Tottenham forward Steven Bergwijn has confirmed his desire to find a new club, saying: "I want to leave Spurs now, that's for sure."

The Netherlands international has been linked with a move away from the Premier League side since the January transfer window, having struggled for game time since the arrival of Antonio Conte as head coach in November.

Bergwijn has started just one league game under the Italian, making a further 19 appearances from the bench, scoring three goals.

His most notable contribution during the season came when he was introduced in the 79th minute away at Leicester City with his team 2-1 down, before scoring twice in stoppage time to turn the game around.

The 24-year-old joined Spurs in January 2020 from PSV Eindhoven for a reported fee of £27million (€31.5m), and has made 83 appearances for the club in all competitions (38 starts), scoring eight goals.

Bergwijn, who scored for his country in Friday's 4-1 win at Belgium in the Nations League, told Dutch outlet AD he wants "clarity" on his future soon.

"I'm at Oranje now and then we'll have a look," he said. "It would be nice if there was clarity soon. I just have to go play.

"But I want to leave Spurs now, that's for sure."

Bergwijn also said he would be happy to join a team not competing in the Champions League, and revealed he was denied the opportunity to leave the north London club in January.

"That's not even top priority [playing in the Champions League]. Though it would be nice. What's important is that I'm going to play," he said.

"I wasn't allowed to leave Spurs in the winter and then I didn't have any problems. The last few months I was hardly looked after there. Now I want to play somewhere every week."

Bergwijn has been strongly linked with a move to Ajax, and admitted he could move back to his home country, especially with the World Cup looming at the end of the year.

"That could be, yes," he said when asked about the possibility. "It's about my situation now, that has to be different."

Sadio Mane has become Senegal's record goalscorer after his hat-trick secured a 3-1 win over over Benin in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.

The Liverpool forward scored twice from the penalty spot and netted another in Dakar to move onto 32 goals in 90 games for his country.

Mane's treble moved him beyond Henri Camara's tally of 31 for the champions of Africa.

The 30-year-old's record-breaking achievement comes amid intense speculation over his future following another outstanding season for Jurgen Klopp's side.

On Friday, the attacker quipped that he would do what the people of his Senegal want him to do, amid reports he could be on his way to Bayern Munich.

Gareth Bale says his future in football is not dependent on the result of Wales' World Cup play-off final against Ukraine on Sunday.

Bale, who was the world's most expensive player when he joined Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013, has confirmed he will leave the European champions when his contract expires at the end of this month.

The 32-year-old has been linked with a return to Spurs, where he spent the 2020-21 campaign on loan, as well as hometown club Cardiff City, while it has also been suggested he could retire if Wales fail to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Bale, though, insisted the result of Sunday's clash at the Cardiff City Stadium will have no bearing on his decision over what to do next season.

Asked if his future hinges on the vital clash, Bale said: "Not necessarily, no. Like I've said before, I'm not concentrating on what lies ahead in the future.

"We have a massive game that all my focus is on. I really don't need to think or worry about anything else. I have no other worries."

Asked if he has offers on the table for next term already, Bale responded: "I've got loads!"

Restricted to just seven appearances in all competitions for Madrid this season, Bale also missed Wales' Nations League clash against Poland on Wednesday.

However, the talismanic forward, who carried out Saturday's media conference at Wales' training ground rather than at the stadium, said he is fit and ready for the match against Ukraine.

"After training I have my routines," he explained "When we have the press conference at the Vale, it's convenient. I can do my stuff and get ready for the game.

"Having to take two hours out of my day to get to the stadium didn't quite work. So we did it this way. Apologies but unfortunately the game comes first!"

Bale also said he would not apologise to Ukraine should Wales edge past them to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958.

Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced and thousands left defending their homeland after Russia invaded the country in March.

Asked if he would apologise, Bale said: "As horrible as it sounds, no. As it is a game of football and it is a competition that we want to get to as well.

"Everyone in the world feels for Ukraine. It is sport that unites everybody. We understand what it will do for Ukraine, but we want to get to the World Cup.

"That is not coming from a horrible place. It is coming from our country and hearts as we want to deliver for our own fans."

