Ukraine’s Quest For The World Cup Ends


Ukraine had seen the war shatter millions of lives and after 15 hours of Russia renewing its assault on Kyiv, a Ukrainian captain dug his face into Welsh grass, defeated.

Andriy Yarmolenko had just scored the own goal that would, ultimately, end his nation’s improbable World Cup quest. Wales beat Ukraine 1-0 in Cardiff on Sunday to qualify for Qatar, and book a date with the United States on the tournament’s opening day.

Gareth bale and his teammates celebrated in happiness while Yarmolenko stayed prone for a moment, and a second — but then, as if to embody his country’s indefatigable resilience, he lifted his sweat- and rain-drenched body, and trudged back toward midfield to go again.

Ukraine Pushed On For The Equalizer

The Ukrainian teammates encouraged him and they managed to recover rapidly. They pushed onwards towards the Welsh goal, but the equalizer never came.

Oleksandr Zinchenko lashed a free-kick into the net, only to be told that the referee’s whistle had not yet blown to allow him to restart play.

Ruslan Malinovskyi and Viktor Tsygankov came close to leveling the score. Mykola Shaparenko guided a shot just wide, and Artem Dovbyk was denied only by a flying save from Hennessey.

Yarmolenko, in the 92nd minute, tried yet again but fired his 20-yard shot over the bar.

Ukraine was relentless, and for 95 agonizing minutes desperately unlucky.

But they were, and will forever be inspirational ambassadors of a sovereign nation, and emblems of a distinct Ukrainian culture, the very two things that Vladimir Putin is trying to erase. They crouched to soaked turf, dejected because they won’t get to broadcast their message to millions in November, but the message will persist.

They were, and still are fiercely proud Ukrainians, and their countrymen will be fiercely proud of them. They walked stoically into the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday with oversize blue and yellow flags draped around their shoulders. They saluted fans who chanted in support of them but also in support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces repelling the Russian invasion back home.

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