Andriy Shevchenko was the hero for co-hosts Ukraine as they came from behind to beat Sweden and go top of Group D.
The 35-year-old scored two headers in the space of six minutes to turn the game in his side's favour after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had given Sweden a second-half lead.
The Swedes applied a lot of late pressure in search of an equaliser.
"Shevchenko is past his best - we all know that. But going further back into his career he scored some fantastic headed goals. I don't know the man but I'm pleased for him and the Ukrainian people. Watching the game in Donetsk you could see the enjoyment on the faces of families here that 'we've won'. It's a fantastic experience to be part of."
But the home nation and their talismanic striker were not to be denied an important opening win.
Regardless of what Shevchenko achieves at this tournament his status as a legendary figure in Ukrainian football is secure, following a near 15-year international career that has seen him average close to a goal every two games in 108 caps.
There were suggestions that the 35-year-old would not even be included in Oleg Blokhin's squad as the coach looked to usher in a new, exciting generation of Ukrainian players, with the 59-year-old former Soviet Union international stating that "names do not play football... if they did, I could be playing now".
Blokhin will be thankful now that he gambled on including the aging forward for what is to be the player's final international tournament.
The lightning pace that saw Shevchenko terrorise defences during his first spell with Dynamo Kiev and in a free-scoring career with AC Milan in Italy may be gone as a result of age and a succession of injuries, but his mind remains sharp.
It was this that helped him score his 47th and 48th international goals. It is hard to imagine any of the previous 46 were as important.
He was a largely peripheral figure during a first half that the Ukraine had the better of, barring one glorious opening that saw him get in behind the Sweden back-line on the right but drag his shot from 10 yards wide of the far post.
The heat was perhaps taken off him by the fact that the highly rated Yevhen Konoplyanka was even more wasteful for the home side, spurning a trio of decent chances, the best of which saw him volley over at the back post with the goal seemingly at his mercy.
However, in a six-minute burst either side of the hour mark, Shevchenko reaffirmed his legendary status to convert a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead.
Seven minutes into the second half, Sweden's own talismanic forward Ibrahimovic had made up for hitting a post with a clear close-range header in the first period by giving his side the lead, slotting in from six yards out following a neat low cross from Kim Kallstrom.
- Why he chose number 7 shirt - "Sheva" means seventh in Hebrew
- Third highest scorer in history of European club competition (behind Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy)
- Married to US supermodel Kristen Pazik
- Good friend of Giorgio Armani and owns two Armani boutiques in Kiev
- Aged 14, was top scorer in "Ian Rush Cup" and presented with a pair of the Welsh striker's boots
- His father was a tank commander in the Soviet Army
- Grew up in village of Dvirkivshchyna and evacuated after Chernobyl disaster in April 1986
However, just moments later, Shevchenko got ahead of marker Olof Mellberg to head home Andriy Yarmolenko's cross and send the Olympic Stadium wild.
These celebrations were nothing, though, compared to what was to come when the Dynamo Kiev striker's superb movement again bought him space, this time at the near post, to glance in a header from a corner.
With defeat staring them in the face, Sweden pushed forward for a leveller.
Ibrahimovic came close with a stinging drive from the edge of the box, which Andriy Pyatov did well to save, admittedly with a touch of fortune, and substitute Johan Elmander spurned a glorious opportunity by blazing wide from a superb position in the box.
Finally, Mellberg came within inches of breaking home hearts with a volley at the back post that landed on the roof of the net.
Soon after that, the final whistle blew to send the Olympic Stadium into raptures once again.
Shevchenko had already left the field 10 minutes earlier to a standing ovation. He had earned it.
