Ukraine defeat Scotland 3-1 in emotional World Cup qualifier

After defeating Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday, Ukraine moved one step closer to qualifying for the World Cup.

Following a thrilling semi-final playoff in Glasgow, the squad now needs one more win to secure their place in Qatar.

Ukraine dominated the contest for the majority of it. Andriy Yarmolenko, the veteran captain, scored the opening goal, a clever lobbed strike in the 33rd minute, and then assisted on Roman Yaremchuk’s 2-0 header in the 49th minute.

Callum McGregor scored in the 79th minute amid a late Scottish comeback of risky attacks, before Ukraine substitute Artem Dovbyk surged clear to score with the game’s final kick.

The 51,000-strong throng at Glasgow’s Hampden Park stadium included 3,000 Ukrainian fans.

As Dovbyk led comrades to the stadium’s corner to celebrate their victory, they praised each other with palms lifted high above their heads.

“The armed forces in the trenches and in the hospitals, who donate their last drop of blood, those in Ukraine who suffer every day,” Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov said.

The country, which was invaded by Russia in February, will meet Wales in the World Cup qualification final on Sunday.

In November, the victor of the Cardiff tournament will travel to Qatar to compete in a group including England, the United States, and Iran.

Following the Russian invasion, Ukraine is riding a tide of international goodwill, and its players’ fervent desire to repay the country with a spot on football’s grandest platform was evident.

The Ukrainian players each carried a blue and yellow national flag on their shoulders as they entered the pitch.

The national hymn of Ukraine, “Shche ne vmerla Ukrainas,” was heartily applauded by Scotland fans during the warm greeting. Many of the same fans remained on the field after the game to applaud their winning opponents.

“I also want to express my gratitude to the people of Scotland – an incredible, welcoming country,” coach Petrakov remarked.

Many Ukrainian fans had travelled a long distance and had made preparations to stay in the UK for Sunday’s crucial playoff versus the Welsh team.

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Before the game, George Butromeyev told The Associated Press that he travelled from Toronto with friends to offer his support for the players, who “need to show the people of Ukraine that we are soldiers.”

“It’s not just about football,” Yaroslav Grygorenko, a visitor from Amsterdam, remarked.

“It’s critical to stay on top of the debates here in Europe so that (people) don’t forget what’s going on in Ukraine.”

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