Scotland v Ukraine: Zinchenko ‘shaking inside’ as he aims to make country proud
|Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Wednesday, 1 June Time: 19:45 BST|
|Coverage: Listen to live commentary on Sportsound and follow live text updates on the BBC Sport website & app|
Oleksandr Zinchenko says “it’s not necessary to talk about motivation” for Ukraine as they bid to make their war-torn homeland proud in Wednesday’s World Cup play-off with Scotland.
The Manchester City left-back is key to Ukraine’s hopes at Hampden.
Wales await the winner of the tie, with the final in Cardiff on Sunday.
Ukraine will be playing their first competitive match since the country’s invasion by Russia and Zinchenko is “shaking inside” at the prospect.
“Ukraine is still alive,” the 25-year-old told the BBC. “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 are such a good team. They have unbelievable fans.
“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 ongoing conflict in Ukraine started in February and the play-off semi-final was postponed from its original March date.
“The first period when it just started, it was so complicated to be focused on football,” explained Zinchenko.
“All my thoughts were with Ukraine, Ukrainian people. I would say for everyone, for every Ukrainian footballer, it was exactly the same.
“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 is no excuses and we have to do our job as best as we can.”