WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: Ukraine National Team Plays First Match Since Russian Invasion

Oladimeji Adeoye

Oladimeji Adeoye

Last night Ukraine continued their voyage for a spot in the Qatar 2022 World. The Ukrainian Football National team played their first competitive football game yesterday since the Russian invasion, which resulted in FIFA and UEFA placing a colossus sanction on both nations. They played Scotland in their World Cup playoff at the Hampden Park, Glasgow which was supposed to be held in March, winning the game by a 3-1 advantage.

Their belligerent counterpart Russia was banned from the World Cup and the playoff, with their scheduled opponents, Poland, given a pass through to the final — where they beat Sweden to book a ticket to Qatar in 2022.

In a related development, Victor Moses’ Spartak Moscow was banned from continuing their UEFA Europa League stint, while Leipzig was granted automatic qualification to the quarter-finals. Furthermore, the clubs from Russia will not partake in any tier of the European competition next season as stated by UEFA only if the sanction is lifted.

Ukraine’s players entered the stadium yesterday proudly covering themselves with their country’s flag, hoping to bring some happiness to their country after a lacerated four months witnessed in the country. The fighting spirit which all Ukrainians have shown from all over the world recently was immersed in a bright start for Oleksandr Petrakov’s men.

They defeated Tartan Army by 3-1 in Glasgow to set up a terrific clash with Wales. Westham forward Andriy Yarmolenko lit up the stadium with his first strike just a few minutes before the half-time. Roman Yaremchuk made it 2-0 for the Ukrainians at the 49th minute. Celtic midfielder Callum MacGregor responded by reducing the goal deficit to one for Scotland, unfortunately, Ukraine struck again to secure a huge win for their nation. They are now set to face Wales on Sunday in their final qualifiers game.

Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko after winning the Premier League with the Sky Blues was seen in a pool of tears dedicating the trophy to his country.

“Unforgettable emotions for me, it’s for all Ukrainians who, at the moment are starving, they are surviving in my country.

“I’m so proud to be Ukrainian and I hope one day to bring this title back to the people of Ukraine because they deserve it.

He then spoke about the club, after being asked what the support means to him, saying:

“It means everything to me, I want to die for these people. All the support they have given me during the toughest period of my life, I will never forget it ever in my life.”

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