Former Russia captain Igor Denisov labelled the ongoing Ukraine invasion a "complete horror", but fears he may be jailed or killed for speaking out.

Russia, with the help of nearby Belarus, invaded neighbouring Ukraine in late February after weeks of heightening political tensions between the two countries.

The actions of Russia have led to widespread condemnation, with financial, sporting and political sanctions imposed on the nation in an attempt to deter the attacks.

Football stars such as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Andriy Shevchenko have repeatedly called for the invasion to stop, but Denisov is one of the most prominent Russian athletes to condemn the attacks.

Former Zenit midfielder Denisov, speaking to sports journalist Nobel Arustamyan in an interview published on YouTube, is still living in Russia and acknowledged he is risking his life by opposing the invasion.

"To me, this war is a catastrophe, a complete horror," said Denisov, who captained his country and earned 54 caps between 2008 and 2016.

"Maybe they'll put me in jail or kill me for these words, but I'm telling it like it is."

The 38-year-old also revealed he has personally written to Russia president Vladimir Putin to urge the attacks to stop.

"I am a proud guy. This was after three or four days," Denisov added. "I even said to him that I am ready to go on my knees before you so that he would stop it all."

Former Russia captain Igor Denisov labelled the ongoing Ukraine invasion a "complete horror", but fears he may be jailed or killed for speaking out.

Russia, with the help of nearby Belarus, invaded neighbouring Ukraine in late February after weeks of heightening political tensions between the two countries.

The actions of Russia have led to widespread condemnation, with financial, sporting and political sanctions imposed on the nation in an attempt to deter the attacks.

Football stars such as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Andriy Shevchenko have repeatedly called for the invasion to stop, but Denisov is one of the most prominent Russian athletes to condemn the attacks.

Former Zenit midfielder Denisov, speaking to sports journalist Nobel Arustamyan in an interview published on YouTube, is still living in Russia and acknowledged he is risking his life by opposing the invasion.

"To me, this war is a catastrophe, a complete horror," said Denisov, who captained his country and earned 54 caps between 2008 and 2016.

"Maybe they'll put me in jail or kill me for these words, but I'm telling it like it is."

The 38-year-old also revealed he has personally written to Russia president Vladimir Putin to urge the attacks to stop.

"I am a proud guy. This was after three or four days," Denisov added. "I even said to him that I am ready to go on my knees before you so that he would stop it all."

Rob Page believes Wales can go "toe-to-toe with anybody" at the World Cup later this year after they secured qualification on Sunday.

Andriy Yarmolenko's own goal ensured a 1-0 win for Wales in Cardiff as Page's men booked their spot at Qatar 2022 via the European playoff.

It meant Wales qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 and will face England, the United States and Iran in Group B.

Page believes his side can head into the tournament with belief they can do more than just make up the numbers, having advanced from the group stage in both of the last two European Championships.

"We go with the confidence we have had going into any game," Page said, speaking to Radio Wales Breakfast.

"We have played against the USA. We know they are a really strong outfit.

"We played against their European-based players in my first game [0-0 in November 2020].

"[USA and Iran] are winnable games, and when you play against a home nations team, anything can happen.

"We will go toe to toe with anybody, bring it on. That's the attitude we have got in that changing room."

 

On the victory against Ukraine, Page added: "It's one of those surreal moments where you wake up and realise we are off to the World Cup. It is unbelievable.

"Even at the final whistle last night, I was thinking 'is this a cruel dream that I am having?' But then when you realise it's reality, coming back to the hotel and celebrating with the players last night, then waking up this morning and having that realisation again that we have done it.

"It's such a proud moment for the nation."

Wales have lost just once in their last 11 matches, a 2-1 defeat to Poland in the Nations League, and are currently ranked 18th in the FIFA world rankings, three places above Iran (21st), three places below the USA (15th) and 13 places below England (5th).

"It's a special moment for me personally and for my family," Page added.

"My mum and dad still live in the Rhondda. We are all going to enjoy it - we are supporters ourselves."

Gareth Bale described Wales' World Cup qualifying play-off final win over Ukraine as the "greatest result" in the national team's history.

Andriy Yarmolenko's own goal ensured a 1-0 triumph for Wales, who were largely indebted to the heroics of Wayne Hennessey as Rob Page's team held on to book their spot at Qatar 2022.

It meant Wales qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 and Bale, who will leave Real Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the month, was in no doubt about the significance of the result.

"It's the greatest result in history for Welsh football," Bale told Sky Sports. "We are all ecstatic. The fans together, it was a delight, and we are going to a World Cup!

"It means everything. It's what dreams are made of. It's what we've been working for since we first came here. I'm so happy for all our amazing fans and our country. Words can't describe how we're feeling at the moment.

"It was difficult. I haven't done too much over the last four weeks because of my back spasm, which everyone knows about.

"Contributing in whatever way I could, but the most important thing was to get through it and get through to the World Cup.

"I gave my all on the pitch and I was running a bit on empty, it's always good to have players come off the bench and do a job."

 

Wales' victory means they will face England, the United States and Iran in Group B in Qatar.

