An all-or-nothing game in both teams’ bids to reach the finals, the one-off knockout match could end their World Cup dreams or leave them one game away from being in Qatar in November.
Ukraine have not qualified for the finals since their solitary World Cup appearance in 2006, when they reached the quarterfinals in Germany.Many neutrals will be willing Ukraine’s players to progress in a year when their preparations — and, in many cases, their careers — have been wildly disrupted by the attack on their homeland. Let’s take a look at the squad.
How many members of Ukraine’s squad play in Ukraine?Of the 26 players named by coach Oleksandr Petrakov in his 26-man squad, 16 are from Ukrainian clubs.
The Ukrainian Premier League 2021/22 season was officially cancelled on April 27, although none of the teams had been in action since December. No league title was awarded.
Although adult men were ordered not to leave the country under martial law imposed in Ukraine following the start of Russia’s invasion in February, some high-profile athletes including members of the national squad were granted special dispensation to head abroad.
Many faced arduous routes out of Ukraine. Since April, the squad has been based at Slovenia’s national football base in Brdo, and the team arrived in Glasgow shortly before their game against Scotland on June 1.
Will Ukraine’s team be strong against Scotland?
Dynamo Kyiv (16 titles) and Shakhtar Donetsk (13) have dominated the Ukrainian Premier League since 1992, finishing top at the end of all but one season and representing their country in the Champions League.
The clubs contribute half of the players in the squad. Ukraine can count upon vastly experienced players such as goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov and midfielder Taras Stepanenko, both of whom are caps centurions and play for Shakhtar.
Petrakov has players from top leagues elsewhere in Europe across his squad. Young goalkeeper Andriy Lunin has impressed as deputy to Thibaut Courtois at Champions League winners Real Madrid, and versatile wideman Oleksandr Zinchenko lifted the Premier League with Manchester City.
Left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko has just completed his debut season with Everton after joining the Toffees from Dynamo, and captain Andriy Yarmolenko celebrated in emotional style on several occasions after scoring for West Ham while the attack on Ukraine continued.
Centre-forward Roman Yaremchuk netted three goals in 10 Champions League appearances this season to help Benfica reach the round of 16, scoring in a 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield as the Portuguese side departed the competition after entertaining in the knockout stage.
Although Ukraine have a poor record away to British teams, they were unbeaten in the group stage of qualifying — an impressive feat when their table was topped by World Cup holders France.
Ukraine squad for 2022 World Cup playoff vs. Scotland
This is the Ukraine squad hoping to advance to the playoff final against Wales on June 5. All clubs are Ukrainian unless otherwise stated.
|Player||Club team||Last competitive international|
|Georgiy Bushchan||Dynamo Kyiv||16/11/2021|
|Andriy Pyatov||Shakhtar Donetsk||07/06/2021|
|Dmytro Riznyk||Vorskla Poltava||11/11/2021|
|Andriy Lunin||Real Madrid (Spain)||11/11/2020|
|Oleksandr Karavaev||Dynamo Kyiv||16/11/2021|
|Illya Zabarnyi||Dynamo Kyiv||16/11/2021|
|Oleksandr Syrota||Dynamo Kyiv||08/09/2021|
|Denys Popov||Dynamo Kyiv||23/05/2021|
|Mykola Matvienko||Shakhtar Donetsk||16/11/2021|
|Valeriy Bondar||Shakhtar Donetsk||11/11/2020|
|Vitaliy Mykolenko||Everton (England)||04/09/2021|
|Eduard Sobol||Club Brugge (Belgium)||16/11/2021|
|Taras Kacharaba||Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)||08/09/2021|
|Taras Stepanenko||Shakhtar Donetsk||16/11/2021|
|Mykhaylo Mudryk||Shakhtar Donetsk||24/03/2021|
|Serhiy Sydorchuk||Dynamo Kyiv||16/11/2021|
|Viktor Tsygankov||Dynamo Kyiv||16/11/2021|
|Mykola Shaparenko||Dynamo Kyiv||16/11/2021|
|Andriy Yarmolenko||West Ham (England)||16/11/2021|
|Oleksandr Zinchenko||Manchester City (England)||16/11/2021|
|Ruslan Malinovskyi||Atalanta (Italy)||16/11/2021|
|Oleksandr Zubkov||Ferencvaros (Hungary)||16/11/2021|
|Artem Dovbyk||SC Dnipro-1||16/11/2021|
|Roman Yaremchuk||Benfica (Portugal)||16/11/2021|
|Danylo Sikan||Hansa (Germany)||08/09/2021|