Ukraine beat Scotland 3-1 in Glasgow and will now travel to Cardiff to play Wales for Europe’s last available ticket to the World Cup in Qatar.
More than 50K fans attended the match at Hampden Park, with the Scottish fans paying their respects to their visitors throughout the day. Ukraine’s players came out from their locker room with national flags covering them, posing together ahead of the first whistle to mark their solidarity with the army’s sacrifice during the Russian invasion.
Ukraine's players, coaching staff and fans delivered a passionate rendition of their national anthem ahead of the World Cup play-off semi-final against Scotland at Hampden Park 🇺🇦pic.twitter.com/VHuCjB9EPu
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 1, 2022
The Ukrainian league was supposed to resume at the end of February following a long winter break, but Russia’s attack put football in the background. Ukraine’s national team boss, Oleksandr Petrakov, was allowed to hold a training camp in Slovenia during the past month. The Ukrainian players who are under contract in the local league were given dispensation so they could travel abroad despite the ban imposed on leaving the country.
Ukraine played friendlies in Germany, Italy, and Croatia, but there were fears that the players’ match fitness was still far from normal.
Andriy Yarmolenko opened the scoring after 33 minutes, with Roman Yaremciuk doubling Ukraine’s advantage early in the second half. An error from Heorhyi Buschan allowed Scotland back in the game as the hosts were continually pushing toward the Ukrainian box.
Callum McGregor scored after 79 minutes but Scotland couldn’t find an equalizer, despite attacking throughout the remaining minutes. On the counter, Artem Dovbyk put Ukraine’s qualification behind all doubt. The 24-year-old attacker made it 3-1 for Ukraine, who now need to beat Wales if they are to qualify for the World Cup.
Wales are slightly favored by the bookies to make it to Qatar. The hosts of the play-off final are at +160 to win in normal time, while Ukraine stand at +180. A draw is at +200.
The winners of this clash will play in Group B at the World Cup, alongside USMNT, Iran and England.