Wales beat Ukraine to return to the World Cup

Everything Ukraine tried to do was stopped by Wayne Hennessey, and in a very cruel way, Andriy Yarmolenko, the Ukrainian leader on the pitch and on the pitch, scored his own goal, which separated the two teams at Cardiff City Stadium this Sunday. The Ukrainian epic is over. Wales won 1-0 and, 64 years later, qualified for the World Cup.

As in the semi-finals of the European qualifying round, Ukraine played a great game, but this time the ball did not go in. Huge credit for Hennessey, the author of nine stoppages during the match, many of them difficult, stealing the spotlight from Gareth Bale, who missed a clear chance to open a 2-0 stoppage in the second half.

At the age of 32, and at the end of his contract, Bale will be able to complete his resume with what he was missing: playing a World Cup with the Welsh national team, always special to the heart of the attacker. priority in recent years at Real Madrid. The first question is whether he will continue to play if he does not qualify for Wales, now which club will he be active in to reach Qatar with the option of leading his team against England, the United States and Iran.

Wales’ last World Cup match was against Brazil in the 1958 quarter-finals. Defeat, with Pelé’s goal, in his only previous appearance. To return, he had to pass Ryan Giggs’ exit after being charged with assaulting two women. Robert Page first took over the group in November 2020, when Giggs was arrested. Despite his little experience as a coach, he had a good campaign in the playoffs, unbeaten after his first return defeat against Belgium.

It wasn’t enough to get a direct spot, but he took the lead with the advantage of playing at home and in the semi-finals he took control of the pitch in March, winning 2-1 against Austria with goals from Gareth. Bale. He had to wait months to play a decisive match against Ukraine, which was postponed to early June due to the Russian invasion.

He doesn’t waste his talent, but he does have good players. Veteran Hennessey was decisive, behind Chelsea’s Ethan Ampadu and Tottenham’s Ben Davies, behind a defense that closes the trio from the left. Neco Williams has wing potential. The midfielder has a lot of experience with Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen. Gareth Bale himself is the star of the company, but Daniel James has done a good job on the other side. Harry Wilson and Brennan Johnson were some of the highlights of the second division and will play in the Premier League next season.

It is a great disappointment for Ukraine. Not only because the players talked so much about trying to give the joy and normalcy of a World Cup to the war-torn population, or because talents like Zinchenko, Yarmolenko and Malinovskyi will not be in Qatar, especially for their afternoon tour. Cardiff. Better performance, but a chance to score a goal. And this time it was the Welsh who finally celebrated.

The game

Coach Oleksandr Petrakov repeated the line-up he won against Scotland last Wednesday. Neco Williams provided the first good condition, with an individual left-footed play, passing two marks before being thrown out, without much risk. Ukraine took over, however, and Hennessey began work. From outside the area Tsygankov and Yaremchuck were completely free on the right side of the penalty spot, which did not seem very difficult, but they needed important stops.

In the 21st minute, Karavaev broke through on the first attempt, aiming for a goal, and blocked it in the second. The ball fell to Hennessey. Zinchenko sent it in from the middle, and Hennessey tapped it. In the next minute, he left the goal at the right time to stifle Tsygankov’s infiltration, which was well influenced by Yaremchuk’s center. Wales barely reached Bushchan’s goal when they were lucky enough to open the scoring. Bale fired a free kick from the left, closing the path, looking for a cross, and Yarmolenko fired a header to avoid himself. He eventually sent against his property.

The momentum continued in the second half, but in the first half hour Ukraine could not be as creative as before. Davies appeared in time to face Yaremtchuk, who was in front of the gate, and Malinovskyi risked his left hand from outside the area, near the post. Brennan Johnson came on in the 26th minute and didn’t need much to make an impact. He hit the post of the post, after a cross from the right, with a first shot. Then he found a good pass that Ramsey crossed to the right of the penalty spot.

If Wales had lost, the play would have moved Bale for the rest of his life. The crossing was perfect for him, as he had the freedom and time to figure out exactly what he was going to do. The first blow to the left leg that has already scored so many goals in his career. But he didn’t catch the ball very well, he shot weakly, and Bushchan scored. Opportunity to decide the game once and for all.

Ukraine rose in the final minutes. Davies again provided a providential block on Yarmolenko’s strikers’ shot, and Hennessey fired Karavaev from the net with a header. In the 38th minute, Dovby climbed higher than anyone and held a tight header from close range, but Hennessey managed to block it with one hand. Extraordinary defense, which makes it clear that the Ukrainian ball would not enter the game at all. And he didn’t even go in.

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