Wales 1-0 Ukraine: Gareth Bale hails victory as ‘greatest result in Welsh football history’

Wales 1-0 Ukraine: Gareth Bale hails victory as ‘greatest result in Welsh football history’

Wales ended their 64-year wait for a place in the World Cup finals as they beat Ukraine 1-0 on Sunday to end the war-torn nation’s hopes of reaching Qatar; Gareth Bale: “The result is the greatest in Welsh football history. We’re going to a World Cup!”

It was a cruel way for Ukraine’s qualification effort to end with Oleksandr Petrakov’s side, who beat Scotland in the play-off semi-final, again showing a level of football which would have certainly merited a place in the 32-team tournament in November and December.

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With half the team not having played competitive club football since the Russian invasion began in February and with their nation’s tragedy never far from their minds, Ukraine deserve huge credit for coming so close to making the finals for the second time in their country’s history as an independent nation.

There were emotional scenes at the end of the game as Ukraine’s disappointed players showed their appreciation to their more than 2,000 supporters at the Cardiff City Stadium. They were then joined by the Wales players who, before undertaking their own lap of honour, also saluted the Ukrainian fans.

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Highlights of the World Cup play-off final between Wales and Ukraine
Wales 1-0 Ukraine – Match report
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How the teams lined up | Match stats
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Bale, though, would not be denied his moment, and it was entirely fitting that he would play an integral part in the decisive goal.

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Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, a jubilant Bale said: “It’s the greatest result in the history of Welsh football. We’re going to a World Cup!

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

Also See:
Wales 1-0 Ukraine – Match report

Wales player ratings: Hennessey the red wall

Qatar 2022 World Cup fixtures and venues

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Wales players celebrate at the final whistle
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Wales players celebrate at the final whistle
Bale hinted Wales’ triumph will force him to put any thoughts about a possible retirement on hold.

The country’s talisman responded with a smile “for a little bit”, adding: “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.”

The former Tottenham and Real Madrid forward said he had nothing left to give when replaced by Harry Wilson in the 83rd minute.

Wales will face England at the World Cup
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Wales will face England at the World Cup
He added: “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.

“I give my all. I was running on empty but we’ve got good people on the bench to do a good job.”

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Ben Davies said there was a lot of emotion that went into Wales’ victory over Ukraine to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958
Wales will now take part in the 2022 World Cup, with their victory establishing the biggest gap between qualifications for a World Cup tournament – their last appearance came at the 1958 finals, 64 years ago.

Wales manager Rob Page told Sky Sports: “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.”

Hennessey: My best game in a Welsh shirt
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Wayne Hennesey insisted his performance in helping Wales beat Ukraine was his best display for his country
Wales are now unbeaten in their last 19 home games – winning 13 – in a run which began in March 2019 with a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. The Dragons have only conceded seven goals in this run, and never more than once in a match.

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who made nine saves to help repel Ukraine, ranked his display in Cardiff as his best for his country.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s absolutely incredible. Not just for me, everybody who’s been on this pitch tonight, absolutely amazing. The lads who didn’t get on, the staff, everyone, fully deserves this through this campaign.

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