Wales now ‘planet’s most unpopular team’ as they face Ukraine says Daily Mail
Wales are now the “planet’s most unpopular team” as they aim to end Ukraine’s dreams of reaching the World Cup, a Daily Mail columnist has said.
The winner of Sunday’s play-off final at the Cardiff City Stadium will join Iran, USA and England in group B of the World Cup in Qatar in November.
But football correspondent Craig Hope said that the pressure of beating a team that the rest of the world was rooting for had been too much for Scotland.
“Gareth Bale and Co will now take up the baton of the planet’s most unpopular team,” he said. “It proved too heavy for the Scots on Wednesday night in Glasgow.”
Of Ukraine defender Oleksandr Zinchenko he added that: “Perhaps only President Zelensky is a more popular public figure in Ukraine right now.”
Wales’ role as the bad guys on Sunday has been embraced by some in the Red Wall, with one suggesting they adopt the slogan ‘Cymru am Sith’ (the villains in Star Wars) rather than ‘Cymru am Byth’ (Wales Forever).
If we do have to beat 🇺🇦 to get to the World Cup, we are going to be very unpopular…
Ah well, up the Cymru Sith! Turn to the red side! pic.twitter.com/GNOmQT7cQh
— Buzz Boncath (@BuzzBoncath) May 14, 2022
Others posted a GIF from the That Mitchell And Webb Look sketch show in which one character, a Nazi, suddenly realises that they are not the heroes of the story.
— Heð Gwynfor (@heddgwynfor) June 1, 2022
Other suggested that playing the bad guys did not end well for Wales at the Euros where, tasked with knocking out Denmark in the quarter-finals after Christian Eriksen’s on-field cardiac arrest in the group stages, they fell to a 4-0 defeat.
Former Wales striker Rob Earnshaw however has said that Robert Page’s current side must “put aside their compassion” for Ukraine in Sunday’s World Cup play-off final.
“As a Wales fan and wanting Wales to go through you’ve obviously got mixed emotions, because it’s the compassion you feel for Ukraine,” he said.
“But what I feel and I think what most people in Wales will feel on Sunday is we’re going to put that aside, because this is a football match and we’re in competition in football for those 90 minutes.
“It is very tough when you’re faced with something like this because it’s about humanity in this moment and I think everyone has felt so much for Ukraine. They feel the pain, they feel the pain of a country at war.”
Wales have not reached a World Cup since 1958. Ukraine have had a shorter wait, making it to the quarterfinals at the World Cup in Germany in 2006.
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