Ukraine Soccer Team Gifted Flag From Soldiers Ahead Of World Cup Qualifier Against Wales

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Before the Ukraine national soccer team takes the pitch Sunday against Wales with a 2022 FIFA World Cup bid on the line, they’ll hang a flag in their dressing room.

Not just any flag, but one from the frontlines — from Ukrainian soldiers amid the country’s ongoing war with Russia. Ukraine returned to the pitch in their first match since the Russian invasion to defeat Scotland, 3-1, in their FIFA World Cup Qualifier Wednesday at Hampden Park.

Glasgow, Scotland – June 1, 2022: Ukraine fans celebrate the country’s 3-1 victory over Scotland in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier match at Hampden Park. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was a victory dedicated to the Ukrainian people, manager Oleksandr Petrakov said at a press conference Saturday.

“It is a really hard situation in Ukraine, and not everybody has a chance to watch football, and not everybody watches football because of all the problems,” Petrakov said. “Despite this, we will try to concentrate tomorrow and have a great game.

“Personally, I am not in communication with any of the soldiers, but players in the team wrote to our soldiers, and they also received a flag from the war, which we’ve promised to hang up in the dressing room.”

There’s just one final step for Ukraine, and that’s to defeat Wales to punch their ticket to the World Cup for just the second time as an independent nation. Wales, meanwhile, will look to make their first appearance in 64 years. The two teams will kick off at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN in Cardiff, Wales, at Cardiff City Stadium.

“Sport is sport, and we don’t expect any presents from Wales or an unfair win,” Petrakov said. “We know how hard it will be against them. This is the most important match in our lives. We really wish to win, and we will do everything possible to get a victory.”

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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