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War-torn Ukraine are one step closer to the World Cup after beating Scotland in an emotional evening in Hampden

VICTORY FOR Yellow and Blue in more ways than one.

This was for the thousands of innocent Ukrainians murdered by an evil Russian regime.

Ukraine took a step closer to the World Cup with a 3-1 win over Scotland

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Ukraine took a step closer to the World Cup with a 3-1 win over ScotlandPhoto credit: Getty
Ukraine will play Wales in Sunday's final

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Ukraine will play Wales in Sunday’s finalPhoto credit: Getty

For the helpless families who are currently taking shelter underground while heavy bombs pound their eardrums and destroy their homes.

For the weary soldiers – many of them football players by trade – who are still fighting on the battlefield for freedom and peace.

For those in Kyiv who banged drums and supported their team in a basement bar last night after police forced them inside following an air raid warning.

For the 3,500 visitors who made the journey to Hampden to cheer on a team that represents more than just football, but the hope and pride of a nation at war.

Dobvyk ends the Scots with a goal for brilliant Ukrainians
Ukrainian fans hold up Zelensky masks at the World Cup play-off in Scotland
It was an emotional night at Hampden Park as Ukraine celebrated with fans

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It was an emotional night at Hampden Park as Ukraine celebrated with fansPhoto credit: Getty
It was Ukraine's first game since being invaded by Russia

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It was Ukraine’s first game since being invaded by RussiaPhoto credit: Getty

For the 60 orphans in the stands in Glasgow who would give anything to see their parents by their side one last time.

For captain Oleksandr Zinchenko, who was the strong voice and heavy shoulders of his home country, only to burst into tears at the pre-match press conference.

And for her manager Oleksandr Petrakov, who at the age of 64 was dissuaded from taking up arms with the Territorial Defense Force just to say ‘Bring us the World Cup’.

He’s just a game away from doing just that after Andriy Yarmolenko’s lob stunned the Scots in the 33rd minute before Roman Yaremchuk quickly doubled after the break.

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It was a bad night on the field for Scotland

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It was a bad night on the field for ScotlandCredit: EPA
John McGinn was guilty of a horrific close-range miss with a header

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John McGinn was guilty of a horrific close-range miss with a headerPhoto credit: Willie Vass

The latter celebrated by jumping over the gang and hugging the crazed visiting fans. It felt like he was embracing an entire nation, one goal to wipe their tears.

And when Artem Dovbyk added a third late in injury time, all the Ukrainian players dropped to their knees in relief.

Because of those moments, this game will go down in the history books. Not only after what happened on the pitch, but also in the months leading up to it.

Ukraine, running on pure adrenaline and blurring visions of their vulnerable mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in their minds, played Scotland out of the park from the first minute.

To achieve this, after Russia invaded its beloved nation on February 24, was forced to abandon loved ones and flee to Slovenia in late April to attempt some form of training and without a minute of competitive football before that crucial clash with this unique expectation, is nothing short of a sporting marvel.

In truth, it would have been cruel to see the Tartan Army pull off a stunning comeback, even as Callum McGregor snagged one to add to the drama.

In the end, however, the controversial wishes of Scottish legend and ex-skipper Graeme Souness were granted.

Andriy Yarmolenko gave Ukraine the lead after 33 minutes

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Andriy Yarmolenko gave Ukraine the lead after 33 minutesPhoto credit: Reuters
Roman Yaremchuk made it 2-0 in the 49th minute

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Roman Yaremchuk made it 2-0 in the 49th minutePhoto credit: Getty

He wanted to win Ukraine all the time and even said before the game: “FIFA should say it doesn’t matter what happens tonight. This team should go to the World Cup just to keep everyone talking about Ukraine.”

Steve Clarke’s men had to deal with these kinds of mental and morale blows throughout the build. This time it wasn’t just English fans who wanted them to turn around.

Another Scottish idol, Ally McCoist, summed it up: “No one on this planet wants us to win. In fact, there are probably people on other planets who don’t want us to win.”

The scenes before kick-off were scenes of togetherness. Outside the stadium, Scottish and Ukrainian fans joined arm in arm to sing songs that were captured by global news outlets.

In the visitors’ allotted area, yellow and blue flags and banners hung from each seat before the Ukrainian players emerged from the tunnel, each with a flag over their shoulders.

The home fans were encouraged to sing the national anthem of Ukraine with lyrical leaflets. That didn’t happen, but it did get a standing ovation at the end.

Hampden is one of the wildest cauldrons in world football, but for a brief moment it was a place of unity and appreciation for suffering and pain.

Not many opposing national teams are applauded by the Scots. Just ask the Three Lions.

Callum McGregor pulled one back for Scotland with eleven minutes remaining

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Callum McGregor pulled one back for Scotland with eleven minutes remainingCredit: PA
Artem Dovbyk sealed Ukraine's victory with the final shot of the game

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Artem Dovbyk sealed Ukraine’s victory with the final shot of the gamePhoto credit: Reuters

They didn’t let them off easy though, returning to the chorus of boos and jeers as the Ukrainian players gathered in a symbolic group just before kick-off.

What was said is anyone’s guess, but it inspired her to accomplish the impossible.

Yaremchuk and Yarmolenko were both thwarted by Craig Gordon in a wild start that saw two Ukrainians cautioned in the first 10 minutes.

Scotland were nervous when Clarke’s gamble to play an attacking lineup with Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes at the helm backfired.

And the price was paid: Ruslan Malinovskyi’s long ball found Yarmolenko, who outwitted an onrushing Gordon. All from a player who is currently a free agent.

Clarke made changes at the break but nothing could derail this yellow and blue locomotive with a whole country thirsting for glory.

Oleksandr Karavaev’s 49-minute cross at the back post was smashed in by Yaremchuk to decide the tie.

Yes, John McGinn missed a sitter and yes, Scotland came back into play when McGregor’s slap shot crawled over the goal line in the 79th minute, but it just wasn’t in the script.

Off to Cardiff on Sunday for this wondrous, heroic, legendary group of Ukrainian players who were applauded at Hampden.

Qatar is waiting and no team or country deserves more.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5471540/scotland-0-ukraine-2/ War-torn Ukraine are one step closer to the World Cup after beating Scotland in an emotional evening in Hampden

ClareFora

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