TODAY'S Euro 2022 final referee is Ukrainian – and spent five days living in an underground bunker after the Russian invasion.
Kateryna Monzul will step out at a sold-out Wembley this afternoon to oversee England vs Germany.
But just months ago, she was in hiding with her family in her hometown of Kharkiv as Russian forces raided the country.
Monzul headed to her parents' home and took shelter before fleeing Ukraine with her two sisters and their three children, eventually settling in Italy.
They drove through Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic before arriving in Germany and then Italy, continuing her refereeing.
Reflecting on the journey from Ukraine to Italy and then to the Euros in England, Monzul said: "When the war started, nobody could believe it.
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"My family went to my parents’ home. We were [living] underground – a special place in the house.
"It was stressful and difficult.
"When we left Ukraine, we didn't have any ideas what the next step was for us."
Monzul is a trailblazer for her country and for refereeing.
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The 41-year-old was the first female ref to take charge of an England senior men's match and a Ukraine Premier League match,
An international official since 2004, she has also reffed in the Europa League, Europa Conference League, Nations League and three Women's World Cups.
Monzul will become the first official from Ukraine to referee a Women's Euro final – and revealed the pride at calling home to tell her family about the landmark appointment which will see Sarina Wiegman's side attempting to write history.
She said she realised "how important it was for them as well as for myself" when she "hear their happy and positive reaction".
'HEART BEATING FAST'
Monzul added: "This is a really emotional moment for me, and I'm enjoying it.
"My heart is already beating fast. It's the moment when a dream you have comes true.
"But I must say that it's also a moment where I feel responsibility because I'll be refereeing an important football game."
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