April 19 – Despite the devastating invasion by Russia, Ukraine is not letting the war crush its hopes of reaching World Cup finals and has agreed to play its postponed playoff with Scotland on June 1.
Although its domestic league has closed down and travel logistics look like being complicated, the playoff semi-final in Glasgow, postponed in March, will go ahead with the winner to meet Wales on June 5 to determine the final European berth in Qatar.
The playoff winner will go into a group at the World Cup in November with England, the United States, and Iran.
“FIFA would like to thank all of the parties involved for the strong spirit of solidarity and cooperation that has led to this unanimous decision,” FIFA said in a statement.
Most of the Ukraine squad is drawn from Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk but there has been no organised domestic football since the winter break.
Ukraine’s decision to play and not forfeit the fixture will not be lost on Russia who were also scheduled to take part in the playoffs but have been banned from international football by both UEFA and FIFA.
“It will be great to be able to welcome to Ukraine to Hampden Park in June,” said Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell
“While, understandably, there will be two sets of competitive players who are committed to taking another step closer to World Cup qualification, we also understand and appreciate the wider context in which the match will take place.
“We have been consistent throughout that postponing the original tie was the right and only thing to do and look forward to hosting Ukraine at Hampden Park in June.”
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