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +2:38
Olof Mellberg conjures a left-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.90:00 +1:34 Substitution
Substitution Marko Devic joins the action as a substitute, replacing Yevgen Konoplianka.89:25
Johan Elmander produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.88:39
Oleg Gusev challenges Olof Mellberg unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Andreas Isaksson.87:43
Foul by Ruslan Rotan on Christian Wilhelmsson, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Christian Wilhelmsson.85:46
Christian Wilhelmsson produces a cross.83:44 Substitution
Substitution Ruslan Rotan joins the action as a substitute, replacing Andriy Voronin.82:51
Serhiy Nazarenko has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.82:51 Booking
Booking Rasmus Elm receives a caution.82:47
Foul by Rasmus Elm on Andriy Voronin, free kick awarded.80:33 Substitution
Substitution Andriy Shevchenko goes off and Artem Milevskiy comes on.79:38
Christian Wilhelmsson takes a shot. Save by Andrei Pyatov.76:20
Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Oleg Gusev, free kick awarded. Andrei Pyatov takes the direct free kick.75:54
Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes a shot. Save made by Andrei Pyatov.74:01
Johan Elmander gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Serhiy Nazarenko. Yevgen Selin takes the direct free kick.73:33
Yevgen Konoplianka produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.71:31
Foul by Olof Mellberg on Andriy Voronin, free kick awarded. Serhiy Nazarenko restarts play with the free kick.71:21
Andriy Voronin challenges Mikael Lustig unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikael Lustig restarts play with the free kick.70:35 Substitution
Substitution Markus Rosenberg goes off and Johan Elmander comes on.
Effort on goal by Yevgen Konoplianka from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.69:43
Rasmus Elm takes a shot. Andrei Pyatov makes a comfortable save.68:14
Rasmus Elm produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.68:13 Substitution
Substitution Sebastian Larsson goes off and Christian Wilhelmsson comes on.65:00
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kim Kallstrom on Anatoliy Tymoschuk. Direct free kick taken by Anatoliy Tymoschuk.64:03
Unfair challenge on Yevhen Khacheridi by Zlatan Ibrahimovic results in a free kick. Andrei Pyatov restarts play with the free kick.62:14 Substitution
Substitution (Sweden) makes a substitution, with Anders Svensson coming on for Ola Toivonen.61:01
Assist by Yevgen Konoplianka.61:01 Goal scored
Goal! - Andriy Shevchenko - Ukraine 2 - 1 Sweden Andriy Shevchenko finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close in. Ukraine 2-1 Sweden.60:34
Corner taken by Yevgen Konoplianka from the left by-line played to the near post,60:25
The ball is crossed by Andriy Voronin, Mikael Lustig makes a clearance.59:36
The ball is sent over by Sebastian Larsson, Yevhen Khacheridi manages to make a clearance.58:38
Shot from just outside the box by Oleg Gusev goes over the crossbar.57:56
Inswinging corner taken by Serhiy Nazarenko from the left by-line, clearance by Ola Toivonen.54:31
The assist for the goal came from Andriy Yarmolenko.54:31 Goal scored
Goal! - Andriy Shevchenko - Ukraine 1 - 1 Sweden Andriy Shevchenko grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Ukraine 1-1 Sweden.54:28
Andriy Yarmolenko crosses the ball,53:00
Free kick awarded for a foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Anatoliy Tymoschuk. Free kick taken by Anatoliy Tymoschuk.52:38
Andriy Yarmolenko delivers the ball, save by Andreas Isaksson.51:06
Assist on the goal came from Kim Kallstrom.51:06 Goal scored
Goal! - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Ukraine 0 - 1 Sweden Goal scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic from close in low into the middle of the goal. Ukraine 0-1 Sweden.51:02
The ball is swung over by Sebastian Larsson.50:57
Sebastian Larsson produces a cross.48:41
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andriy Shevchenko by Andreas Granqvist. Free kick taken by Oleg Gusev.48:05
Shot by Markus Rosenberg. Taras Mykhalyk gets a block in.47:15
Sebastian Larsson challenges Yevgen Konoplianka unfairly and gives away a free kick. Yevgen Selin restarts play with the free kick.46:49
Unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Yevgen Konoplianka results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Olof Mellberg.46:00
