The Tartan Army sings with Ukraine: Scottish football fans join in with supporters from war-torn country to sing their national anthem in emotional play-off match in Glasgow
- Ukraine are in the World Cup play-off final after a superb 3-1 win over Scotland
- The match was played in the shadow of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine
- Scotland’s Hampden Park gave a warm welcome to the visitors on Wednesday
- Many Scottish fans were shown displaying the Ukrainian flag, while the stadium joined in to sing Ukraine’s ‘Shche ne vmerla Ukrainas’ anthem
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Ukraine’s emotion-filled quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup drew one step closer with a 3-1 win over Scotland on Wednesday in a pulsating playoff semi-final, which saw Scottish fans singing the national anthem of their opposition.
The two sides met at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, with the match being Ukraine’s first competitive game since their territory was invaded by Russia’s armies on Feb. 24.
The play-off match was rescheduled from its initial March date due to the impact of the war, with the build up being dominated by the emotional toll the brutal conflict has taken on the team’s players, coaching staff and fans.
Scottish fans were asked to sing along with Ukraine’s travelling supporters before the match in a show of solidarity, with language education app Duolingo printing out flyers with a phonetic version of the lyrics to help the non-Ukrainian speakers.
The Ukrainian players all walked onto the field each with a blue and yellow national flag draped on their shoulders, and were met with huge applause.
When the time came, Ukraine’s national anthem ‘Shche ne vmerla Ukrainas’ – which translates roughly to ‘Ukraine has not yet died’ – was belted out by Ukrainians and the Tartan Army alike, while Scottish pipers played along.
Ukraine’s emotion-filled quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup drew one step closer with a 3-1 win over Scotland on Wednesday in a pulsating playoff semifinal. Pictured: Ukraine fans celebrate in Glashow’s Hampden Park on June 01, 2022
Ukraine’s Roman Yaremchuk celebrates scoring their second goal with Ukrainian fans
Ukraine’s Roman Yaremchuk (centre) celebrates in front of Ukrainian fans after scoring their side’s second goal of the game during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier play-off semi-final match at Hampden Park, Glasgow, June 1, 2022
Many fans stayed after the game to salute their victorious opponents off the field, and Ukrainian flags were waved by some home fans. Several were pictured with the yellow and blue flag painted on their faces, alongside St Andrew’s Cross.
Ukraine’s squad was made up of players who mostly have not played a competitive game for six months because of the war at home, and most of Ukraine’s squad play for home-based clubs whose league was shut down after Russia’s invasion.
After the match in March was postponed, FIFA and Scotland agreed to give the Ukrainian team a fair chance to prepare for games that have become a focus of national identity and pride.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave his blessing for Ukraine’s players and coach Oleksandr Petrakov to leave their homeland to prepare for and play the game.
A month-long training camp in the safety of Slovenia has featured warm-up games arranged against clubs in Germany, Italy and Croatia, giving players from Ukrainian clubs like Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv a chance to get match sharp.
But the lack of competitive action did not seem to hinder Ukraine. Veteran captain Andriy Yarmolenko lifted his nation by scoring a deft lobbed goal in the 33rd minute and then helped set up Roman Yaremchuk’s header in the 49th to make it 2-0.
Ukraine dominated for much of a deserved win but had to resist a Scotland revival as risk-filled attacks brought a goal in the 79th by Callum McGregor, before Ukraine substitute Artem Dovbyk broke clear to score with the last kick of the game.
Ultimately, Scotland lacked the class needed and its wait for World Cup soccer now extends beyond the 24 years since it went to the 1998 tournament.
As for Ukraine, the team needs just one more famous win to reach Qatar 2022 – which would be its first World Cup finals tournament in 24 years.
Two Scottish fans are seen with the Scottish and Ukrainian flags painted on their faces
A Scottish fan is shown in the stands holding a flag which reads ‘Stand with Ukraine’
A Ukrainian fan holds up the blue and yellow flag of his country, while wearing a kilt
Fans hold a banner calling for the end to war during the FIFA World Cup 2022 play-off
Ukraine fans greet a Scottish piper before the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier play-off semi-final match at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Wednesday June 1, 2022
A Ukrainian fan wears a T-Shirt with ‘Russian Warship Go F**k yourself’ on it, a reference to a moment in the early days of the war that saw Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island defy Russians
Dovbyk led teammates toward the corner of the stadium to share the celebration with 3,000 Ukraine fans in the 51,000 crowd, applauding each other with hands raised high above their heads.
