It’s about more than Qatar: Ukraine star cries before the World Cup play-off

It’s about more than Qatar
Ukraine star breaks down in tears before the World Cup play-off match

As the attacks on Ukraine continued, the country’s national football team returned with a crucial World Cup match in Qatar. But the game in Scotland is more than a playoff, it is a signal to the world that “Ukraine is still alive”.

Nearly 100 days after the attack on Ukraine, the eastern European country is now back on the stage of world football. The game in Scotland is about it all – qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar. Game winner (8.45 pm in the live tape on ntv.de) At Hampden Park in Glasgow, he will play the World Cup qualifiers final against Wales next Sunday. Both countries want to fight for their dream in Qatar.

But the closer the game gets, the more these sporty things recede into the background. There is a lot more at stake for Ukraine than simply participating in the tournament in Qatar. They want to show that they are still there. It is her biggest achievement. Unsurprisingly, Ukrainian superstar Oleksandr Zinchenko broke down in tears at the pre-Scotland press conference.

“Every Ukrainian wants only one thing – that this war stop,” said the Manchester City player. “I’ve talked to people from different countries. I’ve talked to Ukrainian children who don’t understand what’s happening in their home country. They only have one dream: to end the war.”

Cool start for many national players

Zinchenko had briefly considered leaving England to defend his homeland early in the war, but eventually decided to stay with the club to use his words to raise awareness. But he cannot forget Ukraine. “What is happening in our country now is unacceptable,” he said. “It’s something I can’t even describe. The aggression must stop and we must win. Ukraine is a country of freedom, and Ukraine will never surrender.”

This is one of the reasons why Zinchenko hopes to succeed in Scotland, because the Ukrainian national team also has a dream, he explained: “They want to be in the World Cup. They want to give the Ukrainian people these great feelings, because the Ukrainians I need this this time.”

But this is not an easy task. Unlike Zinchenko, many local players have not played a competitive game since the beginning of the war. The domestic league match has not resumed after the winter break. There have been some matches by the big teams, such as Dynamo Kyiv against Borussia Dortmund at the end of April, but this cannot replace the normal operations in the league.

Ukraine is still alive

It is therefore not surprising that the former international players do not primarily think about the victory over Scotland. “The game shows the world that Ukraine is still alive,” Sergei Baltasha, 64, told the Daily Mail. The 1988 European Vice Champion from Mariupol lived in Scotland for a long time.

He became the first professional Soviet player in England after moving from Dynamo Kyiv to Ipswich Town in 1988 and remained in Great Britain. On the other hand, his 67-year-old brother remained in Ukraine and, despite his advanced age, was one of the defenders of the capital Kyiv at the beginning of the Russian offensive.

“Football sometimes is not that important. It will not be an easy task for Ukraine. They could not prepare properly. But the Ukrainian people, those who defend the country, will watch. Winning would be great, but the most important thing is that we can play this game against global audience.”

Scotland in trouble

After a long break, the national team also gathered at the Slovenian Federation training center near Ljubljana to prepare for the play-off matches. Every now and then they play matches, such as on May 10 against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga. Now it’s against Scotland, and now it’s the ticket to the World Cup. Unusual for the host, too, who, in the fervor of the first days of the war, immediately agreed to move the game.

Scottish captain Andrew Robertson said: “Everyone wants Ukraine to win, and if it was another country, I would have liked it too. But unfortunately they are playing with my country now.” our dreams.”

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