Ukraine qualify for FIFA World Cup play-off final after beating Scotland in Glasgow

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The national team players of Ukraine have qualified for the FIFA World Cup play-off final after defeating Scotland 3-1 in Glasgow on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Recall that the World Cup play-off was postponed from March to June because Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The invasion has led to the death of scores of Ukrainians and the destruction of their properties.

Ahead of the play-off, Scotland decided to show solidarity to the Ukrainians by sharing song sheets with the home fans so that they could sing Ukraine’s national anthem before the kick-off of the game.

Unfortunately for Scotland, the support helped Ukraine to gain more confidence and played the host country like they were playing in Kyiv, their country’s capital.

The Ukraine national team played better than Scotland in all ramifications of the match. For instance, the Ukrainians recorded 59 percent of the ball possession while the Scots had just 41 percent of the possession.

The Ukrainians had 15 shots, 8 of which were on target while the host country recorded 14 shots, four of which were on target.

In the first 49 minutes, Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk scored a goal each to give the away team a two-goal lead. In the 79th minute, Scotland tried to fight back after Callum McGregor pulled a goal back.

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Unfortunately, their effort opened up their defense to resilient Ukrainians who made it three goals in the added 5th minute to run away with a 3-1 victory.

Ukraine win a FIFA World Cup ticket for Russia's invaded country after beating Scotland in Glasgow
Ukrainian players celebrate their goal against Scotland on Wednesday.

After the game, Scotland’s captain Andy Robertson admitted that he and his team “didn’t really show up” in the disappointing encounter.

“It’s hugely disappointing as we’ve waited a long time for this game. Our performances beforehand were really good but to be honest we didn’t really show up”, Andy Robertson told Sky Sports.

“Ukraine settled into the game a lot quicker than us and it kind of just continued. We knew they were probably going to get tired and that was the case but we gave ourselves an uphill battle.

“We had to try and stay in the game but we didn’t manage that. We left ourselves open to the counter-attack as we had to push for a goal. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play and unfortunately, it’s past us by.

“After a really positive campaign, we’ve let ourselves down tonight. It’s taken us 11 games to get here, after a positive campaign.

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“Finishing second and getting a home play-off, it’s going to hurt. We need to reflect on tonight and tomorrow’s a new day. That’s the World Cup gone for another four years and we all have dreams of trying to play in that big tournament and we didn’t put in a performance to justify that tonight.

“But we have to stick together. We know there will be scrutiny coming our way and we know we’ll be under fire as that’s the way of it but we have to stick together as a group.

“We’ve taken massive strides and there will be a time to take perspective on that but tonight is not the night. All we can say is sorry to the fans in here and back home for disappointing them but we’ll just have to dust ourselves down and go again.”

Every game is like a final for Ukraine

Ukraine win a FIFA World Cup ticket for Russia's invaded country after beating Scotland in Glasgow
Ukrainian players step onto the pitch for the World Cup playoff on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

After the game, Manchester City fullback, Oleksandr Zinchenko, who emerged as the man of the match, said he and his teammates had a dream to be at the World Cup. But they have to beat Wales in the World Cup play-off final on June 5, 2022, to achieve such a dream.

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As the Ukrainians look forward to the play-off final, Zinchenko noted that due to the plight Ukrainians are suffering at the hands of Russia’s troops, every football match is a final for the country.

“Everyone knows the situation in Ukraine and every game is like a final. We have a dream as a team to be at the World Cup”, Zinchenko said after the 3-1 win over Scotland on Wednesday.

“We have one more game, one more final and we need to win it. Otherwise, this game won’t mean anything.

“Scotland is a great team and have unbelievable players in each line. But we did well. We scored three and could have scored more.

“The Wales game is going to be massive for us. We need to show our best performance in our lives and then we’ll see what happens.”

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