Gareth Bale and Wales have successfully ended the 2022 FIFA World Cup dream of Ukraine by defeating the wartorn country 1-0 at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday, June 5, 2022.
Recall that Ukraine defeated Scotland in the semi-final round of the World Cup play-off on June 1, 2022, to book a date with Wales. While Wales got to the World Play-off after defeating Poland in March.
During the final of the World Cup play-off, Ukraine proved to be the better side by recording 68 percent of the ball possession while Wales made do with just 32 percent of the ball possession.
Throughout the game, Ukraine recorded 22 shots, 9 of which were on target while the host country managed to record 10 shots, three of which were on target.
Even though Ukraine played better than Wales, Gareth Bale and Wales got the big break in the first half. In the 34th minute, Bale played a free-kick that Ukraine’s winger Andriy Yarmolenko was trying to clear off his box but accidentally headed it into his net.
After the own goal, the Ukrainian side continued to pile pressure on the host country but all their efforts could not yield any favorable result. Hence, Yarmolenko’s own goal gave Gareth Bale and Wales their first FIFA World Cup ticket in 64 years.
This means that Wales will carry out their 2022 FIFA World campaign in Qatar in Group B which comprises England, Iran, and the USA. Their opening game in the tournament is against the USA on November 21.
Yma o Hyd 🏴 🎶— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 5, 2022
Wales showing what it means to be back at the World Cup pic.twitter.com/q0nCMd2hal
After the 1-0 win over Ukraine, Gareth Bale told Sky Sports that the victory is “the greatest result in the history of Welsh football”.
“We’re going to a World Cup”, he added. “Words can’t describe how we feel at the moment…
“I’m just delighted we are going to a World Cup. It means everything, it’s what dreams are made of. I’m speechless. I’m so glad we’ve done it for these amazing fans.”
On the intensity of the game, Gareth Bale whose contract with Real Madrid will expire this summer said the game was difficult, citing his inability to play competitive football in recent time due to his back injury.
“It was difficult. I haven’t played too much football these last three or four weeks because of my back spasm, but the most important thing was to get through”, he said.
“I give my all. I was running on empty but we’ve got good people on the bench to do a good job.”
Look what it means to Wales 🏴 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Vv7Ji9wJzL— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 5, 2022
After qualifying Wales for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1958, the coach of the country, Rob Page said: “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. Gary Speed started this 12 or 13 years ago and I’d like to dedicate that to him. He started the culture. There was a difference, a change to the environment.
“Chris Coleman took it on to another level and I’ve inherited that. We’re so confident going into games. We’re not hopeful of qualifying for the Euros and the World Cup, we believe we can do it.”
Rob Page dedicated Wales' game against Ukraine to Gary Speed who died in 2011 ❤️️ pic.twitter.com/kc2q3MoLWg— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 5, 2022