Skip to content

Fear not, U.S. Men’s National Team fans: Ukraine is on the ground in Cyprus

Mar 4, 2014, 3:41 PM EST

ukraine_national_team AP

Monday’s reports that the Ukrainian national team would skip Wednesday’s friendly proved false, but if U.S. Soccer’s confirmation the game is still on wasn’t enough to eliminate doubt, consider today’s reporting from Cyprus. Mykhaylo Fomenko’s team is on the ground. They’re practicing. They’re planning on playing tomorrow. It’s almost as if some Ukrainian web site decided to play a joke on the U.S. soccer world.

Not quite. As the Associated Press’s work shows, the decision to leave an increasingly uncertain situation was not taken lightly.

“[We] reached a consensus to play the USA after all,” Ukrainian soccer association president Anatoliy Konkov said in a statement, hinting that pulling out of the friendly had been a serious consideration. “[U.S. Soccer] stood behind us to protect the national interests and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

(MORE: Confirmed: Ukraine to face US on Wednesday after all)

Those interests, currently in flux as unrest in Ukraine has left a country divided, looked set to keep the national team at home this week, with a friendly moved from Kharkiv, Ukraine, to Larnaca, Cyprus, leading Konkov to question the value of the game. After rhetorically asking broadcaster ICTV “why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for [our] country,” Konkov has seen his national team honor their commitment.

“The national team is a symbol of unity because players come from all over Ukraine,” captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk said at practice on Tuesday. Still, the conflict in the Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder’s homeland was not far from his mind.

“It’s a dangerous situation,” he said. “We have our families, we worry but we hope that we can keep the peace in Ukraine as quickly as possible.”

In the interim, a squad with predominantly Ukraine-based players get a chance to return to the field, with the country’s Premier League canceling last weekend’s return from a two-month break amid the domestic unrest.

“The players want to play on an official level and want to test their level of play after a two-month winter break,” spokesman Alexander Glyvynskyy said.

Against a team of U.S. players auditioning for this summer’s World Cup, Ukraine’s sure to see spirited opposition. But that opposition will be kept in perspective by a team facing bigger challenges at home.

Latest Posts
  1. Southampton 0-1 Swansea: Shelvey snatches win with sensational late strike

    Feb 1, 2015, 12:53 PM EST

    Shelvey Getty Images

    A stunner from Jonjo Shelvey saw Swansea surprisingly through after a lackluster first hour.

  2. VIDEO: Arsene Wenger proud of Arsenal in 5-0 win as Villa fought hard

    Feb 1, 2015, 12:08 PM EST

    Wenger Getty Images

    Arsene Wenger felt the scoreline may not have reflected the true nature of the game, and that the second goal was the key one in breaking down the visitors to the Emirates earlier today.

  3. Celtic cruises into League Cup final with 2-0 grinder over Rangers

    Feb 1, 2015, 11:22 AM EST

    Celtic Getty Images

    A pair of first-half goals saw Celtic through to the Scottish League Cup final over rivals Rangers.

  4. Watch Live: Southampton vs Swansea City (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Feb 1, 2015, 10:39 AM EST

    Southampton Getty Images

    Southampton can jump right back into the top three with a win against a struggling Swansea side at home.

  5. Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa: Gunners torch hapless Villa with deadly counters

    Feb 1, 2015, 10:21 AM EST

    Arsenal Getty Images

    Olivier Giroud opened things up inside 10 minutes and it was a sign of things to come as Aston Villa slumped to 612 minutes without a league goal.

  6. Knee problems strike again as Strootman back on the shelf for the season

    Feb 1, 2015, 9:03 AM EST

    Strootman Getty Images

    His ACL tear in the past, now a fresh injury concern has shelved the Dutch midfielder.

  7. Watch Live: Arsenal vs Aston Villa (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Feb 1, 2015, 7:44 AM EST

    Ozil Getty Images

    Mesut Ozil starts in the middle in place of injured Alexis Sanchez as Aston Villa comes to the Emirates.

  8. Diego Costa maintains his innocence, says “I’ve not done anything wrong”

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:20 PM EST

    Diego Costa, Chelsea FC Getty Images

    Diego Costa has again claimed his own innocence. And you know what? I believe that he believes he’s done nothing wrong.

  9. Sam Allardyce: Liverpool “weren’t outstanding at all,” injuries downed West Ham

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:43 PM EST

    Sam Allardyce, West Ham United Sam Allardyce, West Ham United

    Big Sam was quick to take the credit away from Liverpool and place the blame for Saturday’s loss on his own injury “crisis.”

  10. Louis van Gaal: Manchester United “killed the game” with loss at Leicester City in mind

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:24 PM EST

    Louis van Gaal, Manchester United Louis van Gaal, Manchester United

    Van Gaal remembers what happened last time his side led Leicester, and he learns his lessons the first time.

  11. DONE DEAL: Seydou Doumbia to Roma headlines quiet Saturday for transfers

    Jan 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Seydou Doumbia, CSKA Moscow Seydou Doumbia, CSKA Moscow

    All of the day’s confirmed, officially official transfer dealings from Saturday, Jan. 31.

  12. Africa Cup of Nations roundup: DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea into SF after wild day of events

    Jan 31, 2015, 7:27 PM EST

    Tunisia vs. Equatorial Guinea, AFCON 2015 Tunisia vs. Equatorial Guinea, AFCON 2015

    The actual games took a backseat to shenanigans as two of four semifinals places were booked on Saturday.

  13. Premier League Sunday preview: Top-half teams jockey for position

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST

    bae0b6330cf33479c7548821a12d22b5 Getty Images

    Arsenal and Southampton hope to keep their assaults on the Top Four in order, while Aston Villa and Swansea City hope to snap skids.

  14. Bundesliga wrap: Wolfsburg ends Bayern’s unbeaten dreams, USMNT’s Johnson strong

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST

    Germany Soccer Bundesliga AP

    And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.

  15. Premier League roundup: Big wins for Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and more

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-LEICESTER FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-LEICESTER

    There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.

  16. Pellegrini “not happy with a point”, takes sly shots at Mourinho’s game plan

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST

    Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.

  17. Man City’s Lampard reacts to “bit of a strange day” in return to Chelsea (video)

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-MAN CITY Getty Images

    Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.

  18. Three things we learned from Chelsea vs. Manchester City

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST

    Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.

  19. Player Ratings: How did Chelsea, Manchester City’s stand-in’s fare?

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST

    Remy slots home the opener. AP

    Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.

Featured video

Chelsea v Man City: Lampard the hero?