Ukraine World Cup playoff decision confirmed
Ukraine and Scotland will meet in their rescheduled World Cup qualifying playoff semifinal on June 1, UEFA has confirmed, with the winners facing Wales four days later.
The initial match between Ukraine and Scotland had been scheduled for March 24 but was postponed due to the conflict with Russia.
There was uncertainty over how soon the fixture could be fulfilled, with a place at the 2022 Qatar World Cup at stake should the victors then overcome Wales in the qualifying playoff final.
UEFA announced in a statement on Thursday that a date for the game at Hampden Park in Glasgow had been agreed.
“The European Qualifiers playoff between Scotland and Ukraine will be played on 1 June and the winner will face Wales on 5 June in the playoff final,” read the message, declaring the schedule had been reached “in a remarkable spirit of solidarity and cooperation.”
Either Scotland or Ukraine will progress to the playoff final in Cardiff against Wales, who defeated Austria 2-1 in their semifinal, which was completed as planned in March.
FIFA and UEFA had announced on March 8 that the Scotland versus Ukraine match would be postponed, citing a request from the Ukrainian Association of Football “owing to the impossibility of organizing both the travel and training of a team under the current circumstances.”
That same announcement had declared that Poland – who were originally due to meet Russia in their World Cup qualifying semifinal in Moscow on March 24 – would be given a bye to the final.
The Poles went on to book their place in Qatar with victory over Sweden.
Russian teams were banned by UEFA and FIFA in the wake of the military operation in Ukraine, but the Russian Football Union (RFU) has appealed that decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
The process has thus far been unsuccessful for the RFU, although a definitive verdict is still pending.
There have been suggestions from some quarters that Ukraine should even be granted an automatic spot at the Qatar World Cup because of the current circumstances.
Scottish football legend Kenny Dalglish recently proposed that if they could not fulfil their fixtures this year, then Ukraine should gain automatic passage to the World Cup in 2026.
Ukraine manager Oleksandr Petrakov has dismissed those suggestions, saying the team should earn its place at the quadrennial showpiece.