World Cup Playoff: Ukraine’s Quality Was Enough To Beat Wales

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Ukraine’s World Cup dream is still alive after they beat Scotland 3-1 in their playoff elimination round at Hampden Park on Wednesday May June 1, to set up a winner takes all clash with Wales for a spot in Qatar.

Playing their first official game since Russia’s attack of the country in February 2022, Ukraine showed an incredible display to beat a Scotland team that would need to hang tight for their most memorable World Cup appearance starting around 1998.

Ukraine’s skipper Andriy Yarmolenko opened the scoring for the guests with a fine flung finish in the 33rd minute in the wake of beating the Scottish offside trap. Striker Roman Yaremchuk then gave Ukraine a few additional expectations with a header past Craig Gordon only four minutes into the final part.

Scotland took steps to make a rebound late on and pulled one back when Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan let a Callum McGregor shot get past him and creep over the line with 11 minutes remaining.

However, the quality of the Ukraine team was more than deserving of their victory, and so they made sure they found the net again in the final seconds when Artem Dovbyk broke away and scored the third for Ukraine.

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Most of Ukraine’s squad plays in the country’s domestic league, which has been on hiatus since the Russian-instigated war began 99 days ago. But, after having just three exhibition games against European club teams to prepare, they are now just 90 minutes away from the World Cup.

Ukraine’s home-based players have not played competitive football since December but they were quick out of the blocks and caused Scotland problems from the outset.

Home keeper Gordon had to make three saves in the opening 25 minutes to keep the game scoreless with Ukraine’s smooth passing and movement too much for a hesitant Scottish defence.

It was a merited success for Ukraine and one which came more from their quality football.

The winner between Wales and Ukraine in Cardiff on Sunday (streaming LIVE, ESPN+, noon ET), will slot into Group B in Qatar, alongside England, the United States and Iran.

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