Despite recently failing to reach the World Cup finals to be played in Qatar later this year, the Ukrainian national football team has made a strong start in its UEFA Nations League games, winning two and drawing one.

The tournament is organized by UEFA, the agency that runs European football, and is played by its European member countries.

The Ukraine team’s first three games in Group 1 of League B were played recently within the space of seven days, with the decisive last three games scheduled to take place in September.

The other countries in Ukraine’s group are Armenia, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The first game on Wednesday, June 8 saw victory in Ireland, the first ever game played between the two countries at this level.


A free-kick goal by Yevhen Tsyhankov in the 47th minute was sufficient to beat the Irish.

The next game, three days later, saw Ukraine beat Armenia 3-0 in Lodz, Poland. Because of Russia’s war Ukraine now plays its home games in neighbouring Poland.

The goals were scored by Atalanta midfielder Ruslan Malinovsky and defenders Oleksandr Karavaev and Vitaliy Mykolenko.

The third game on Tuesday, June 16 saw Ukraine draw 1-1 against the Republic of Ireland. Artem Dovbyk equalised in the second half after Irishman Nathan Collins had given the visitors the lead in the first half. Ukraine pressed for a winning goal in the second but were unable to score.

It means that Ukraine has seven points from a possible nine from its first three games and is top of its group.

Shakhtar Donetsk goalie Andriy Pyatov retired from international football after the game against Eire in Lodz, having played a total of 102 games for the Ukrainian national team, including matches at the EURO-2012 tournament held jointly in Ukraine and Poland.

Ukrainian national team goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov at a training session at Hampden Park in Glasgow, on June 28, 2021, on the eve of his team’s UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 match against Sweden. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

He was a reliable performer, and probably at the height of his goalkeeping prowess at EURO-2012.

Ukrainian club soccer remains paralyzed by the war. The 2021/22 season was suspended with Shakhtar Donetsk top of the premier league.


European football leagues and their players are currently on summer vacation. Most are scheduled to return for the new 2022/23 season in August.

Andriy Pavelko, head of the Ukrainian Football Association, is confident the country’s domestic leagues will also restart in August.

He reportedly spoke with President Zelensky recently about the positive impact of football and UFA’s intentions to start the new season.

Pavelko is reported as saying “we took the decision with the president that we would resume the Ukrainian championship in August. We will play at every level in Ukraine…. So, the Premier League, and the first and second professional divisions, and the women’s championship, at all levels. We will start in August… We will speak with our military board and the government to organize it safely.”

There is also the issue of venues.

Sadly, several stadiums have been damaged by Russia’s invasion, including the Chernihiv Arena in Chernihiv, where FC Chernihiv, a team in the second division, plays.

Some stadiums are still being used for humanitarian efforts.


Fans supporting Ukraine display Ukrainian national flags during the UEFA Nations League football match between Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland in Lodz, Poland on June 14, 2022. (Photo by RADOSLAW JOZWIAK / AFP)
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