Journalist Mario Risoli has written several books on football and historical Welsh players. Bata was the only newspaper in the history of the World Cup in 1958. The title is “When Pelé broke his heart.”
It will be possible to write another one in 2022 about what the team did the same thing, but with most non-Welsh fans. With a 1-0 win this Sunday (5) in Cardiff, they have advanced to what will be their second World Cup. This time at the expense of Ukraine.
This means that the Ukrainians, who have invaded Russia and are at war with the players who have been without professional playing for six months and who have had sympathy around the world, do not go to Qatar.
“These are words I’ve never heard in the Wales Cup in my life. It’s a feeling I can’t describe,” midfielder Aaron Ramsey said after the result.
As in 1958, he qualified for the Wales play-offs, but in a different way. Now, according to UEFA knockout rules, it was anticipated that the runners-up in each set would compete in the knockout system for one more place in the tournament. 64 years ago, no.
The selection did not have to go to Sweden. With a team of few professional players and mostly amateurs, he was left on the sidelines, but FIFA decided that something had to be done for Israel, which had no opponents. Arab rivals refused to resist. The entity decided that this place should be decided between Israel and a European country: Wales.
At the World Cup, the team that had John Charles, one of the biggest names in the history of Juventus (ITA) drew three of its matches in the group stage with Hungary, Mexico and Sweden. He qualified with victory in the tiebreaker against the Hungarians.
Then Brazil was the opponent in the quarterfinals. Without John Charles and behind, he held on for 66 minutes until Pelé scored the first goal in World Cup history.
Wales have a much stronger team this time around, the generation that reached the finals at Euro 2016. The account includes Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur-ING), Aaron Ramsey (formerly of Arsenal and now Rangers-ESC), Joe Allen (called Welsh Pirlo in Liverpool) and, above all, Gareth Bale.
One of the greatest benchmarks in the history of national football, Bale is finally reaching the World Cup when he turns 33 years old. Maybe this will be your only chance at the tournament. Other big players the country has had in the past, like Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes and Ian Rush, didn’t have a chance.
For Ukraine, it was the end of the dream. As an independent country, it was trying to reach the second World Cup. He was knocked out by Italy in the quarter-finals in 2006.
“We have done everything we can. We are waging a war that is destroying the country. We are killing children and women every day. The Russian barbarians are destroying our infrastructure. They want to hurt us, but the Ukrainians are fighting and defending their land. We need your help. “said coach Oleksandr Petrakov.
He is usually not shy with words. He said in recent weeks he was not angry with the Russians, but rather hateful.
“I wouldn’t like that [partida contra a Rússia] it will happen while I live. I don’t want to get my hands on these guys. We need to build a big wall and do what we can to make it stand out. ”
In other conversations, he accused the Russians of lacking principles or morals and dismissed the claim that they were “brothers” of the Ukrainians. He claimed that the invaders were “hordes”.
“For me, there is no country called Russia. I no longer have friends there.”
Due to the invasion, football in the country is paralyzed. The last game of the National League was on December 12, 2021. The tournament was suspended for the winter and would start again in February, and it didn’t happen. They declared the end of the tournament at the end of April because there was no chance to start again.
Of the 23 players called up, 15 are playing in Ukraine. Midfielder Taras Stepanenko Shakhtar Donetsk has moved to a war shelter with his wife and three children. Goalkeeper Georgiy Buschan was photographed at a subway station to protect himself from the bombings.
Serhiy Sydorchuk, the captain of Dynamo Kiev, slept in his car with his children and his pregnant wife in a parking lot.
Athletes working abroad also had to stay active and wait for news of family members remaining in Ukraine. That’s the case with Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko; and West Ham striker Andriy Yarmolenko (all England teams).
After the defeat, they went to thank the Ukrainian fans who went to Cardiff. Some had tears in their eyes. Welsh too, but for a different reason.