Ukraine defender Oleksandr Zinchenko revealed he is shaking inside as he prepares for their World Cup playoff semi-final against Scotland. He denies that the team needs any extra motivation as they strive to make their war-torn homeland proud. This will be Ukraine’s first competition since the invasion by Russia. The winner of the semi-final will take on Wales in Cardiff on Sunday.

“Ukraine is still alive. Ukraine is going to fight until the end. This is our mentality. We never give up. I’m so grateful and so thankful for all the support around the world. Scotland is such a good team. They have unbelievable fans,” Ukraine defender Oleksandr Zinchenko said. “I can promise all the Ukrainian people that every one of us is going to give everything to win the game and to make them proud of us and just maybe for a few seconds we would like to give them this smile.”

“The first period when it just started, it was so complicated to be focused on football. All my thoughts were with Ukraine, the Ukrainian people. I would say for everyone, for every Ukrainian footballer, it was exactly the same,” he added. “This game is one of the most important games in my life. The guys look ready and it’s not necessary to talk about motivation. The physical condition, obviously without the games, it’s not easy to prepare yourself for the guys that haven’t played for a while. In this case, there are no excuses and we have to do our job as best as we can.”

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