Playing in this mythical sports arena that is Wembley is never trivial. But this Sunday, at 18:00, very special emotions will cover the London stadium when the teams of England and Ukraine take to the lawn. How to effectively summarize BBC, “To say that the importance of this match goes beyond the result is to say nothing”.

Indeed, if this confrontation is part of the Euro 2024 qualification course that these two teams must go through, then the current geopolitical situation gives this game a whole new dimension. First of all, for the Ukrainians themselves, say several former football players from this country, interviewed on this occasion by the British media.

“We want to give people positive emotions”

“The whole country will be watching this game on Sunday”, – says Oleksandr Kucher, a former player of the Ukrainian national team, and now the coach of the Dnipro-1 team. The coach is in office, because the championship really resumed, despite the war.

“We kept playing because we want to give people positive emotions, Kucher says about this, and if we manage to distract them from what they’re going through, then our mission is accomplished.”

“Football is the most popular sport in Ukraine”

Andriy Shevchenko, the former striker of the national team and even the owner of the Golden Ball in 2004, does not think otherwise:

“Football is still the most popular sport in Ukraine and it helps people cope with what they are going through.” entrust BBC ex-Chelsea player who played three years in England.

Living in London, Shevchenko has the perfect opportunity to speak about the relationship between his country of origin and his country of adoption, and he is full of praise for the British and their support at this difficult time.

“England was extraordinary last year. They showed solidarity and kindness, from government to civil society, He says. I think today the atmosphere will be very emotional and warm towards the fans and the Ukrainian team.”

Always striving to be in close proximity to Kyiv from the start of the conflict, British leaders likely intend to make this meeting also a celebration of the friendship between the two peoples. So, “more than 1,000 tickets will be awarded to Ukrainian and British families who received them”, so they can go to the game together, according to the news site.

“We need a win more than they do”

But in the end, despite very good political relations, it’s always about meeting with three points to win. There is no doubt that competition on earth will be fierce. That’s why, from a purely football point of view, Igor Belanov, another former Ukrainian golden ball, confirms BBC expect your team to win: “Football is a religion that unites our whole country, which dreams of winning Wembley, he rejoices. I’m sorry for the English fans, but we need a win more than they do.”