Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zinchenko believes his nation ‘gave everything’ to reach the World Cup despite defeat in the play-off final to Wales.
With a monumental amount riding on it, an emotionally charged match was played against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine and the ongoing war there. Many neutrals had been willing them to win as a result.
However, after a thrilling match against Scotland in the semi-finals, Zinchenko and his team-mates were unable to win Wales as Andriy Yarmolenko’s goal in the first half proved to be the winner of the match, despite the presence of many. opportunities are clear in both conclusions.
The result means Wales have spent 64 years waiting to play in the World Cup by qualifying for the winter tournament in Qatar.
Speaking after the game, the frustrated Zinchenko – who scored a free-kick which was quickly disallowed – insisted that his team did their best to win the game.
“We all gave our all today, we left everything on the field,” said the Man City coach. “Usually I don’t think we deserved to lose, but that’s football, it happens.
“Football is about emotions, we can bring good feelings to our fans, but unfortunately today we did not get the result we were looking for.”
Zinchenko also called on his people and the world to continue to stand up to the violence in Russia.
“Everyone must continue to fight, as footballers we need to represent our country as best we can,” he said.
“Everyone needs to live in peace and we need to put an end to war. Today is Ukraine, but who knows tomorrow? We need to live together.”
His international manager Oleksandr Petrakov added: “I think we did everything we could, but I really want the people of Ukraine to remember our team, our efforts.
“I want to apologize for not scoring goals but this is a game. I want to extend my gratitude to Wales. I wish the team all the best in the World Cup and the whole of Ukraine is very grateful to Wales.”