Scotland vs Ukraine: War-torn country looking forward to a quest to rejuvenate at the World Cup

Ukraine’s Taras Berezovets, who worked as a political analyst before the Russian invasion began on February 24, and has since joined Ukraine’s special forces, will oppose it.

If Ukraine passes Scotland at Hampden Park and defeats Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, Ukraine will significantly secure its qualification for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

According to Berezovets, work is underway to find the broadcast of the match. But even if that’s not possible for frontline people, he says, if they can, those fights will still get together and listen on the radio.

“When soccer teams are playing, the whole country is paying attention. Soccer is Ukraine’s number one sport and very popular,” said Berezovets. CNN sports Call from the embarrassed south of the country.

“I think the whole country will support our national team, especially during the war. People are looking forward to this match against Scotland. This match is very important, especially for the military.

“This is a decisive moment, especially important for the military. It will be very important for our spirit during these difficult times.”

Dealing with pressure

Such expectations and support may seem like a heavy burden for Ukrainian players, but the team seems to be using it as an additional motivation.

The day before the kick-off in Scotland, players and staff paraded around the hotel in Glasgow. Turn on the slider and have a cup of coffee.

This is in stark contrast to the Ukrainian reality and is offensive to some teams.

As if to emphasize a different reality, the match in Scotland begins with the curfew in some parts of Ukraine.

But while things look calm on the surface, it’s hard to imagine the idea of ​​having to run around in the player’s head-they’ve all seen the horrifying scenes unfolded in their hometown. ..

Many still have families in Ukraine, but are being encouraged by the Ukrainian government to compete to represent the country on the global stage, which is a powerful symbol of the country being attacked.

“It’s a plus and a minus. It doubles your motivation, but makes you think you don’t have the right to make mistakes,” Oleksandr Glyvynskyy, media representative of the Ukrainian team, told CNN Sport from a hotel in the Glasgow team. rice field.

“Winning in your country is more important to achieve the greatest victory of independence, but football is of course important.

“Here is our front line. It’s the front line of football. The World Cup is a big goal.”

Ukrainian athletes at a training camp in Slovenia.

Training camp preparation

Given that staying in Ukraine is too dangerous, the team has been based in a training camp in Slovenia since May 1st.

The first to arrive were four players still living in Ukraine and many back room staff. Many return to the country after completing their mission on the national team.

Players from Ukrainian clubs Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamokiuf, who had goodwill matches at exhibitions across Europe, joined next after the end of the national season before the arrival of players playing in other European leagues.

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin was the last to join the team on Monday after Real Madrid defeated Liverpool in the Champions League final.

“Situation, contract terms [in Slovenia] It was very good. The people were very kind and supported us a lot, “Grivinsky said.

“The facilities were perfect. There were mountains and parks and the surroundings were wonderful, so it was a fairytale landscape.

“But it’s not easy when you’re not at home. We all want to stay at home, but on the other hand, we know they’re not safe.”

Ukraine wanted to play a more competitive game during the training camp, but managed only three informal friendly matches.

Nevertheless, the coach is pleased with the hard work of the players and the team is confident that it will cause problems in Scotland.

“I’m fine. There’s news every day and they talk to their relatives, […] The player is a professional. They know they need to focus on the match. ”

“The expectations for Ukraine are so high that they sincerely hope that this will be a great achievement for Ukraine to raise the spirit of the country.”

At a moving press conference on Tuesday night, Ukrainian star player Oleksandr Zinchenko wept when asked to look back over the past few weeks, but the team is in a “fighting mood”. said.

“Without this position, it is impossible to explain these feelings. What is happening in our country is unacceptable. That is something I cannot even explain,” he said. I told the group.

“That’s why we need to stop this invasion. We need to win. Ukraine is a country of freedom. Ukraine never gives up.”

Ukraine is confident that it could cause Scottish problems on Wednesday.

Soccer and politics

Ukrainian players made up the majority of the Soviet Union team before breaking up in 1991, and clubside Dynamokib and Shakhtar Donetsk consistently outweigh their weight in major European football competitions.

“Football was a game that inspired many Ukrainians at a crucial moment in our history,” said Berezovets, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 means that the national team will play an international match. He said it was another opportunity to give hope to Ukraine.

These heroes of the past have urged the current generation to provide light in the darkest times, but no one expects a soft touch from their opponents on Wednesday.

Scottish captain Andy Robertson says his team is determined to compete in the World Cup and needs to forget the background during the match.

“Of course, we have great sympathy for the Ukrainian people,” Robertson told reporters.

“I think it’s no exaggeration to say that the Scottish FA and everyone on this team stood behind them from the beginning. It’s scary to see there.

“You have to divide your thoughts for 90 or 120 minutes. I want to participate in the World Cup, but I need to be prepared for the challenges and emotions that Ukraine offers.”

Approximately 2,000 Ukrainian fans are expected to be in the stadium to watch the game, many with the support of groups such as the British Ukrainian Association (AUGB).

Yevgen Chub is the treasurer of Glasgow’s organization and has helped many Ukrainians with the logistics to get tickets.

He says the game promises to be emotional, win or lose.

“Ukraine shows that it still exists. No one wants to erase it. The country still exists and the country is still fighting everywhere,” he told CNN Sports from outside Hampden Park. rice field.

“Everyone is trying to help Ukraine and the people of Ukraine.”


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