Ukraine lost its World Cup qualifying match to Wales, ending the country’s attempt to make the World Cup, but the journey was still an inspiring one.
Had Ukraine won, the team would have played in the same group as the United States during the World Cup. Instead, Wales joins the USMNT, England and Iran in Group B of the group stage and will be the U.S.’s first opponent in Qatar.
After the Ukrainian national team’s attempt to qualify failed, U.S. Soccer released a statement in support of the team and country.
“Despite Ukraine falling to Wales, U.S. Soccer has been inspired by the spirit and bravery of their national team,” they said. “During this horrendous assault against their country, the Ukrainian players provided much needed hope and belief to all of their countrymen and women at home. We are inspired by all of the people of Ukraine and once again provide our unwavering support for our friends within the Ukrainian Association of Football and all people of Ukraine.
“We stand with you in the pursuit of a proper and peaceful resolution. U.S. Soccer congratulates Wales on its victory tonight to qualify for the FIFA World Cup and are honored that you will be our opponent as we open the tournament on November 21.”
Ukraine’s qualifying matches were delayed when Russia invaded the country, but the national team wanted to play to give its people a reason to be inspired. While Ukraine will not participate in the World Cup, the Ukraine Football Federation will resume its leagues in the fall, and the men’s national team will continue playing during the current international window, with three games in the UEFA Nations League.
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