On Wednesday, Ukraine will meet Scotland to take a step on the way to the World Cup in Qatar this fall. The match was supposed to take place in March, but was postponed due to the war in Ukraine.
This is Ukraine’s first competitive match since the away win over Bosnia in November last year. Since February, the war has made football impossible.
The war is in full swing, more tragic and devastating than ever.
Ironically, then, football for the national team is also more important than ever for people torn apart by war. Players are reminded of it all the time, knowing what it means to the soldiers and civilians of their homeland.
– Our soldiers regularly write to us and urgently ask about one thing: to be able to get to the World Cup, says midfielder Taras Stepanenko. Sky Sports.
He was born and raised in the village of Velika Novoselicia in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The village was completely destroyed in the war.
He hopes to be able to pay off some of what he thinks he owes to the soldiers fighting in his district, by making it to the World Cup.
It was a tremendous encouragement to the people of the war-torn country.
Stepanenko is one of those who played in the domestic league until the war. The man, who played 64 caps for Shakhtar Donetsk, played for most of his career.
The club is based in Donbass, where it has been at war for many years, a war that escalated sharply during the Russian invasion in February.
Help cannot be sent to her war-torn hometown
– This is a salute to those who defend the nation Ukraine, says Oleksandr Karavagiev, another player with whom Sky Sports spoke.
Karavajeev should interrupt the interview with Sky Sports. Its origin is from Kherson, a large city occupied by Russian forces immediately after the invasion.
He was always traveling to his hometown on vacation. Now he is not allowed to send medicine and other aid to his relatives in his hometown.
The least we can do for our soldiers
Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin also emphasized how important the match was for all those connected to Ukraine.
Soldiers fighting for Ukraine inspire the whole world. We will go out and do our job of giving them back a positive experience. Lunin says, this is the least we can do for them, we will give everything Ukrainian Football Association.
Against this backdrop, Ukraine is competing for the World Cup at Hampden Park in Glasgow – with minimal combat training and preparation, but with motivation that outweighs most.
Since it became an independent country in the 1990s, Ukraine has been a good footballing country. Last year, they reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship.
Lacks combat training
They have many players in the big clubs in the major leagues. However, a lot of the team members come from clubs in their home country. There, the league and club football was suspended when the invasion came, and therefore many matches were not played for a long time.
– It is good for Ukraine to be able to show that they are not only victims of war, but can also play good football, or make good music as they did when they won Eurovision. At least he created a lot of enthusiasm in the ceiling, Jörn Holm Hansen tells NRK.
Researcher in Oslo specializing in Ukrainian society.
He also believes that the solidarity with Ukraine is so great that there will likely be many in the stands who will cheer them on.
It is important for them to see that many of them show support and enthusiasm for the country, says Holm Hansen.
– Ukraine is still alive
Ukrainian law that says men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country makes an exception for footballers. It shows how much the national team means to Ukraine in this time of war.
Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko says it is not at all necessary to talk about motivation.
It also tells the story of the national team coach Oleksandr Petrakov. When Russia invaded, the 64-year-old wanted to help defend the country from day one, and he showed up at the recruiting office.
rejected on this grounds:
– We’ll take care of that. It is much better if you hire our national team for the World Cup.
Sounis cheer for Ukraine
For the host team Scotland, it will be a match against more than two Ukrainian players on the field. They know that sympathy for Ukraine is great, and they will crawl away in the bleachers of Hampden Park.
Knowing that it will affect the British teams. Because if Ukraine beat Scotland on Wednesday, they must beat Wales on Sunday to secure a World Cup ticket. And there they will come in groups with England.
– I hope Ukraine wins and goes to the World Cup, says Graeme Souness the National.
It’s exciting, because Souness is a former captain of the Scottish national team. He admits it is difficult.
– I tell myself that this is just football, and do we really want to beat them? Whether it is sports, art or politics, we must send a very strong message to Russia that what they are doing is unacceptable.
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