Carlos Tevez has confirmed his retirement from football at the age of 38, citing the death of his father as the reason why he turned down offers to continue playing.

Tevez enjoyed a glittering career, particularly in England where he played for both Manchester United and Manchester City.

As well as three separate spells at boyhood club Boca Juniors, he also spent time at Corinthians, West Ham United, Juventus and Shanghai Shenhua.

Tevez played his final game for Boca Juniors in 2021 before saying goodbye, though at the time he left the door open for a move to another team.

However, in quotes relayed by Mundo Albiceleste, Tevez said on Friday that even though he had received offers from Major League Soccer in the United States, he had stopped playing because he no longer had his "number one fan" after the passing of his father.

"I have retired, it's confirmed," he said. "They offered me many things, including from the United States. But that's it, I have given everything.

"Playing the last year was very difficult but I was able to see my old man. I stopped playing because I lost my number one fan."

Tevez won a remarkable 26 titles in his career and is among only four Argentine players to win both the CONMEBOL Libertadores Cup and the Champions League, lifting the biggest prize in European club football with United in 2008.

He also played at two World Cups for Argentina, in 2006 and 2010.

For Wales, the wait is nearly over.

After a delay of more than two months owing to the horrific events that have unfolded in Ukraine, Wales finally get a shot at ending their long wait for a place at the World Cup.

With their opponents now known following Ukraine's impressive victory against Scotland in midweek, the Dragons' date with destiny finally arrives in Cardiff this Sunday.

And after a wait of some six-and-a-half decades since last appearing at the biggest football tournament of them all, the excitement could not be any higher.

If Wales are to jump the final hurdle and make it to Qatar 2022, though, they must do something no side has achieved since Croatia in October 2017 – beat Ukraine in a qualifier.

Ukraine have proved their resolve in more ways than one and now, spurred on by most of the world, Oleksandr Petrakov's battlers are potentially 90 minutes from the World Cup.

Stats Perform looks at how both sides shape up ahead of the showdown at Cardiff City Stadium.


QUALIFYING RECORDS

While Wales have enjoyed runs to the semi-finals and last 16 of the past two European Championships, not since 1958 have they competed on the grandest stage of them all.

Should they reach Qatar 2022, that gap of 64 years would surpass the record jointly held by Egypt and Norway of 56 years between tournament participations.

To put into context just how long ago Wales' only previous World Cup outing was, Brazil great Pele scored the only goal against them in that year's quarter-final.

At 17 years and 239 days, he still holds the record of being the tournament's youngest-ever goalscorer.

 

Ukraine have themselves competed at the World Cup just once, albeit having only had six previous attempts at qualifying as an independent nation.

The Eastern European country reached the quarter-finals in Germany 16 years ago, where they were beaten 3-0 by eventual winners Italy.

Like opponents Wales, they have twice qualified for the European Championship, as well as being given direct entry to the tournament as joint-hosts with Poland in 2012.

 

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

The two teams' pedigree is pretty similar, then, as is their record against one another down the years.

Only three times have they previously met, with two of those finishing all square in World Cup 2002 qualifying, and Ukraine winning the other 1-0 in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly.

Incidentally, current Wales boss Rob Page played the full 90 minutes in Ukraine's only previous outing on Welsh soil, with that contest ending in a 1-1 draw 20 years ago.

 

PLAY-OFF PEDRIGREE

Wales' record when it comes down to crunch fixtures down the years has been pretty impressive, having won all three of their previous World Cup qualifying play-off games.

The Dragons beat Israel over both legs in qualifying for the 1958 edition and saw off Austria 2-1 in March to set up their clash with Ukraine, who beat Scotland in the other semi.

History is not exactly on Ukraine's side in that regard, though, as they have failed to reach the tournament in each of their previous four play-offs – in 1997, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

 

If it is to be fourth time lucky, the Blue and Yellow will have to breach Wales' Cardiff City Stadium fortress, where Page's side are unbeaten in 17 matches since November 2018.

But Ukraine certainly know how to grind out results on their travels, having won each of their past three away competitive matches, including that 3-1 win in Glasgow this week.

