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Scotland find themselves on the periphery of history as they stand just two games away from their first World Cup involvement since 1998.
However, while the Scots look to meet their competitive aspirations, Ukraine will be fuelled by national pride as they look to produce a brief moment of joy for a war-torn population. A fixture which was scheduled to take place in March was moved to June due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. While their preparations have been far from ideal, Oleksandr Petrakov's side enter their semi-final clash at Hampden on the back of a 10-match unbeaten run. Ukraine are targeting their first World Cup appearance since 2006, but with the war raging on in the background, a victory in Glasgow would represent a lot more than just a sporting success.
Wales will be keeping a close eye on this one considering they play the winners in the qualifying final in Cardiff.
When: Wednesday, June 1, 19:45 BST
Where: Hampden Park
Where to watch: Sky Sports
Who is the ref for Scotland vs Ukraine?
Dutchman Danny Makkelie will be the man in the middle at Hampden Park. The 39-year-old has officiated games across the globe this season, including in his native Eredivisie, the Champions League, the UAE Pro League and the Saudi Super Cup. Season stats 2021/22: Matches (46), yellow cards (139), red cards (10), penalties (5)
Hampden Park has become a real fortress for Scotland, considering Steve Clarke's men haven't lost at home in 11 World Cup qualifying fixtures. Scotland's general form is also impressive, with the team currently unbeaten in eight - six of those being victories. Ukraine, on the other hand, haven't lost a match since their Euro 2020 exit against England. Ukraine have been involved in a number of unorthodox friendlies during May and have picked up victories over Borussia Monchengladbach and Empoli.
Last time out
Scotland 3-1 Ukraine (International Friendly - March 23, 2018)
The last time these two teams went head-to-head was during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. Scotland needed a win in order to keep up the pressure on group rivals France and Italy, and the Scots certainly delivered on home turf. Goals from Kenny Miller, Lee McCulloch and James McFadden helped the hosts to a 3-1 win. Andriy Shevchenko scored the sole effort for the visitors.
Past two meetings
Scotland wins: 1 Draws: 0 Ukraine wins: 1 Scotland goals: 3 Ukraine goals: 3
Scotland manager Steve Clarke on whether his side are the villains in this fixture: "It's not so much about being the bad guys. We all understand and respect the position of the Ukrainian team. "They've managed to get themselves out of the country to a training camp, they've been playing matches. "They'll be ready for the game. The most important thing for me as Scotland coach is to make sure we're ready, and we'll be ready." Ukraine boss Oleksandr Petrakov said: "There will be an incredible atmosphere in Hampden Park. "After missiles, rockets, and bombs, we don't fear anything. Football is a national treasure. It's a very big responsibility. "I feel it more as the game approaches. Many of our fans are soldiers in the Ukrainian army."
Predicted Scotland vs Ukraine teams
Despite playing the full 90 minutes in Saturday's Champions League final, Andrew Robertson is expected to feature for Scotland. However, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Jack will both be unavailable due to injuries. There are no new injury worries for Ukraine though, with Petrakov set to name his strongest team. Possible Scotland starting line-up: Gordon, Hendry, Hanley, Cooper, O'Donnell, McTominay, McGregor, Robertson, McGinn, Dykes, Christie Possible Ukraine starting line-up: Pyatov, Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko, Malinovskyi, Stepanenko, Zinchenko, Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Tsygankov
Scotland vs Ukraine prediction
While a close contest is expected at Hampden Park, we're backing Scotland to progress. Five of the six ties in these qualifying play-offs have been won by the home side. With that in mind, Scotland to win by a goal is our prediction.
The article Scotland vs Ukraine news: Scots to show no mercy as 24-year World Cup dream edges closer appeared first on Planetsport.com.