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05th Jun 2022

Wales reach first World Cup in 64 years with win over Ukraine

Simon Lloyd

Wales World Cup Ukraine

Wales clinched their place in Qatar with victory over Ukraine.

Wales have reached their first World Cup since 1958 after Gareth Bale’s deflected free-kick gave them a hard-fought play-off victory over Ukraine in Cardiff.

The key moment came ten minutes from half-time, when Bale’s free kick skidded in off the head of West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko to give Rob Page’s side the lead.

Both sides created chances in the second half but Wales – thanks largely to an inspired performance from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey – were able to keep Ukraine at bay to secure their place in Qatar.

The full-time whistle was met with emotional scenes, with Welsh players and supporters joining together in jubilant celebration.

In contrast, there were tears from some of Ukraine’s players, who came agonisingly close to reaching the finals despite the exceptionally difficult circumstances faces by their team.

Bale and Page on World Cup qualification.

Speaking to Sky Sports after full-time, Bale described the win as the greatest result in Welsh footballing history.

“We’re going to a World Cup,” he said. “It means everything, what dreams are made of, we’ve been working towards it since I first came in here.

“Words can’t describe how we feel at the moment.”

wales world cup ukraine

Asked if he may now choose to postpone any plans he may have had to retire, the Wales talisman replied: “Maybe for a little bit!”

His manager added: “I’m so proud of the guys, they thoroughly deserved it. The one thing these boys were missing was a World Cup and now we’ve got there.

“These are the best supporters in world football, they helped us from the first minute.

“When you see what these guys do in training, I had full trust in them.”

Wales’ victory means they complete the lineup for World Cup Group B, which also contains England.

They will face the USA in their opening game of the tournament on November 21 before playing Iran four days later. Their meeting with the Three Lions takes place on November 29 and will be their final game of the group stage.

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