In fact, Petrakov's side have gone unbeaten home and away throughout Qatar qualifying, as was the case en route to reaching Euro 2020.

That run of 18 games without losing in qualifying is a record only Belgium can match among European nations.

 

KEY MEN

When it comes down to the individual battles, at full strength there is very little between two nations separated by just nine places in the latest FIFA rankings.

For Wales, Bale undoubtedly remains the focal point of the side in what could reportedly be his final ever game in professional football should his side taste defeat.

The free agent has only played six games in qualifying, totalling 488 minutes, yet only five European players have been involved in more than his eight goals.

With those five goals and three assists, Bale is averaging a goal or assist every 61 minutes for his country on the road to Qatar.

 

There is not one standout star in the Ukrainian ranks, as such, but plenty of focus will be on Roman Yaremchuk, who was on the scoresheet at Hampden Park.

The Benfica attacker is Ukraine's top scorer this qualifying campaign with four goals, the past three of those coming in away matches.

This run to the qualifying play-off final has very much been built on unity, though, which will again be on show in the Welsh capital on Sunday.

Yet whether it is the chance to put history right, make a nation of people proud or anything in between, the end goal for Wales and Ukraine is ultimately the same.

Hansi Flick says Germany want 'to be among the best in the world again' as his side kick off their Qatar 2022 World Cup preparations in the Nations League against Italy.

Since defeat at Euro 2020 to England - in the final match of the Joachim Low era - Germany have gone unbeaten under their new coach.

That rich vein of form faces its sternest test yet in the shape of the incumbent European champions, who represent a major threat despite failing to reach Qatar 2022 themselves.

But speaking about the mood within his squad, Flick appears unfazed and says his team are ready to claim back their place at the summit of world football.

"The situation has been clear since the first meeting," he stated in his pre-match press conference. "We want to be among the best in the world again, where Germany belongs.

"It's important to get back into competition mode. We have to be careful what happens on the field. But I think everyone is very motivated. It will be a good game for us."

Elsewhere, Flick paid tribute to opposite number Roberto Mancini too, while admitting the Azzurri's failure to reach the World Cup took him by surprise.

"I have great respect for him and appreciate him very much," he added. "He has the quality, class and passion to bring Italy back to where it belongs.

"We all know how difficult it can be against supposedly small opponents. Nevertheless, we were all surprised that Italy was eliminated.

"It's certainly not easy to predict the opponent. He did a fantastic job after the World Cup in Russia. We were all fans during the European Championship.

"The team spirit and the way they played football was impressive. He will try to do the same thing again."

Harry Kane declared he wants to break Wayne Rooney's England scoring record "as soon as possible" ahead of the Nations League away game in Hungary.

Tottenham talisman Kane fired in 17 goals and added nine assists in the Premier League, after a slow start, to help Antonio Conte's Spurs to Champions League qualification.

The 28-year-old's attention now turns to England, who face Hungary on Saturday before travelling to Germany, with Italy to follow on June 11 in Group A3. England wrap up their run of games with a home clash against Hungary three days later.

Manager Gareth Southgate will see it as a perfect opportunity to evaluate his squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar in November, while Kane eyes a personal milestone of his own.

The striker has scored 49 goals in 69 appearances for England after moving level with Bobby Charlton's international tally in a 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland at Wembley in March.

Kane, who has been involved in 16 goals in his last 12 appearances for England (15 goals, 1 assist), sits just four behind Rooney's record 53 strikes for his country, and the Spurs man wants to surpass that total as soon as he can.

 

"It seems like a long time ago I made my debut," Kane told a news conference on Friday.

"It's still one of the best feelings, playing for England and pulling on the shirt. Back then it wasn't a number I had in my head.

"It all goes so quickly with the games and major tournaments. It's great to be nearer 50, although, still a few behind Wazza!

"I'd like to break it as soon as possible and see where we go from there."

Kane appreciates the Nations League campaign offers England players a chance to catch the eye of Southgate ahead of the World Cup.

He said: "We have a small amount of games in a short amount of time, so people will want to impress the manager.

