — they’re getting dominated — it should be fucking three to nothing, dude!”
Dozens of people were injured as pro-Russian forces retook a local government headquarters, and the owner of the bar celebrated as ESPN’s feed blacked out with Ukraine up by two goals screaming, “Yes! They’re playing so badly they decided to shut it off!”
Peace talks to end the violence in Crimea died because Russia wouldn’t recognize the new Ukrainian leaders, and Ukraine beat the United States 2-0 in a nearly empty stadium in Cyprus.