The selection of Ukraine has prolonged his World Cup dream and will fight next Sunday with Welsh in Cardiff for the last European ticket at stake for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, after beating this Wednesday 1-3 Scotland in the semifinals of a playoff in which the Ukrainian players, in addition to their soccer quality, showed their strength to overcome the war in their country.
“This meeting is much more than a football game for us. Going to the World Cup would be very important for Ukraine at the moment,” said the Ukrainian football legend. Andriy Shevchenko, present in the stands of Hampden Park. And it is that as the former Milan player added those of Oleksandr Petrakov They were not playing this Wednesday just for a place in the World Cup, but for an entire country, “for all those who are at home, for all those who defend the country and for all those who have had to leave because of the war” .
An “incredible motivation”, as Shevchenko described it, which led the Ukrainian players to face the contest with unusual aggressiveness in a team with a reputation for talent, but excessively cold. In fact, barely ten minutes of play had elapsed when the Ukrainian soccer players already accumulated two yellow cards, in a clear demonstration that at intensity no one could beat Ukraine on Wednesday. If Scotland could not compete with the visitors, much less in quality when it came to handling the ball, thanks to the presence of players like Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovsky and Andriy Yarmolenko in midfield.
A clear difference in talent that soon tipped the contest in favor of the Ukrainian team, who after eight minutes of play were already able to get ahead on the scoreboard with a Viktor Tsygankov shot, which forced Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon to show off. It wasn’t the only time the Hearts goalkeeper saved the team from him, as in the 17th minute Gordon once again thwarted a clear Yarmolenko chance to make it 0-1.
Nothing could be done, however, the Scottish goalkeeper to prevent finally Yarmolenko ahead of Ukraine on the scoreboard (0-1) by culminating with a subtle Vaseline a sensational long pass by Malinovsky behind the back of the local defense. A goal that reflected the superiority of Ukraine over a Scottish team that barely managed to create danger throughout the first half, saved in the occasional sporadic set-piece play.
Dark panorama that the Scottish coach steve clarke He tried to change at the beginning of the second half with the entry of Ryan Christie, the player who, with his goal in Serbia, allowed Scotland to win the ticket for the last European Championship. But not even the presence of the Bournemouth midfielder could prevent Ukraine from doubling their lead four minutes into the second half with a goal from the striker Roman Yaremchukwho made it 0-2 by heading in a cross from the right wing by Oleksandr Karavaev.
Result that forced Scotland, which hasn’t played in the final phase of a World Cup since 1998, to pour themselves, albeit with more heart than game, into the rival area in search of a goal that would restore their qualifying hopes.
A goal (1-2) that finally came with eleven minutes remaining in a mistake by the Ukrainian goalkeeper Georgi Bushchan, who had previously shown his lack of reliability, by letting a midfielder’s shot slip out of his hands Callum McGregor. However, nothing was able to prevent Ukraine from not only resisting the final siege of the Scottish team, but also extending their lead (1-3) even more with a goal in extra time from Artem Dovbykwhich prolonged the World Cup dream with which Ukrainian soccer players want to make their compatriots forget for a moment the horror of war.
Scotland, 1: Gordon; McTominay, Hanley, Cooper (Hendry, d.68); Hickey, Gilmour (Armstrong, d.68), McGregor, Robertson; McGinn; Che Adams and Dykes (Christie, d.46)
Ukraine, 3: Bush-chan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko; Stepanenko (Sydorchuk, d.93); Yarmolenko (Zubkov, m.78), Malinovskyi (Shaparenko, m.72), Zinchenko, Tsygankov (Mudryk, m.72) and Yaremchuk (Dobvyk, m.78).
Goals: 0-1, m.33: Yarmolenko. 0-2, m.49: Yaremchuk. 1-2, m.79: McGregor. 1-3, m.95: Doivbyk.
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Holland). He showed a yellow card to Dykes and McGinn for Scotland; and Yaremchuk, Malinovskyi and Shaparenko for Ukraine
Incidents: Match corresponding to the semifinal of the European qualifying play-off for the Qatar 2022 World Cup played at the Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow (Scotland)