Ukraine has taken a step forward in its emotional efforts to qualify for the World Cup in the middle of the ongoing war, winning 3: 1 over Scotland in the vibrant playoff semifinals on Wednesday.
- Ukraine defeated Scotland 3: 1 after the semifinals of the World Cup playoffs were postponed due to the war
- The loss means that the drought at the World Cup in Scotland will last for 24 years
- Ukraine will now compete with Wales to win a spot at the November World Championships in Qatar
Veterans captain Andriy Yarmolenko raised his nation when he scored a deft lob in the 33rd minute and then helped set Roman Jaremchuk’s head in the 49th minute.
Ukraine dominated for a well-deserved win, although it had to resist Scotland’s recovery, as risky attacks brought a goal in Callum McGregor’s 79th minute before Ukraine’s substitute Artem Dovbyk pushed through and scored the last kick of the match.
Dovbyk led his teammates to the corner of the stadium to share the celebration with 3,000 Ukrainian fans in a crowd of 51,000, clapping each other with their hands raised high above their heads.
Now Ukraine is advancing against Wales on Sunday and is playing for a place at the World Cup.
The winner in Cardiff will travel to Qatar in November, where he will play in a group with England, the United States and Iran.
Ukraine showed a neat display, although it used six starters who had not played any competition game since December.
Most of the Ukrainian staff play for home clubs whose league was closed after the Russian invasion and the playoffs in Glasgow were postponed in March. FIFA and Scotland have agreed to give the Ukrainian team a fair chance to prepare for matches that have become a hotbed of national identity and pride.
Scotland lacked the necessary class. His waiting for the World Cup now exceeds 24 years since his participation in the 1998 tournament.
Ukraine’s victory could have been sealed sooner without the timely intervention and often 39-year-old Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon. When the Scots chased back into the game, John McGinn placed a header in the 67th minute inexplicably outside.
Ukraine is riding the wave of global goodwill as a victim of Russian aggression and the intense motivation of its players to reward the nation with a place on the biggest football scene was clear.
All Ukrainian players entered the field with a blue-yellow national flag on their shoulders.
Scottish fans warmly welcomed the Ukrainian national anthem Shche not vmerla Ukrainas. Many of the same fans remained after the match to greet their winning opponents off the field.
Some of the Ukrainian fans traveled far and planned to stay in Britain for the decisive Sunday playoffs.
George Butromeyev said before the match that he had come from Toronto with friends to support players who “need to show the people of Ukraine that we are warriors.”
“It’s not just about football,” said Jaroslav Grygorenko, who arrived from Amsterdam.
“It is important to be at the top of the debate here in Europe, not to let it go [people] forget what is happening in Ukraine. “
Scottish native Alex Demianczuk wore a kilt in Ukrainian yellow-blue colors and wanted the nation of his parents to advance. Ukraine to play in the World Cup, he said, would be “something that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin really gets on his nerves.”
In Kiev, fans who decided to come together to see the match had to deal with a curfew, which began at 11 pm local time, before the start of the second half.
The Beer & Meet bar in central Kiev bypassed the restrictions by offering fans the opportunity to stay there until 5:00.
A few minutes before the excavation, police headed to the bar in a patrol car and asked the fans, who had gathered outside, to gather in the cellars of the drinking hole to warn of the raid.
Oleksii Safin, 40, who works as a voice actor, stood with his right hand on his heart as he rewound the national anthem. He and other supporters erupted in celebration when Ukraine scored first. But the war raging in the east of the country was not forgotten.
“We seem to be having a lot of fun, but not really,” he said.
“We try to look normal as best we can, but we still remember what’s going on in the East.
“It’s a good fight, just like the fight we’re having with the Russians.
“We can show that we can do it.”
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