Home Sports Wales book World Cup place for the first time in 64 years...

Wales book World Cup place for the first time in 64 years as Gareth Bale deflected free kick seals a 1-0 win over war-torn Ukraine in Cardiff


A beautiful tale played out here. It just wasn’t the one about small mercies in hell. About sport bringing shades of hope to gruesome pictures. No, it wasn’t that. It was the Welsh story and in its own way, it was magnificent.

Important? Not in the context of wars. A pure delight to those it involved? A wonderful culmination to lesser journeys? Goodness, it will take some time for the red smoke to clear from the sky over this stadium.

When the game was done, and what a slog that was, those exhausted guys danced like maniacs. The mystery there centred on where they found the energy after 90 minutes of swallowing big hits.

On one end of the merry line was Gareth Bale, arms a waving blur after one of his less pronounced performances. At the other was Burnley’s reserve keeper, Wayne Hennessey, floating after the display of his life, and somewhere in the middle was Ben Davies, an exhausted man of priceless blocks.

Match facts

Wales (3-5-2): Hennessey 9; Ampadu 7, Rodon 7, B Davies 8; Roberts 7, Ramsey 7, Allen 7, James 7 (Johnson 71, 7), N Williams 8 (Norrington-Davies 90); Bale 6.5 (Wilson 83), Moore 6.5

Subs not used: Ward, A Davies, Gunter, Mepham, Morrell, J Williams, Harris, Thomas, Matondo

Booked: James, Allen

Manager: Rob Page 7

Ukraine (4-1-4-1): Buschan 6; Karavaev 6.5, Zabarnyi 7, Matviyenko 7, Mykolenko 7; Stepanenko 6.5 (Sydorchuk 70, 7); Yarmolenko 6.5, Malinovskyi 6.5, Zinchenko 7.5, Tsygankov 7 (Mudryk 77); Yaremchuk 6.5 (Dovbyk 77)

Subs not used: Pyatov, Riznyk, Sobol, Bondar, Syrota, Shaparenko, Pikhalonok, Kacharaba, Zubkov

Booked: Mykolenko, Mudryk

Manager: Olexandr Petrakov 7

Ref: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spain) 5

Attendance: 32,660


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here