Scotland v Ukraine World Cup play-off semi-final postponed

Ukraine players

Scotland’s World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine has been postponed.

The nations were set to meet at Hampden on 24 March but Ukraine requested that Fifa moves the tie back following Russia’s invasion of the country.

As a result, the play-off final for the winners – against either Wales or Austria – will now also be delayed.

Discussions are under way for a new date, with the Nations League window in June the most likely option.

The World Cup finals take place from 21 November to 18 December.

A large contingent of recent squads selected by Ukraine have contained players from their homeland, with 15 out of the 23-man pool for November’s World Cup qualifiers playing in their home leagues.

The sides are set to face each other in June on Nations League duty, with each side already scheduled to play four games during that break.

Former Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee agrees with the decision to postpone the play-off semi-final.

“I think it is the right decision, we have got to respect what is going on over there and how it affects their players,” said the Dundee boss, who won four caps for the national team.

“Ukraine deserve equal opportunity, maybe even more so in the circumstances, and at the moment it would be such a big ask for their players to come and play a game at that level. Even to get them together at this time would be a little bit unfair.

“So I don’t think there is anything lost by it. Scotland fans obviously want to know what is happening but I think it is the right thing to do and I don’t think anyone at the Scottish FA will have a problem with that.”

Speaking last week, Scottish FA president Rod Petrie offered his Ukrainian counterpart support as the nations held talks with Fifa over moving this month’s tie.

“Football is inconsequential amid conflict,” said Petrie.

“But we have conveyed the strong sense of solidarity communicated to us by Scotland fans and citizens in recent days.

“[The SFA] have offered to support our Ukrainian colleagues’ preparations as best we can in these unimaginably difficult circumstances.”

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