Graeme Souness urges FIFA to create extra spot for Ukraine at World Cup and send message to Russia


Ukraine stars drape themselves in flags of their worn-torn country for emotional rendition of anthem before play-off against Scotland… as Graeme Souness insists FIFA should find room for them at the World Cup regardless of their results

  • Ukraine met Scotland for a chance to play Wales in Sunday’s qualifying final 
  • The play-off was delayed from March following Russia’s invasion of the country
  • Thousands have been killed in the conflict, with millions of Ukrainians displaced 

Ukraine players draped themselves in flags of their worn-torn country during an emotional rendition of anthem before play-off against Scotland.

The match was delayed from March following Russia’s invasion of the country, which was universally condemned but the fighting has continued.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict, with millions of Ukrainians displaced.

Ukraine players draped in flags while singing the national anthem at Hampden Park

Graeme Souness believes FIFA should allow Ukraine to play in the World Cup in Qatar regardless of this week’s play-offs.

And the Scot admitted he wanted Ukraine to beat his own country before Wednesday’s play-off semi-final. 

The two countries met at Hampden for a chance to play Wales in Sunday’s qualifying final for the World Cup.

Ukraine met Scotland at Hampden for a chance to play Wales in Sunday's qualifying final

Ukraine met Scotland at Hampden for a chance to play Wales in Sunday’s qualifying final

But Souness said FIFA should ensure Ukraine feature in the tournament and send a message to the Russian government following the invasion of the country.

He told Sky Sports: ‘It’s the strangest emotion I’ve ever had about a football match. I have mixed emotions. 

‘Football is so important to us but what’s happening in Ukraine right now transcends football. It’s life and death.

Ukraine fans support their team during Wednesday's World Cup play-off semi-final

Ukraine fans support their team during Wednesday’s World Cup play-off semi-final 

‘We’re witnessing pictures I’ve never seen in my life before. It’s only four hours flying time from where we’re standing.

‘We have to support Ukraine, get behind them as much as we can.

‘FIFA should say, it doesn’t matter what happens tonight. This team should be going to the World Cup. Make a group of five somewhere. Ukraine should be going to the World Cup simply to keep Ukraine at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

‘We will get immune to the pictures we see on television. We have to make sure that the people in the Kremlin understand the world does not accept what they’re doing. Football has a part to play.’

A fan holds a banner calling for the end to war during the World Cup play-off semi-final

A fan holds a banner calling for the end to war during the World Cup play-off semi-final

Scot Graeme Souness admitted he wanted Ukraine to win the play-off

A Scotland fan holds a picture of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky

Graeme Souness (left) admitted he wanted Ukraine to win, and (right) a Scotland fan holds an image of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky

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