Bitter World Cup end for Ukraine!
For the team of coach Oleksandr Petrakow (64), the dream of the World Cup in Qatar (21.11 – 18.12) has burst. In the play-off final on Sunday night, Ukraine lost 1-0 in cardiff’s constant rain to Wales, who secured their last European World Cup ticket.
Ironically, an own goal prevented Ukraine from participating in the World Cup for the first time since 2006. Yarmolenko involuntarily headed a free kick from Bale into his own goal (34′).
Because of the invasion of Russia, the play-off games had been postponed to early June. On Wednesday, Ukraine won the play-off semi-finals in Scotland 3-1 – even though many players had not played a game for six months because of the war.
Ukraine coach Petrakov told Ukrainian media ahead of the final: “Before the game against Scotland I told the players in the dressing room that we play for the fans in our country, for the little people, the soldiers, the victims. Now we want to make people happy in these difficult times by beating Wales.”
And Manchester City professional Oleksandr Zinchenko (25) added: “It’s going to be a huge game for us. Everyone understands the situation. Each of us has to do our best in life and then we’ll see what happens.”
In the end, Ukraine’s dream was shattered and Wales can celebrate! The Welsh are only at the World Cup for the second time since 1958 and will meet England, the USA and Iran in Group B at the end of the year.