Amid Ukraine invasion, Czechs refuse to face Russia in World Cup qualifiers

The Czech Republic national team joined Poland and Sweden on Sunday in declaring its refusal to play Russia in upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, citing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The schedule calls for the Czechs to meet Sweden and Russia to face Poland on March 24. The winners of the two games will play on March 29 for a berth in the 2022 World Cup, to be held this fall in Qatar.

"The Czech FA executive committee, staff members and players of the national team agreed it's not possible to play against the Russian national team in the current situation, not even on the neutral venue," the Czech soccer federation said in a statement. "We all want the war to end as soon as possible."

The soccer federations of Poland and Sweden announced their intentions on Saturday.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Thursday that with the first matches still one month off, there remained time for a decision.

"We are analyzing the situation and we will take the decision when we have to take it," he said.

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