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2022 World Cup: Ukraine dismisses Scotland and can dream of Qatar

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In the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup play-offs, the Ukraine football team offered a small breath of hope to their country at war by beating Scotland (3-1) on Wednesday. The Ukrainians will play their World Cup qualifier against Wales on Sunday.

The Ukraine football team offered a small breath of hope to their country at war by beating Scotland (3-1) on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the play-offs for the 2022 World Cup. are more than 90 minutes away, or more if there is extra time or even a penalty shootout, from Qatar, but getting there will require beating Wales in Cardiff on Sunday. From what we saw at Hampden Park in Glasgow, there are reasons to believe it, as the Ukrainians seemed superior to the Scots who generally missed out on this great meeting, despite a goal that gave hope 10 minutes from the end.

Emotion before the meeting

The emotion had already been palpable during the pre-match press conferences on Tuesday, like the tears of Manchester City side Oleksander Zinchenko. The Ukrainian anthem, just before kick-off, had set the tone for an evening necessarily apart. Wrapped in the flag of their country, the Ukrainian players had sang with all their heart, accompanied by many supporters in the stands, many of whom were waving flags or placards calling for peace.

But once the kick-off was given, Oleksandr Petrakov’s players nevertheless had their heads in the field, while their opponents seemed paralyzed by the challenge. After several heroic parries from Craig Gordon, the Ukrainians logically opened the scoring through Andriy Yarmolenko, who went to the limit of offside.

The clumsy Scots

The striker left free by West Ham a few days ago, at the end of his contract, perfectly controlled the ball at the entrance to the surface and magnificently dosed his lob above the doorman to cool Hampden Park ( 0-1, 33rd). Upon returning from the locker room, we expected the reaction of the locals who had promised not to be softened by their empathy towards the situation of their hosts. But it was the Ukrainians who drove the point home, Roman Yaremchuk skillfully heading a cross to double the lead (0-2, 49th). The Scots ended up rebelling, but too clumsily.

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John McGinn inexplicably missed the target on a header from 6 meters, before seeing his recovery countered, after a first strike from Che Adams repelled by Georgi Bushchan (76th). The same Bushchan was not free from reproach by having a not very firm hand on a strike from Conor McGregor which for a time revived the hopes of the Scots (1-2, 79th).

A spark of hope for Ukraine

But the desperate attacks on the goal of the Ukrainians, during the last minutes, were far too disorderly and remained generally not very dangerous. After having badly negotiated a few promising counterattacks, the Ukrainians ended up killing the match thanks to Artem Dovbyk, who started on the verge of offside to close the scoring (1-3, 90+4).

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The Scots will see their wait extended by four years since their last World Cup in 1998, while at the heart of the war against the Russian invaders, the Ukrainians offered themselves a new small spark of hope and dream, in four days , in Cardiff.

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