Petrakov said the win was for ‘the armed forces in the trenches and in the hospitals, who give their last drop of blood, those in Ukraine who suffer every day.’
‘Also I give my gratitude to the people of Scotland – an amazing, hospitable place,’ Petrakov added.
Some of the Ukrainian fans had travelled far and had made plans to stay in Britain for the decisive playoff Sunday.
George Butromeyev told The Associated Press before the game he came from Toronto with friends to support the players who ‘need to show the people of Ukraine that we are warriors.’
‘It’s not only about football,’ said Yaroslav Grygorenko, who traveled from Amsterdam. ‘It’s important to be on the top of the discussions here in Europe, to not let (people) forget what is happening in Ukraine.’
Scotland-born Alex Demianczuk wore a kilt in Ukrainian yellow and blue colours and wanted his parents’ nation to advance. Ukraine playing at the World Cup, he said, would be ‘something that’s really going to get on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s nerves.’
Ukraine players stand wrapped with their national flags prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification playoff semi final soccer match between Scotland and Ukraine at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, 01 June 2022
Ukraine players clap their raucous support at full time with the team one game from Qatar
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave his blessing for Ukraine’s players and coach Oleksandr Petrakov (pictured) to leave their homeland to prepare for and play the game
In Kyiv, fans determined to get together to see the match had the war-time night-time curfew to contend with, which kicked in at 11 p.m. local time, before the start of the second half.
The Beer & Meet bar in downtown Kyiv got around the restriction on movement by offering fans the possibility to stay there until 5 a.m., when the curfew ends.
Police swung by the bar in a patrol car a few minutes before kickoff, asking fans who had gathered outside to go down into the drinking hole’s basement rooms, because of an air-raid warning.
Oleksii Safin, 40, who works as a voice actor, stood with his right hand over his heart as he belted out the national anthem. He and other supporters erupted in celebration when Ukraine scored first. But the war raging in the east of the country wasn’t forgotten.
‘It looks like we are having lots of fun but, actually, we are not,’ Safin said. ‘We are trying to look normal, as far as we can, but we still remember what is going on out in the east.
‘It’s a good fight, just like the fight that we have right now with the Russians,’ Safin said. ‘We can show that we can do it.’
Ukraine’s national anthem: ‘Glory and Freedom of Ukraine Has not yet Perished’
Ukraine’s glory hasn’t perished, nor freedom, nor will.
Upon us, fellow kin, fate shall smile once more.
Our enemies will vanish, like dew in the morning sun,
And we too shall rule, brothers, in a free land of our own.
We’ll lay down our souls and bodies to attain our freedom,
And we’ll show that we, brothers, are of the Kozak line.
We’ll lay down our souls and bodies to attain our freedom,
And we’ll show that we, brothers, are of the Kozak nation.
[Additional pre-2003 draft lyrics]
We’ll stand, brothers, in bloody battle, from the Sian to the Don,
We will not allow others to rule in our motherland.
The Black Sea will smile and grandfather Dnipro will rejoice,
For in our own Ukraine fortune shall shine again.
Our persistence and our sincere toils will be rewarded,
And freedom’s song will throughout all of Ukraine resound.
Echoing off the Carpathians, and across the steppes rumbling,
Ukraine’s fame and glory will be known among all nations.
Ukraine seal emotional and deserved 3-1 World Cup play-off win over Scotland at Hampden Park in their first match since Russian invasion… with only Wales standing between them and Qatar now
By Ian Ladyman for the Daily Mail
As sporting images go we will wait a while to beat the sight of the Ukraine team, kitted out in their vivid yellow and blue, lost in the embrace of their supporters away in one small corner of Hampden Park following the scoring of their second goal on this remarkable evening.
It was hard to believe these players were here in Scotland at all. That they were about to win this game after playing no football together since December was another thing entirely.
But when the emotion and wider context of this game was stripped away, one simple football fact shone brightly. Ukraine will face Wales in Cardiff on Sunday with a shot at becoming the most popular World Cup finalists of all time because they were the better team by an extraordinary distance.
Ukraine are through to the World Cup play-off final after a 3-1 win over Scotland
The war-ravaged nation have started a fairytale journey towards Qatar and were the better side from the first minute in Glasgow
Artem Dovbyk put the cherry on the cake with a third goal as Ukraine set up a clash with Wales
Scotland were off the pace, wasteful and seemed to freeze under the pressure of the occasion
It was quite the showpiece before kick-off, with Ukraine players arriving on the Hampden Park pitch draped in their country’s flag
This was a game lent late drama as the visiting team understandably tired and Scotland found impetus through a goal from Callum McGregor.
