WALES have ended their 64-year wait for an apperance at a World Cup after beating Ukraine 1-0 in an exciting play-off final in Cardiff.
There was a rousing rendition of the National anthem from the crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium before kick off as they knew what was at stake.
However, their opponents were not just there to make up the numbers. Ukraine were also looking to reach the World Cup against the backdrop of its country being invaded by Russia.
With 22 minutes gone there was a chance for Karavaev but his shot was blocked and the ball looped into the hands of Wayne Hennessey.
Hennessey was called into action again when Zinchenko won the ball back but his effort from the edge of the box was saved.
Gareth Bale’s fiercely-taken free kick was headed past his own keeper by Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko.
There were muted appeals for a penalty from Ukraine when Joe Allen kicked at the back of Yarmolenko. The Ukrainian had come from behind Allen and his kick was accidental. A short VAR check confirmed that the collision was not worthy of a spot kick.
Hennessey had to be alive in the aftermath of that challenge as Zinchenko shot towards goal but the Welsh keeper tipped the ball round the posts.
Wales held on to their lead until half time and they had a golden chance to double their lead early in the second.
Kieffer Moore crossed into the box for Aaron Ramsey but he sent his shot wide of the right-hand post.
Wales were then grateful to Hennessey again as a cross from the left was flicked towards goal by Zinchenko but the keeper made the save.
The ball was then played through into the box for Yarmolenko but Ben Davies was alert and was able to clear the ball before the Ukrainian could get a shot away.
With just under twenty minutes to go there was a double chance for Wales. Brennan Johnson, on as a sub moments earlier and fresh from guiding Nottingham Forest to the Premier League only a week ago, got on the end of a cross but saw his effort bounce out off the post.
Johnson then cut inisde and passed to Ramsey who crossed to the back post for Bale but his effort was well saved by the Ukrainian keeper.
There was another chance for Ukraine as Zinchenko’s lofted ball into the box bounced into the path of Yarmolenko but his effort was well blocked by Ben Davies and Karavaev then headed into the side netting.
WIth seven minutes to go the ball was floated into the box and Dovbyk headed towards goal but Hennessey made a fantastic save to keep Wales ahead.
The Ukrainians were getting desperate as they resorted to long shots, one of which sailed over the bar.
Five minutes of time were added on and Yarmolenko again saw a shot blocked, this time by Neco Williams.
Wales held on and the final whistle sparked jubilant scenes amongst the Welsh players and coaches. They will now look forward to the World Cup later this year.
They will be in a group with Iran, USA and England. It will be a group where Wales will feel disappointed if they don’t achieve at least a second-placed finish.
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