War-Torn Ukraine One Win Away From World Cup

Ukraine kept alive their dream of reaching this year’s FIFA World Cup by beating Scotland 3-1 in their playoff at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Wednesday in their first game since the Russian invasion of their country.

Ukraine will take on Wales on Sunday in Cardiff with the winner taking a place at November’s finals in Qatar.

Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk had put a spirited dominant Ukraine in control before Callum McGregor pulled a goal back for the Scots in the 79th minute.

However, substitute Artem Dovbyk finished off a counter-attack to secure a special victory for Ukraine in stoppage time.

It turned out to be a memorable night for Ukraine’s footballers, whose domestic competition was halted after the invasion and the country’s home-based players have not played competitive football since December.

The match was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed following the Russian invasion.

Please click on the images for glimpses of how Ukraine’s players and supporters celebrated a special night:


IMAGE: An emotional Roman Yaremchuk celebrates with team-mates after scoring Ukraine’s second goal. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images


IMAGE: A Ukraine supporter holds a flag with a ‘Stop War’ message in the stands at Hampden Park. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images


IMAGE: Oleksandr Zinchenko, who plays for English giants Manchester City, celebrates Ukraine’s victory. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images


IMAGE: Joyful Ukraine supporters celebrate after Andriy Yarmolenko scored the first goal for Ukraine in the 33rd minute. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images


IMAGE: Ukrainian players enter the pitch wearing their national flag before the start of the match. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images


IMAGE: Ukraine’s travelling supporters had come from across the United Kingdom and from as far away as Australia and the United States to cheer their team.Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images


IMAGE: It was a deserved win for Ukraine and one which came more from their quality football than their expected spirit. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images




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