Ukraine returns to international football, wins first match

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Ukraine’s national soccer team returned to international competition for the first time in more than three months with an emotional win against Scotland on Wednesday.

With a chance to make it to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at stake, Ukraine won 3-1 in the team’s first match back since Russia invaded the country in February.

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The matchup at Hampden Park in Glasgow was originally set to take place in March, but FIFA rescheduled the game because Ukraine was unable to field a team as Russian troops attacked.

The Ukrainian Premier League suspended its season in April due to the conflict.

National team players and coaches were granted permission to travel abroad in their effort to qualify for the World Cup.

Two of the team’s top stars Oleksander Zinchenko and Andriy Yarmolenko play for clubs in the English Premier League and have joined the squad for the final qualifiers.

“Every single game for us is like a final game,” Zinchenko said after the match. “We have dreams, as a team, to be in the World Cup, so we have one more game, one more final, and we need to win it.”

Yarmolenko opened the scoring for the visitors, who added a second with a header from Roman Yaremchuk at the start of the second half.

Scotland responded with a late goal from Callum McGregor, setting up a dramatic last 10 minutes that saw the Ukrainians manage to hold on, with Artem Dovbyk putting in a third goal to seal the win just before the final whistle.

Ukraine and Scotland’s women’s teams are also are scheduled to face off in a Women’s World Cup qualifier on June 23, which was postponed from April.

Ukraine’s men’s team will face Wales on Sunday, with the winner of that matchup going on to play in the World Cup in November, joining England, the US and Iran in Group B.

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