And interim manager Page dedicated the Red Dragons' success to former boss Gary Speed, who died in 2011.

"I've said in the build-up, Gary Speed started this 12 or 13 years ago," he told a media conference. "I want to dedicate this to Gary. He started the culture, 12 years ago.

"There was a difference, there was a change. The environment completely changed. I've inherited that, Chris Coleman took it on and took it to another level, and I've inherited that group.

"We're confident going into games now. We don't hope to qualify for the World Cup or Euros now, we believe we can do it, so there's been a massive change in the mentality as well.

"I had a difficult decision tonight. I've got people like Harry Wilson and Brennan Johnson, who is going to be a superstar, isn't he? You've got people like him who didn't start tonight. But we had our best 11 on the pitch.

"It's encouraging, it's good, we're going in the right direction. We need to continue to develop these young players that we have done for the last few years, and it's only going to get better for us."

Wales will appear at the World Cup for the first time in 64 years after Andriy Yarmolenko's own goal ensured a 1-0 qualifying play-off final win over Ukraine.

Ukraine marked their first competitive match back after Russia's invasion with a 3-1 play-off semi-final win over Scotland on Wednesday to tee up the winner-takes-all decider in Cardiff.

Oleksandr Petrakov's visitors controlled first-half proceedings but were made to pay when Gareth Bale, with the help of Yarmolenko's head, struck first after 34 minutes.

Wales were largely indebted to the heroics of Wayne Hennessey as Rob Page's team held on to book their spot in Qatar alongside England, United States and Iran in World Cup Group B.

A long-range Viktor Tsygankov drive forced an early save from Hennessey, who tipped over a deflected cross from the Ukraine winger from the resulting corner.

Oleksandr Petrakov's visitors, buoyed on by a vociferous away crowd, continued with their dominance as another smart Hennessey stop denied Roman Yaremchuk as he threatened with a drilled effort.

Hennessey kept out Oleksandr Zinchenko's curler and the Wales goalkeeper's plethora of first-half saves paid dividends, with Yarmolenko heading Bale's goal-bound free-kick past Georgi Bushchan.

Aaron Ramsey angled a glorious chance from Kieffer Moore's cutback wide, while Hennessey kicked away Tsygankov's close-range prod in an entertaining second-half opening.

Ruslan Malinovskiy fired a deflected strike wide as Ukraine searched for an equaliser, with Brennan Johnson hitting the post and Bushchan denying Bale at the other end during a frenetic finish.

Hennessey was again the hero as he produced a fantastic stop against Artem Dovbyk in the closing stages to send Wales to the World Cup.

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."

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.

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.

Graeme Souness believes FIFA should allow Ukraine to qualify automatically for this year's World Cup in Qatar, to send a message to the Russian government.

Souness' beloved Scotland hosted Ukraine on Wednesday in a World Cup qualifying play-off that was delayed from March following Russia's invasion of the country.

The attack was universally condemned but the fighting has continued since, with millions of Ukrainians displaced and thousands left defending their homeland.

While the winner of Wednesday's encounter in Glasgow will face Wales on Sunday to determine the final European team to reach Qatar, Souness passionately believes that regardless of the outcome, FIFA should ensure Ukraine feature in the tournament.

"It's the strangest emotion I think I've ever had about a football match. I'm Scottish, was captain of the team, every single game we play in I want us to win desperately," Souness said on Sky Sports before the match at Hampden Park.

"Every single game our rugby team plays in I want us to win desperately. I really have mixed emotions about tonight. What's happening in Ukraine right now, it transcends football.

"It's about life and death, we're witnessing pictures I've never seen in my life before, it's only four hours flying time from where we're standing, not the other side of the world, that could visit us one day.

"So we have to stand up and support Ukraine, we have to get right behind them as much as we possibly can. Football has such a big part to play in so many people's lives today.

"For me, what FIFA should do, FIFA should say it doesn’t matter what happens [in the play-offs], this team should be going to the World Cup.

"Make a group of five somewhere. Ukraine should be going to the World Cup. Simply keep the name of Ukraine at the forefront of everybody's mind."

Souness insists that allowing Ukraine to compete in Qatar will help prove to the leaders of Russia – who UEFA and FIFA both banned from their competitions – that they are truly alone in the world because of their invasion.

"We will get immune to the pictures we see, because it's on a daily basis," he continued. "Regularly, we're seeing horror stories that I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.

"We have to make sure that the people in the Kremlin understand that the world does not accept what they're doing, and football has a part to play because the profile football has.

"This team should be going to the World Cup to keep the name of Ukraine right at the front of everyone's head so that the people in Russia realise that they're standing alone and are in the wrong, they have to accept that."

Whoever progresses from the play-off path has been drawn with England, Iran and the United States.

An emotional Oleksandr Zinchenko expressed his hopes to make Ukraine proud by qualifying for the World Cup as conflict with Russia persists.

Zinchenko lifted the Premier League title with Manchester City earlier in May, three months after Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine following heightening political tensions between the two countries.

