Ukraine’s World Cup hopes dashed by Wales in 1-0 match

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The Ukrainian men’s national soccer team’s dreams of playing in a World Cup were dashed after European rival Wales defeated them in a 1-0 match on Sunday.

An own goal by Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko, who plays for English Premier League club West Ham United, in the 34th minute led to Ukraine’s loss to Wales in a qualifying match for the last spot in this year’s World Cup, ESPN reported.

Welsh winger Dan James was awarded a free kick with its star striker Gareth Bale, who plays professionally for La Liga club Real Madrid, being tapped to kick the ball.

Bale’s strike caused the ball to deflect off of Yarmolenko’s head as he was trying to defend the free-kick, resulting in a goal and victory for the home team.

“The result is the greatest in Welsh football history,” Bale said after the match, according to ESPN.  “We’re going to a World Cup!

“It means everything, what dreams are made of, we’ve been working towards it since I first came in here, he added. “Words can’t describe how we feel at the moment.”

The win comes after FIFA, the world’s governing soccer body, announced a series of World Cup qualifying matchups for the Ukrainian national team after a month-long delay due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine earned its first victory in the World Cup playoff round with a 3-1 win over Scotland last week. President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the team for providing the country with something to cheer for amid the turmoil it faces from Russia’s invasion.

“There are times when you don’t need a lot of words!” Zelensky said in a social media post. “Just pride! Just thank you guys! Two hours of happiness from which we are accustomed.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has killed thousands on both sides and led more than 6.9 million refugees to flee Ukraine due to ongoing fighting, the United Nations said.

Wales will now join group B for the World Cup which will take place in Qatar in December, ESPN noted. Group B includes the U.S., England, and Iran.

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