Sport

World Cup: Graeme Souness wants Ukraine to beat Scotland

Graeme Souness, a former Scotland midfielder, has made a shocking admission: he wants Ukraine to win the World Cup.

The former Scotland international captain wants Ukraine to win the tournament to ‘send a statement’ that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is despised around the world.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday play-off semi final between Scotland and Ukraine, the 69-year-old said: “I don’t just want Ukraine to qualify, I want them to win it. How far do you have to bury your head in the sand not to realise the situation the world’s in?”

“Will it be when someone presses the button on a nuclear weapon?”

“My emotions when I think about it deeply are that it’s more important than football to send a message that Russia’s behaviour is unacceptable — the world has to unite and tell them that.”

Wales awaits the outcome of the match in order to compete for a spot in the World Cup, which will begin later this year in Qatar.

The West of Scotland Tartan Army’s spokesman, Hamish Husband, was not pleased with Souness’ statements.

He said: “I understand his predicament but it’s disappointing to hear a former captain back another team against his country.”

The UK’s Ukrainian Sports Supporters Club, Stephen Luczka said: “This night goes beyond sport. I agree the game is more important to Ukraine on an emotional level but in footballing terms, it is more important to Scotland.”

The match was supposed to take place in March, but it was postponed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Scotland will have to set aside any feelings of sympathy or emotion for their opponents in order to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998. The encounter at Hampden Park will be one of the most crucial in both Scotland’s and Ukraine’s histories.

The winner of the match between Scotland and Ukraine will face Wales in the World Cup Group B, which also includes England, the United States, and Iran.

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