Wales end long wait for World Cup appearance by beating Ukraine in play-off to qualify for Qatar 2022

Gareth Bale celebrates for Wales

Wales have qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after beating Ukraine 1-0 in a play-off at the Cardiff City Stadium.

After Ukraine had beaten Scotland on Wednesday, it was between them and Wales to claim a place at Qatar 2022. It has been a long time since Wales’ last World Cup, but they have booked their involvement after an Andriy Yarmolenko own goal.

Ukraine had the ball in the net first when Oleksandr Zinchenko scored a quick free kick inside three minutes. However, the referee was not happy that his whistle had not yet been blown. Therefore, the goal was ruled out and it had to be retaken – this time without success.

From open play, Ukraine also went close before Wayne Hennessey thwarted Roman Yaremchuk.

They had a good chance to take the lead when Viktor Tsygankov was played through. However, he snatched at his effort and missed the target. Regardless, he was offside.

The visitors were upping the pressure and Hennessey next had to save a Zinchenko effort from distance.

But it was Wales who took the lead when they scored from a free kick. Yarmolenko headed Gareth Bale’s delivery into his own net.

Ukraine were soon appealing for a penalty when Yarmolenko was caught by Joe Allen. But VAR did not award anything.

Wales see out win in second half

Wales began the second half with a big chance when Dan James slid the ball to Kieffer Moore, who in turn set up Aaron Ramsey. However, he pulled his shot wide.

At the other end, Hennessey had to save with his feet to deny Tsygankov before a rebound missed the target.

As the game entered its final 15 minutes, Brennan Johnson hit the post for Wales. Soon after, Bale sidefooted the ball straight at Ukraine keeper Heorhii Bushchan.

Then, Hennessey was Wales’ hero again with a one-handed save from an Artem Dovbyk header.

They then navigated more than five minutes of additional time successfully. Their reward is a place at Qatar 2022, where they will compete in Group B with England, Iran and the USA.

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