BRAVE England fans in Ukraine will roar loudly for the Three Lions today – as the country’s boxing legend admitted: “England are among the best in the world.”
The Sun joined England supporters at a buzzing ex-pat pub in Kiev where national hero Vitaly Klitschko is the capital’s mayor.
The heavyweight champ, beaten by Lennox Lewis in 2003, wore his country’s yellow and blue team kit as he said: “Today all Ukrainians, even those who are not very keen on football, are closely following the contest against Gareth Southgate and his men.
“But in all honesty, the game will be the toughest and most challenging for our national team.
“England is one of the best team’s both in Europe and the world.”
Cheery supporters have their pints full and footie shirts ready for battle despite being outnumbered by three million buoyant Ukrainians in the capital.
Former British Army hero Gavin Kuhl, 43, reckons Harry Kane and co will run away 2-0 victors in the anticipated Rome clash.
And he travelled 1,429 miles to be there – just so he could experience the buzz of the big game.
Gav, originally from Cornwall but living in Oslo, Norway, for the last ten years, said: “We’re not allowed to watch the game in Italy so this is the next best thing.
“I thought, ‘why not?’ The beer here is good and the Ukrainian women are beautiful."
Gav, who served in the Princess of Wales regiment, roared: “All the Ukrainians are saying England have a better squad but they are fiercer and a more dedicated team.
“I think they’re in for a big surprise!”
Ukraine is also home to the world’s strongest man Oleksii Novikov.
He showed his power by pressing our flag-flying reporter over his head.
The roaring Ukranian beast is backing Andriy Shevchenko's men to show their own might in Rome tomorrow night.
But Sun man Ben Leo bid for his own victory over Ukraine by tackling 21-stone Novikov in a brute test of power.
The pair went head-to-head in an arm wrestle at Novikov’s home in Kiev, with Leo weighing a trim 172lbs compared to his rival’s 300lbs.
Novikov sank 15 eggs for breakfast while the Sun man munched a Sausage McMuffin.
And in what is hoped will be the only Ukranian victory over England in the next 24 hours, Novikov proved he was the real deal with an extremely close-fought win.
Elsewhere, locals in Kiev today admitted Ukraine must channel the spirit of footie legend Valeriy Lobanovskyi if they have a chance of taming the Three Lions.
The Dynamo Kiev hero and USSR national team boss is honoured with a huge statue in the country’s capital.
As dawn broke over the Eastern European nation, we leapt alongside Lobanovskyi’s towering bust and proudly flew the flag for England.
Motorists honked their horns and gave the thumbs-up in excitement for today’s big game reached fever-pitch.
It came as Ukranian pubs and restaurants announced they were offering free booze to their 40million countrymen every time England concede tomorrow.
But locals in Kiev last night feared: “I think we will end up very parched!”
Taxi driver Alexi Dravachenko told The Sun: “When Russia were playing their first match against Belgium, lots of restaurants and bars here offered free drinks for every goal they conceded.
“We are doing the same against England but I have a feeling everyone is going to be left very thirsty."
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