Ukraine had needed a victory in their final Group D encounter to reach the last eight at a European Championship for the first time ever, but a 1-0 loss saw them meet the same fate as fellow co-hosts Poland.
A knee injury sustained in the 2-0 defeat by France kept Shevchenko out of the starting line-up, but with Ukraine chasing an equaliser, the familiar chant of ‘Sheva! Sheva!’ began to echo around Donetsk’s Donbass Arena. He made his entrance in the 70th minute as a replacement for Marko Devic and his every touch brought roars of encouragement tumbling down from the tribunes.
At the final whistle he embraced John Terry, his former Chelsea teammate, before heading down the tunnel with the adulation of the fans ringing in his ears. “It was my last official game for Ukraine,” he confirmed afterwards. At 35, the national icon bows out of competitive international football with a record of 111 caps and 48 goals, making him his country’s leading all-time goalscorer.