"There are some great opportunities in there – for me included. I want to show what I can do. Four more games – six before the World Cup – so we have to be ready."

As for a return to the Puskas Arena, where England players were subject to racial abuse last September, Kane wants the Three Lions to do their talking on the pitch.

"Personally, and as a team, we were really pleased with the way we performed last time," he said.

"I feel like we had a great victory away from home, straight after the Euros as well. We showed a really good mindset, so I think for our point of view, it's about football on the pitch, playing a very good team.

"They came to Wembley and picked up a good result against us when we weren't quite on our game, so we know it's going to be a tough, tough game.

"We feel like we can go out there and put in a good performance."

Fikayo Tomori says being among the celebrations when Italy beat England in the Euro 2020 final is motivating him to play his part as the Three Lions looks to go one better at the World Cup.

Tomori has been called up to England's upcoming Nations League matches, which will include a home clash with Italy – the country in which the defender has impressed since joining Milan last year.

Having starred on loan with the Rossoneri during the second half of the 2020-21 season, Tomori completed a permanent move to San Siro last June, before making 31 Serie A appearances as Milan won their first Scudetto since in 11 years.

Tomori was left out of England's squad for Euro 2020, meaning he was in Milan when Gareth Southgate's team suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Roberto Mancini's Italy last July.

And the former Chelsea defender says he will use that memory as motivation if afforded the opportunity to feature for England in Qatar later this year.

Recalling England's Wembley defeat, Tomori said: "When [Italy] equalised, I had a face on and didn't want to look too down.

"But as the penalties were going on, it was difficult to watch. I was near the Duomo [the cathedral in Milan, where fans celebrated the victory] and, in a way, it was nice to see them celebrating. I was right in the middle of it.

"But really I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I'd felt how it was in England as we advanced, it was madness. Then I saw Italy celebrate after the final and it's definitely a motivation for me.

"I have gone to Italy and seen them celebrate after the final, so I have seen both sides and I have seen how it can really be such a celebration. 

"Imagine how big it would be if we were to win the Euros or the World Cup. Yes, it is definitely a motivation. Every footballer likes to win, but to see how a country reacts to it is something that motivates you."

Tomori also admitted to having taken some pleasure from Italy's failure to qualify for a second successive World Cup, as he recalled a joke played on Milan's Italian players after their play-off defeat to North Macedonia in March.

"It was a strange one," he said of the Azzurri's defeat. "In Italy, Macedonia is a fruit salad kind of thing. That's what it's called. 

"I remember [Sandro] Tonali and [Alessandro] Florenzi were there, so people brought the Macedonia to the training ground. The newspapers were like 'whoa', but the people were saying 'well, we lost to a fruit salad'. It was taken as a joke, but it was a weird one. They just didn't expect to lose."

Tomori has only won two senior England caps to date, but starred as Milan conceded just eight league goals between the start of 2022 and the end of the Serie A season, keeping 11 clean sheets during that time.

But the defender is not worried by having been overlooked for past squads, saying he has simply focused on his club form and is using the successes of other foreign-based England stars as inspiration. 

"I've seen [Jadon] Sancho, Tammy [Abraham], Jude [Bellingham], players who play abroad, still getting called up, so I wasn't panicking or thinking, 'what’s going to happen if I don’t get called up?' I was just focusing on my own performance and helping Milan as much as possible," he added.

"From there, if I do get called up, once I'm here it's about making sure I take the steps to stay here. That's been my mentality all the way through. 

"I'm not putting too much pressure on myself, getting wound up about not being selected. It was just, 'stay calm, keep doing what I’m doing', and from there hopefully I can get in the squad."

Meanwhile, Tomori is hardly short of defensive role models in his adopted country, and says being around several "streetwise" Italian defenders has helped him develop his own game.

"I saw [Franco] Baresi after the last game, which was cool. You see different legends just flying about," he added.

"The way they are as defenders [in Italy], I wouldn't say it's personal but it's, 'I need to make sure what I'm doing is on the money and no one's getting past me'. They have that pride. There are little things the manager will tell me – make sure that you are blocking a run or that you are not allowing this to happen or making contact in the box.

