Wales will now head to Qatar in November to compete in Group B at the World Cup, where the team will face England, the United States and Iran.
Ukraine’s emotionally charged hopes of qualifying for the World Cup came to an end after losing 1-0 to Wales in the European playoff final for the FIFA 2022 tournament.
While attempting to clear Wales captain Gareth Bale’s first-half free kick, Andriy Yarmolenko accidentally kicked the ball into his own net on Sunday.
This will be Wales’ first world cup in 64 years, taking the national team to Doha for a head to head with the United States.
As Ukraine sought an equaliser, Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey’s right leg kept out Viktor Tsyhankov’s poked attempt 10 minutes into the second half.
Artem Dovbyk’s header in the 84th minute appeared to be heading towards the corner of the net until Hennessey’s left hand deflected it away.
Ukraine advanced to the final after defeating Scotland in the playoff semi-finals.
However, the Ukrainians were left heartbroken after the devastating defeat on Sunday evening, which came amid a brutal Russian bombardment at home.
On Saturday, Ukraine defender Oleksandr Karavayev said, “This is the most important game of our lives.”
Oleksandr Petrakov, Ukraine’s coach, stated he couldn’t say anything negative about his players.
“I can only say thank you for everything he did for the team. I do not have any criticism to any of the players in the team,” he said. “I think we did everything we could but I want the people of Ukraine to remember our team, our efforts. I want to say sorry we didn’t score. But that is sport, that happens.”
The shadow of war was visible in the Welsh capital, with a message of peace projected on screens in both English and Ukrainian languages throughout Cardiff City Stadium.
As the Ukrainian national anthem was played, it was widely welcomed by the home crowd and rivalries were set aside.
One hundred free tickets out of the 1,800 seats allocated for Ukrainian supporters were offered to refugees who were forced to evacuate Ukraine since the invasion began in February, which resulted in Russia being barred from World Cup qualification.
Since 2006, Ukraine has failed to qualify for the World Cup. Because of the invasion, this match was postponed for three months.
Russia’s World Cup ban
After President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA declared in late February that Russia will be expelled from the 2022 World Cup and that its teams had been suspended from all international football tournaments “until further notice.”
The men’s squad was scheduled to compete in qualification playoffs for the World Cup in Qatar later this year in March, and the women’s team had qualified for the European Championship in England in July.
“FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice,” football’s global and European governing bodies said at the time.
Russian clubs competing in European events were also affected by the announcement.
Russia was scheduled to play Poland in a World Cup qualifying playoff semi-final on March 24, and could have potentially advanced to the finals against Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29.
However, their three probable opponents have stated that they will boycott the matches.