Sun 03 April 2022 | 14:30

Stepanenko wants Ukraine's World Cup play-off to be delayed again

Taras Stepanenko does not want Ukraine to be labeled "victims," but wishes that their World Cup qualifying playoffs against Scotland will be postponed once more.

Taras Stepanenko

, a playmaker for


, hopes the World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final against Scotland to be rescheduled. 

The match between Scotland and Ukraine was supposed to take place last month, but FIFA postponed it until June owing to Russia's assault on Ukraine. 

As a result, Wales, who defeated Austria 2-1 in their play-off semi, is yet to learn who they will meet in the November World Cup in Qatar.

Wales, Scotland, and Ukraine all know the group they'll be in if they advance, with the winner of the play-offs being placed in Group B with




, and the

United States

However, with no prospect of the crisis in Ukraine ending, Stepanenko, who has 69 caps for his nation, has asked FIFA to postpone the fixture against Scotland once more. 


Shakhtar Donetsk

player, who hasn't played since December, said to The Sunday Times:

"We don't want to be known as victims here. We are strong and capable guys, everyone is fine, and we can play 100 percent.

"But the question I would ask is how can we play such an important game when you haven't played a match for such a long time?

"Every football player knows that if you recover from an injury for a long time, no matter how much you work out in the gym and do running, you go out to play football and everything is different.

"The level and strength may not be enough with one match, but we will be asked to play two incredibly tough matches in maybe four days to get to the World Cup. If there is no option, then we must play.

"But I think it would be extremely difficult to achieve two positive results. We are hoping FIFA and UEFA recognize this and postpone the matches to give us more time to prepare."

Given the exceptional conditions, both England boss Gareth Southgate and USA manager Gregg Berhalter said following the World Cup draw in Doha on Friday that they were not worried about how long it may take for the final squad in their group to be determined.

"When that tie is played out is irrelevant really," said Southgate, while Berhalter added: "We're patient on that and pulling for [Ukraine] 100 percent."


source: SportMob

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