"Watching [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Giorgio] Chiellini, they are very streetwise, you pick up stuff."

Uruguay head coach Diego Alonso feels his Qatar 2022 World Cup plans will come into focus with games like Thursday's 3-0 win over Mexico in Arizona.

Matias Vecino was on target before Edinson Cavani struck twice to help La Celeste cruise to victory against El Tri at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

Five months out from the start of the World Cup, Uruguay will hope to find success in the first major test of the post-Oscar Tabarez era.

For Alonso, matches against sides of a similar quality who will also be there are crucial for him to gauge where his team stands ahead of a Group H tussle with Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.

"We found ourselves [against] a very good team," he told reporters after the game. "We are also a good team, and we simply played a good game. It is preparation both for us and for Mexico

"The most important thing is six months from now. Surely this game will help me to draw conclusions for the most important event [we] have, which is the World Cup."

With an impressive performance setting the benchmark for a successful international break, Alonso shot down suggestions Mexico were a weaker opponent due to a lack of Europe-based stars.

"I know the competitiveness, the quality of the soccer players," he added. "I don't think [having few players in Europe] is an obstacle, on the contrary."

Roberto Baggio has labelled Italy not qualifying automatically for the World Cup for their Euro 2020 triumph as "madness".

Italy were penalty shoot-out victors against England in the Euro 2020 last July, but followed that up with World Cup play-off qualifying defeat against North Macedonia in March.

That meant the Azzurri have failed to qualify for two straight World Cups, having missed out on both Russia in 2018 and Qatar four years later.

Roberto Mancini's side met the Copa America winners Argentina on Wednesday in a match between the champions of European and South American football, but were thoroughly outclassed in a 3-0 defeat.

Argentina displayed the gulf in class between the two sides, with some suggesting Lionel Scaloni's side could be favourites for the World Cup in November.

Scaloni declared in the build-up to the 'Finalissima' that Italy deserved a World Cup spot, and Baggio echoed those sentiments by suggesting the Azzurri should have been offered automatic qualification.

"The biggest shame is that Italy didn't go straight to Qatar having won the European Championship," Italy legend Baggio said on Thursday, as quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It is scandalous, it seems crazy to me. Will these guys have earned a reward or not? If I had been in their place I don't really know how I would have reacted...

"It's the worst thing to accept, because in a 90-minute match anything can happen, one action goes wrong and you stay at home?"

Baggio was also quick to point towards the difference in quality between Argentina and Italy at Wembley Stadium.

"Scaloni's team has great talents, but the Azzurri have suffered greatly from being eliminated from the World Cup, the psychological backlash it was enormous," he added.

"The level of calmness of the two teams on the pitch was not comparable."

Italy will hope to somewhat make amends for the Argentina loss and World Cup failure when they host Germany in their Nations League opener on Saturday.

Kevin De Bruyne says he is excited to work with "top striker" Erling Haaland at Manchester City, admitting the arrival of the 21-year-old might enable him to build on his already impressive assist figures.

De Bruyne was named Premier League Player of the Season as City won their fourth top-flight title in five seasons last month, with the midfielder top-scoring for Pep Guardiola's men with 15 league goals during the 2021-22 campaign, also adding eight assists.

Despite his impressive goalscoring return, the Belgian fell some way short of his tally of 20 Premier League assists in the 2019 -20 campaign (a joint single-season record in the competition, along with Thierry Henry in 2002-03) – but De Bruyne's attempts to record similar figures in the future could be aided by the presence of Haaland.

The striker scored 86 goals in 89 appearances for Borussia Dortmund after joining from RB Salzburg in January 2020, and is expected to thrive with De Bruyne providing him with service after agreeing a move to the Etihad Stadium.

Speaking to Belgian outlet HLN, De Bruyne said City's acquisition of Haaland was good news for both the team and himself.

"Erling Haaland is a top striker. His move should help us to grow as a team," he said.

"Everybody expects a lot. They [the club] have always been looking for a number nine, but I think it'll be good to have that striker that maybe scores 20 to 25 goals a season."

Asked whether the Norwegian's arrival would help him to up his own already outstanding creative numbers, De Bruyne added: "Maybe. There have been years that I have more assists.