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Taras Mykhalyk by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Free kick taken by Taras Mykhalyk.45:32
The ball is crossed by Andriy Shevchenko.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:02 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.43:48
Yevgen Selin delivers the ball.41:28
Centre by Oleg Gusev, Shot by Yevgen Konoplianka from deep inside the six-yard box clear the bar.39:46
Markus Rosenberg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Taras Mykhalyk. Taras Mykhalyk takes the direct free kick.39:11
The ball is sent over by Andriy Yarmolenko.38:30
The ball is swung over by Sebastian Larsson, Header from inside the area by Zlatan Ibrahimovic strikes the post.37:45
Serhiy Nazarenko takes a shot. Save by Andreas Isaksson.37:24
Corner taken right-footed by Serhiy Nazarenko.37:14
Andriy Yarmolenko takes a shot. Martin Olsson gets a block in.36:59
Andriy Shevchenko takes a shot. Olof Mellberg gets a block in.36:03
Yevgen Konoplianka has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.35:42
Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, save made by Andrei Pyatov.34:30
Andriy Voronin takes a shot. Save made by Andreas Isaksson.32:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andriy Voronin on Martin Olsson. Direct free kick taken by Martin Olsson.30:18
Markus Rosenberg takes a shot. Save by Andrei Pyatov.29:44
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.29:11
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Markus Rosenberg by Taras Mykhalyk. Ola Toivonen takes the free kick.28:02
Unfair challenge on Yevgen Konoplianka by Mikael Lustig results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Serhiy Nazarenko, save by Andreas Isaksson.26:43
Corner taken by Rasmus Elm from the left by-line.26:31
Martin Olsson produces a cross, Oleg Gusev gets a block in.26:18
Markus Rosenberg sends in a cross, Yevgen Selin gets a block in.25:29
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andriy Shevchenko on Martin Olsson. Martin Olsson takes the free kick.22:56
Shot by Andriy Shevchenko from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.22:00
Andriy Shevchenko is ruled offside. Andreas Isaksson takes the free kick.21:26
The ball is crossed by Oleg Gusev.20:08
The ball is swung over by Kim Kallstrom. Markus Rosenberg is caught offside. Taras Mykhalyk takes the indirect free kick.18:06
The ball is swung over by Martin Olsson.17:44
Yevgen Selin concedes a free kick for a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Olof Mellberg takes the free kick.16:17
Zlatan Ibrahimovic delivers the ball, save by Andrei Pyatov.15:37
Yevgen Konoplianka concedes a free kick for a foul on Mikael Lustig. Olof Mellberg takes the direct free kick.14:36
Andreas Granqvist gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andriy Voronin. Anatoliy Tymoschuk takes the free kick.13:22
Anatoliy Tymoschuk gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Olsson. Rasmus Elm delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing.10:30
Anatoliy Tymoschuk restarts play with the free kick.10:30 Booking
Booking Kim Kallstrom receives a yellow card.10:24
Foul by Kim Kallstrom on Oleg Gusev, free kick awarded.9:18
Unfair challenge on Kim Kallstrom by Anatoliy Tymoschuk results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball in from the free kick, Andrei Pyatov makes a comfortable save.8:36
Andriy Shevchenko fouled by Olof Mellberg, the ref awards a free kick. Andriy Shevchenko takes the free kick.8:12
Andriy Shevchenko challenges Olof Mellberg unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Olof Mellberg.6:26
Oleg Gusev produces a cross, Mikael Lustig manages to make a clearance.5:07
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Anatoliy Tymoschuk by Rasmus Elm. Direct free kick taken by Anatoliy Tymoschuk.4:33
Drilled shot by Kim Kallstrom went over the net.3:54
Yevgen Konoplianka takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the left of the target.3:00
Andriy Voronin fouled by Andreas Granqvist, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Oleg Gusev.2:15
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Yevhen Khacheridi by Markus Rosenberg. Direct free kick taken by Andrei Pyatov.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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