Zinchenko vows to make Ukraine 'proud' ahead of World Cup play-off

By Sports Desk May 31, 2022

An emotional Oleksandr Zinchenko expressed his hopes to make Ukraine proud by qualifying for the World Cup as conflict with Russia persists.

Zinchenko lifted the Premier League title with Manchester City earlier in May, three months after Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine following heightening political tensions between the two countries.

The 25-year-old dedicated the English top-flight triumph to the people from his homeland, and will now look to deliver more success for Ukraine when they face Scotland in the World Cup play-offs.

The delayed play-off match on Wednesday will mark Ukraine's first outing since the Russia conflict began, with the winner of the game with Scotland facing Wales for a spot in Qatar.

Zinchenko was reduced to tears as he addressed a news conference on Tuesday, detailing his desire to make Ukraine proud once more.

"Every Ukrainian wants one thing – to stop this war," he said. 

"I spoke to people from different countries, all over the world and I spoke to some Ukrainian kids who just don't understand what's happening back in Ukraine.

"They only want the war to stop. They have one dream to stop the war.

"When it comes to football, the team, we have our own dream. We want to go to the World Cup, want to give these incredible emotions to the Ukrainians because they deserve it so much at this very moment."

Hampden Park will host the play-off match and the Scotland supporters will be provided with a translated version, provided by language learning app Duolingo, of the Ukrainian national anthem to show their support.

Zinchenko was quick to thank Scotland for their warm welcome in Glasgow, as he suggested the conflict in Ukraine could happen to any country.

"I would like to say as well that a lot of countries maybe don't understand that – today it is Ukraine but tomorrow it can be you," he added.

"So that's why we need to be united and need to defeat aggression altogether. I am sure that the whole of Ukraine will be watching us. We will feel the support.

"We can talk a lot, but we need to prove everything on the field. We will try to make our people happy and proud."

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