Ukraine defeated Scotland 3-1 to set up a must-win game against Wales on Sunday at Cardiff. goals from Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk, and Artem Dovbyk were enough to help Ukraine progress to the final playoff.
Oleksandr Zinchenko was the star performer for the Ukrainians despite not getting on the score sheet. according to Manchester City star, the win against Scotland will mean nothing if they fail to beat Wales on Sunday to book their World Cup spot.
The winner from the Sunday playoff final between Wales and Ukraine will join England, the United States of America, and Iran in group B of the World Cup. The Sunday playoff will be crucial for both Nations as Wale will seek to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958 and Ukraine will need the win to restore the Country’s spirit.
What did Zinchenko say?
Speaking on Sky Sports after the Scotland victory He said: “Everyone knows the situation right now in Ukraine and every single game for us is like a final.
“We have a dream as a team to be at the World Cup and we have one more game — one more final — and we need to win it. Otherwise, this game is not going to mean anything.
“Scotland is a great team with unbelievable players and we knew it would be tough. But we did well.
“We scored three goals and we could have scored even more, so let’s go in this last game. It’s going to be massive for us.
“Everyone understands the situation. It’s the final and we need to show the best performance of our lives.”
Meanwhile, Sky Sports commentator Ally McCoist admits that Ukraine was the better side.
He said: “I don’t think it was a case of the occasion being too big for some of the players, I just think it’s the brutal fact that Scotland has been beaten by a far better team.
“We’re Scotland a good side but we were beaten tonight [Wednesday] by a very good side who were better than I thought they would be.
“It was a brave and bold decision to play two up front which I don’t think worked for us. When you do that, they dominated the middle of the park and they utilized that very well.
“The two players wide would start high up the park and drop into areas and outnumber us in the middle. They were very clever and Zinchenko was the best player in the park. He was outstanding.”
Scottish Icon Greene Souness seems to agree with Ally McCoist’s remarks about Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The former Scotland skipper said: “Zinchenko ran the show and I don’t think there were any surprises in what we saw from him tonight.
“The way he plays at Man City, he flips in and out of playing as a left-back and in the center of midfield.
“When he goes into midfield, he’s a really good footballer and he was the catalyst for Ukraine keeping the ball, threading it through when the time was right.
“He played like a seasoned midfielder. I’m reluctant to be harsh on Scotland as we play with spirit but we didn’t have the quality to match Ukraine in vital areas. It saddens me to say this but we just weren’t good enough.”