But for the majority of this game, Ukraine were superior to Scotland by a margin nobody could really have expected. They controlled the possession and territory to such a degree that Steve Clarke’s team didn’t threaten their goal until an hour had been played. By that time Ukraine were two goals up.
Scotland were, for the large part, absolutely dreadful. If this was a big night for Ukraine then it was for Scots too and they froze. When the Ukraine substitute Artem Dovbyk broke away to score simply with the very last kick of the night, he restored a winning margin that reflected the difference between the teams at the end of a game that reminded us just what sporting combat can do.
For the Ukrainian players, this was an occasion that enabled them to forget, just for a while, the realities of their nation’s changed circumstances. After weeks locked away in their training camp in Slovenia – safe from war but physically and emotionally detached from the world to which they were previously accustomed – they played with freedom.
Scotland, on the other hand, seemed diminished. The tag of favourites clearly did not suit them and it will be a while before players like the normally infallible John McGinn can forget the horror of such failure. McGinn was not the worst here but he did somehow miss an open goal from six yards.
Hampden had extended due friendship to the several thousand Ukraine supporters inside this great amphitheatre at the start of the game. There were Ukrainian flags carried by some home fans.
Andriy Yarmolenko was sensational and made up for an early miss by lobbing in the opener
The former West Ham star was central to everything Ukraine offered in attack and Scotland could not live with him
Roman Yaremchuk got on the end of a brilliant Yarmolenko cross to steer in the second goal
But when the football started, the Scots were on the back foot and, for the large part, it was where they remained. Clarke’s team played aimlessly direct football while Ukraine manoeuvred themselves in to good positions by way of intelligent passing and numerical overloads.
Craig Gordon, the 39-year-old Scotland goalkeeper, was soon busy, touching a first time half volley from Viktor Tsygankov over the bar after the Ukraine player had run freely on to a Oleksandr Karavaev cross from the right.
The Hearts goalkeeper would have expected to make that one. The ball was struck well but was rising and required just a faint touch. In the 17th minute, though, Gordon produced something special to deny West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko from point blank range.
Played onside by a dozing defender in blue as the ball arrived, Yarmolenko turned and shot low to Gordon’s right but the goalkeeper got a hand to the ball to stall its momentum and was then able to stand, turn and drop on it as opponents closed in.
The Benfica forward wheels away after putting Ukraine in the driving seat at Hampden Park
Yaremchuk is swamped by his team-mates as Ukraine fans go wild in the stands behind them
Ukraine were backed by 3,000 travelling fans and they made their voices heard throughout
The pattern of the game was set already and it shone bright yellow. In the 32nd minute the first goal arrived.
A long ball from the centre half position found Yarmolenko angling a run from the right and when he applied a stunning first touch to the dropping ball he was able to lift it over Gordon and in to the goal.
Gordon had possibly dashed a little too far off his line but it was hard to be critical. He had pretty much kept his team in the game up until that point.
Scotland, booed off at half-time, simply had to improve but they could not. And when another cross from Karavaev on the right found Roman Yaremchuk dropping off his marker at the far post, his climb above Scott McTominay and Aaron Hickey was high enough to facilitate a header directed down and back across Gordon and in to the far corner.
John McGinn was guilty of a horrendous miss as he somehow nodded his header wide
Moments later Callum McGregor rifled the ball at Ukraine keeper Buschchan – and it bounced over the line after he flapped at the shot
With Scotland pushing everyone forwards, Ukraine were allowed to counter and Dovbyk was given the simple task of slotting in their third goal
Scotland looked lost and they were. Briefly home voices raised in anticipation when McGregor charged down a clearance from Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan. But the ball bounced wide and when Bushchan fumbled a McTominay cross on to McGinn’s head soon after, he somehow directed the chance past the post.
Ukraine did tire. They were always likely to. Bushchan was becoming increasingly erratic and this combination offered Scotland late hope. A poor punch and then a fumble allowed McGregor’s bouncing shot to scrape over the line with 12 minutes left and briefly a comeback was on the cards. Finally Hampden found its spirit.
But this was a game decided by quality, not noise. Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko was magnificent in central midfield. The two goal scorers were the epitome of menacing elegance.
Buoyed by this incredible night, Ukraine will travel to Wales for Sunday’s final eliminator with more than just hope carrying them forwards towards Qatar.
Man City star Oleksandr Zinchenko – who was fantastic on the night – celebrates at full time
Ukraine will play Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, with the country on a high after a superb display
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