Answering the question concerning the unwillingness of the Ukrainian team to participate in the championship hosted by Russia, the deputy prime minister pointed out that the team firstly needed to qualify for the tournament.
"One is always looking for an external reason, it is easier. They need to qualify, their group is very tough. We wish them luck," Mutko added.
Mutko noted that only Russia's and Brazil's national teams had qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2018 so far.
The Ukrainian team is competing for qualification in group 1 with the teams from Croatia, Iceland, Turkey, Finland and Kosovo. The Ukrainians currently have 11 points putting them on the fourth place in the group. Croatia’s team is leading it with 13 points. Iceland’s team is at the second place in the group, while Turkey is the third.
The winners of nine groups will become the championship participants, while the best eight teams occupying the second positions in their groups will continue competing in the next qualification round.