"But my chance creation and other things have remained consistent. Numbers are a part of football but they never tell you the full story."

No other City player came close to the 87 chances De Bruyne created in the Premier League in 2021-22, with fellow midfielder Bernardo Silva second on 59.

Meanwhile, De Bruyne, who will turn 31 later this month, was also asked whether the upcoming World Cup in Qatar – at which Belgium will face Canada, Morocco, and Croatia in Group F – could be his last.

The midfielder, who says the Red Devils are "slightly more of an outsider" to win the tournament than they were in 2018 when they reached the semi-finals in Russia, plans on playing international football until at least Euro 2024 but will not give any assurances beyond that date.

"I will continue with the national team," he added. "I don't know how long. In any case, until the European Championship in 2024 – if bad things don't happen. 

"We'll see how I feel. Quality trumps quantity for me. 

"It is also difficult to find the perfect balance between the family and the life we lead. My wife understands that, the children occasionally. They sometimes regret that daddy cannot be there. Later they will understand."

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni insisted his side can compete with any team at the World Cup, after their 3-0 win over Italy in the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima at Wembley on Wednesday.

The Albiceleste were ruthless in transition, pouncing on any opportunity to counter, with first-half goals from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria capped off by Paulo Dybala's second-half injury-time strike.

Argentina set a new national team record in the process, now moving to 32 matches unbeaten.

On the back of 2021's Copa America triumph, Scaloni said that while his team is strong as any heading into Qatar, success will only come through spirit.

"What counts is the spirit of sacrifice, struggle and team spirit shown by the group, beyond the results," he told ESPN Argentina. "What we want is a performance, to know what the team is looking for on the pitch.

"There is, perhaps, too much enthusiasm [in the public], because in football when you think everything is done, they take you down with a stroke of the pen. We do know that we are going to go to a World Cup to compete on an equal footing with any team.

"We believe that the confidence of winning frees you from many things, but we are not exempt from the fact that the team can block itself at some point and that is what worries me. We have to be prepared in case fate takes a turn."

The South American champions faced difficulty as the game compressed despite the majority of possession. Chiefly through Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, they sprung into life whenever space opened.

Much like their struggles late in the World Cup qualification phase – which culminated in playoff elimination at the hands of North Macedonia – Italy looked lifeless without Marco Verratti on the other hand, managing only one shot in the penalty area.

Scaloni conceded the result belied certain aspects of his team's performances, but is buoyed by a similar spirit that propelled the team to success in Brazil last year.

"I don't know if it's the best game we played," he said post-match. "In the first half I think they put us in trouble, at times. We feel comfortable afterwards.

"I want that every time we get together we are in the same way, united as we are now. The World Cup is going to be something else, it has a different pressure. Now people enjoy and it is the most important thing for us."

Andrew Robertson conceded Scotland "didn't really show up" after their 3-1 defeat to Ukraine in Wednesday's World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final.

The tie at Hampden Park was delayed from March due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and it was an emotional evening for all concerned in Glasgow.

Yet Steve Clarke's team ultimately failed to match not only the visitors' intensity, but also their quality, with only some poor goalkeeping from Georgi Bushchan allowing Scotland a way back into the game.

Indeed, Scotland were fortunate not to have conceded more, with Craig Gordon pulling off fine stops early on and making five saves in total, while Artem Dovbyk spurned two golden chances to put the result beyond doubt before finally doing so in stoppage time.

While Ukraine will now switch focus to playing Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, with a place in Qatar the prize on offer, Scotland must lick their wounds before taking on Armenia in their opening Nations League game on June 8.

"Hugely disappointing. We've waited a long time for this game," Liverpool full-back Robertson told Sky Sports after another big game failed to go his way after the Reds' Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last week.

"Our performances beforehand had been really good and to be honest we didn't really show up.

"Ukraine settled into the game a lot quicker than us and then it kind of continued really. We knew they were probably going to get tired and that was the case but we gave ourselves too much of an uphill battle.

"We didn't play the way we wanted to play, that's the most disappointing thing. It's passed us by now. After a positive campaign, we've let ourselves down.

