Wales beat Ukraine to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958

Gareth Bale

Wales have qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after beating Ukraine in Cardiff.

Gareth Bale’s 34th-minute free-kick was inadvertently deflected into his own net by Andriy Yarmolenko to send Wales to Qatar.

Rob Page’s side will enter England’s group, along with USA and Iran.

But it was heartbreak for the heroic Ukraine side.

After beating Scotland earlier this week, Ukraine were hoping to give their entire nation a minor lift during horrifying times for the country. While they may not have qualified for the World Cup, they can be extremely proud of their efforts.

VIDEO: Yarmolenko’s own goal sends Wales to Qatar

They were the better side at the Cardiff City Stadium but it just wasn’t their day.

Oleksandr Zinchenko had a quick free-kick disallowed early on, while they will feel they should have had a penalty when Yarmolenko was brought down by Joe Allen.

VIDEO: Ukraine denied penalty vs Wales

They pushed for an equaliser in the second half but Wales stood strong to qualify for their first World Cup in 64 years.

Wayne Hennessy in the Wales goal produced an incredible performance to deny Ukraine a deserved equaliser.

Ahead of the game, Bale admitted he knew the magnitude of the occasion and also spared a thought for the opponents.

“It’s a big game. It’s difficult to put it into whether it’s ‘the’ big game. Obviously, we played in a semi-final of a European Championship in 2016” Bale told reporters on Saturday.

Wales v Ukraine - FIFA World Cup Qualifier

“It’s a massive game. I think there’s no hiding it. We’ve only played in one World Cup.

“So this is a stepping stone that all of us want to take to play on the biggest level. And yeah, we have a massive game tomorrow that we’re desperate to win and to achieve our goal.

“Everyone in the world feels for Ukraine,” Bale said. “It is sport that unites everybody. We understand what it will do for Ukraine, but we want to get to the World Cup.

“That is not coming from a horrible place. It is coming from our country and hearts as we want to deliver for our own fans.”

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