USMNT will face the winner of the UEFA qualifiers between Ukraine and Wales in the 2022 World Cup opener
Ukraine will face Wales for a place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after a 3-1 win over Scotland at Hampden Park which staged Sunday’s qualifier in Cardiff. Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and Artem Dovbyk were on target for the Ukrainians on an emotional evening in Glasgow as the country played their first competitive game since invading Russia earlier this year.
The United States men’s national team will be very interested in this weekend’s result, with the winner between Wales and Ukraine moving into Group B with England and Iran. However, what is particularly important for the United States is the fact that whoever it is, they will be their first opponents in Al Rayyan on November 21.
On the field in Scotland, the Ukrainians were quick to assert their superiority against their Scottish hosts unable to enter the match. Oleksandr Petrakov’s men took the lead through Yarmolenko when he capitalized on Ruslan Malinovskiy’s assist after 33 minutes.
Just four minutes into the second half, the score was 2-0 with Yaremchuk heading home after Oleksandr Karavaev’s ball. Craig Gordon had already made several saves to ensure the visitors didn’t take a 0-0 lead and Ukraine’s organization and fitness levels. seemed to take Scotland by surprise.
Considering six of the starting XI away are domestic players, they’ve barely seen action this season and still managed to rise to the occasion as part of a magnificent team effort. It was reminiscent of the impressive collective approach under Andriy Shevchenko which saw the Ukrainians reach the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2020 before going on to eventual finalists England.
Callum McGregor managed to sneak an effort down the line with 11 minutes to go to give the Tartan Army hope, but that was not to be the case as Ukraine held on for victory after being disallowed a third goal by the Celtic man. Despite the late gathering at home, the 3,500 traveling fans were jubilant on a memorable night for Les Bleus et Jaunes which ended when Oleksandr Zinchenko lined up Dovbyk to secure the result and enthusiastic applause from the home crowd.
“To be honest, everyone obviously knows about the situation in Ukraine,” an emotional Zinchenko said after the game. “Every game for us is like a final game. But we dream as a team to be at the World Cup, and we have one more game, one more final, and we have to win it, we have to take it, Otherwise this game means nothing.
“We played pretty well, apart from maybe 20 minutes in the second half. Scotland are a great team. They play an open game, not our style, but we did well, scoring three goals and we could have score another. Wales is going to be a massive game for us. We have to show the best performance of our lives, and we’ll see what happens.
Either Ukraine or Wales will start their World Cup campaign against the USMNT before facing Iran at the same Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and finishing Group B with England. Gregg Berhalter’s men face the Three Lions second before closing the pool against the Iranians (full USMNT schedule here). Click here for the full list of World Cup fixtures.
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