The 25-year-old dedicated the English top-flight triumph to the people from his homeland, and will now look to deliver more success for Ukraine when they face Scotland in the World Cup play-offs.

The delayed play-off match on Wednesday will mark Ukraine's first outing since the Russia conflict began, with the winner of the game with Scotland facing Wales for a spot in Qatar.

Zinchenko was reduced to tears as he addressed a news conference on Tuesday, detailing his desire to make Ukraine proud once more.

"Every Ukrainian wants one thing – to stop this war," he said. 

"I spoke to people from different countries, all over the world and I spoke to some Ukrainian kids who just don't understand what's happening back in Ukraine.

"They only want the war to stop. They have one dream to stop the war.

"When it comes to football, the team, we have our own dream. We want to go to the World Cup, want to give these incredible emotions to the Ukrainians because they deserve it so much at this very moment."

Hampden Park will host the play-off match and the Scotland supporters will be provided with a translated version, provided by language learning app Duolingo, of the Ukrainian national anthem to show their support.

Zinchenko was quick to thank Scotland for their warm welcome in Glasgow, as he suggested the conflict in Ukraine could happen to any country.

"I would like to say as well that a lot of countries maybe don't understand that – today it is Ukraine but tomorrow it can be you," he added.

"So that's why we need to be united and need to defeat aggression altogether. I am sure that the whole of Ukraine will be watching us. We will feel the support.

"We can talk a lot, but we need to prove everything on the field. We will try to make our people happy and proud."

Scotland boss Steve Clarke is "desperate" to reach the Qatar 2022 World Cup as his side prepare for an emotionally charged encounter with Ukraine.

The two sides meet in a UEFA qualifying semi-final playoff at Hampden Park this week, with the winner set to face Wales for a spot at the end-of-year tournament.

The match will mark Ukraine's first competitive fixture since the nation was invaded by Russia in February, with neutrals likely to be cheering Oleksandr Petrakov's visitors on in Glasgow.

Speaking ahead of the clash, Clarke says the emotional tenor of the game will be led by their opponents, but insists his side will only be focused on their own on-field goals.

"We always said we would be guided by the Ukrainians as to how they felt," he stated.

"They made a decision to get their football players out of the country and into a training camp to prepare for the game because they want to play, they want to try and give their nation a boost by qualifying for Qatar.

"The game goes ahead but still with the horrific outside influence, for us we focus on the game on football.

"Nothing but good thoughts and good wishes for them, except during the game.

"They want to go to Qatar to represent their country but I'm desperate to go to Qatar with Scotland.

"My staff are desperate to go and most importantly our players are desperate to take their country to a World Cup final so that's what we focus on."

Teams from Belarus and Ukraine will not be drawn together in future, UEFA has announced.

European football's governing body has already banned Russian sides from appearing in its competitions following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The role of Belarus in facilitating this invasion also prompted sanctions for Belarusian teams.

UEFA had already decided no matches would be played in Belarus and supporters of Belarusian teams would be banned from attending nominal home games.

And in a further move announced on Friday, UEFA said it would prevent sides from Belarus and Ukraine from meeting in future competitions.

"The UEFA Executive Committee will remain on standby to convene further meetings to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary," a statement read.

Meanwhile, UEFA's rules relating to coronavirus for the upcoming Women's Euro 2022 were approved.

Any players who contract COVID-19 or "who have been anyway put in isolation" will be classed as "cases of serious illness", meaning they can be replaced in their nation's squad ahead of the first match of the tournament.

An emotional Oleksandr Zinchenko declared "I would die" for Manchester City after lifting the Premier League title due to the support the club have offered amid the conflict in Ukraine.

Pep Guardiola opted to leave Zinchenko on the bench against Everton in February, City's first game since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine following heightening political tensions between the two countries.

Zinchenko returned for the next match and captained the side to victory in a FA Cup fifth-round win over Peterborough United, as support continued for the Ukraine international in the stands and on the pitch.

The 25-year-old capped a turbulent season on a personal level as he came off the bench at half-time in the dramatic 3-2 win over Aston Villa, which secured the Premier League title on Sunday.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Zinchenko expressed his gratitude for the support of his team-mates, coaching staff and supporters at City.

Asked what the title meant, the left-back said: "Unforgettable emotions for me, this is for all Ukrainians at the moment who are starving and surviving in my country because of Russian aggression.

"I'm so proud to be Ukrainian, I would love to one day bring the title to Ukraine for all Ukrainian people because they deserve it.

"This [club] means everything to me because I want to die for these people, the support that people gave me, what they have done for me during this period, the toughest period of my life.

"It is so appreciated and I will never forget this."

Zinchenko continued to dedicate the top-flight success to his home country as he detailed the struggles of continuing to compete with the ongoings in Ukraine.

"Honestly at some point at the beginning, I didn't even think too much about football because it's impossible to live at the moment with this going on in my home country," he added.

"But all this support I have had in this period and during, you know, we did it – so what can I say."

As for what his fourth title at City meant, Zinchenko added: "I hope we are going to keep going because this amazing club deserve everything."

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