Ukraine national football team on course to qualify for World Cup after historic victory

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Topline

Ukraine’s soccer team are just one win away from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, following a dominating victory over Scotland on Wednesday in a multi-match match. interrogates would ever be played after the Russian invasion.

Highlights

Ukraine won 3-1 against Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow, setting up a European play-off final game against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday.

The winner of the Ukraine-Wales game will qualify for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar, where the team will face the United States in the opening match of the tournament’s group stage.

Wednesday’s match against Scotland was delayed more than two months from its original March 24 match date and marked Ukraine’s first competitive game since Russia launched their invasion in late February.

All players in Ukraine’s starting lineup draped themselves in the country’s blue and yellow flag ahead of kick-off, as the stadium posted a call for peace on its video map.

Key Context

Football is the most popular sport in Ukraine, like much of the rest of the world, but the country’s national team went on hiatus and the country’s national league canceled its season after Russia invaded the country. The national team took part in a series of non-competitive matches last month as part of the “Global Tour for Peace”, hoping to prepare players for the World Cup qualifiers. Ukrainian clubs FC Dynamo Kyiv and FC Shakhtar Donestsk, two of the most successful football teams based in Eastern Europe, also took part in the tour.

Surprising fact

Ukraine have only qualified for the World Cup once, reaching the quarter-finals in 2006.

Tangent

Ukraine co-hosted the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the Euros, with Poland. Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium hosted the tournament final, which Spain won against Italy.

Further reading

USA will face England and Iran in return to FIFA World Cup (Forbes)

Steve Clarke doesn’t know if Scotland v Ukraine play-off will take place in June (The Guardian)

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