"We have to hurt, have to reflect, tomorrow's a new day. We've got the Nations League, we have to try and push.

"That's the World Cup gone for us for another four years, that's really hard for us because we all have dreams of trying to play in that big tournament and we didn't put in a performance that justified that."

Scotland were unbeaten in 12 home games at Hampden Park coming into this match (W8 D4), meaning Ukraine have ended their longest unbeaten run on home soil since the 1970s, when they went 16 such matches without defeat.

"We have to stick together, we know there'll be scrutiny coming our way and we know we'll be under fire, but inside we have to stick together," Robertson added.

"As a group we've made massive strides in a couple of years, there'll be a time to take perspective of that, but tonight's not that night. We have to dust ourselves down, go again."

Scotland have failed to qualify for any of the last six World Cup tournaments since appearing at the 1998 edition. Between 1974 and 1998 they missed only one of seven tournaments.

Oleksandr Zinchenko insisted Ukraine's win over Scotland will mean nothing if he and his team-mates cannot go on and beat Wales to qualify for the Qatar World Cup.

Zinchenko played a key role as Ukraine defeated Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday at Hampden Park in an emotional return to competitive action.

The World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final was delayed from March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which is still ongoing.

But goals from Andriy Yarmolenko, Raman Yaremchuk and Artem Dovbyk mean that only Wales stand in the way of Ukraine and a place in Qatar.

Manchester City utility man Zinchenko, though, knows the requirements are clear heading to Cardiff for Sunday's contest.

"Everyone knows the situation right now in Ukraine and every single game is like a final for us," he told Sky Sports.

"We have dreamed to be at the World Cup, so we have one more game, one more final and we need to win it, otherwise this game is not going to mean anything.

"It's going to be a massive game for us. Everyone understands the situation. Every one of us needs to show the best performance in our lives and then we'll see what's going to happen."

In his post-match news conference, Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov said: "I have no emotion, I left my emotion on the pitch. This wasn't a win for us, it was for our country."

Ruslan Malinovskyi, the Atalanta midfielder, told beIN SPORTS: "This win for our people, our country, in a difficult period they are living.

"Also my parents, my brother, they are there in Ukraine and we just want it to finish and pray for our people that this war is finished as soon as possible.

"Now we are not playing for ourselves, we play for our whole country. Soldiers, also normal people, will follow [the Wales] game with their phone, on their TV.

"I think it will be a similar game. It will be a battle, the same, we need to play our game, be fast and be ready for the duels."

Ukraine claimed an emotional win on their return to competitive football as they moved to within one victory of the Qatar World Cup by beating Scotland 3-1.

The World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final was delayed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier in 2022, but Oleksandr Petrakov's side were deserved victors at Hampden Park despite Georgi Bushchan's blunder setting up a grandstand finish.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke said he was "desperate" to reach the World Cup despite Ukraine's hardship, yet his team could not match the intensity shown by the visitors until late in the match, after Bushchan had fumbled Callum McGregor's shot over the line.

But Ukraine held onto their lead – given to them either side of half-time by Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk – with Artem Dovbyk adding a third in stoppage time, and now only Wales stand in their way of a place in Qatar.

Craig Gordon twice came to Scotland's rescue early on, first tipping over Viktor Tsygankov's strike before smothering Yarmolenko's close-range effort, but Ukraine made a deserved breakthrough in the 33rd minute 

Having beat Scotland's offside trap, Yarmolenko controlled Ruslan Malinovskiy's lofted pass brilliantly before lofting a neat finish over the onrushing Gordon.

It was 2-0 four minutes after the restart – Yaremchuk heading home from Oleksandr Karavaev's right-wing cross after Scotland failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.

Ukraine almost gifted Scotland a way back into proceedings by overplaying at the back, with Bushchan's clearance slicing wide off McGregor.

John McGinn headed wide to let Bushchan off the hook for another error, but Ukraine's goalkeeper was punished when he failed to catch McGregor's poor shot.

Despite Scotland's pressure, Ukraine finished things off in injury time - Dovbyk, who had missed two glorious chances, making it third time lucky to ensure victory.

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