Wales 1-0 Ukraine: summary: score, goals, highlights, 2022 World Cup play-off
Wales - Ukraine live online
- Yarmolenko steers the ball into his own net to give Wales the win
- Ukraine have won one of last three meetings against the Welsh with two drawn games
- Wales overcame Austria on path to play-off final with a 2-1 win
- Ukraine enjoyed a 1-3 win over Scotland last week with the game delayed due to the Russian invasion
- Wales will join Iran, USA and England in Group B at Qatar 2022 World Cup
Tonight though is about Wales and congratulations to Rob Page's men as they take the 30th place at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Heartbreak for Ukraine as both players and fans are in tears ... The team have won over the neutrals around the world as the ongoing Russian aggression continues in the country. Gallant losers !
Mykhaylo Mudryk clips Ampadu and that surely is it ....
Wales are just 2 minutes away from a place at the Qatar World Cup ... the tension is immense here in Cardiff...
Yarmolenko skips over the ball on the edge of the box but strikes over. Wales fans can breathe easy once again...
We'll have five minutes of added time.
The ball falls to Serhiy Sydorchuk who snatches and rifles the shot miles over the Wales bar. Last minute of the 90.... Wales are on the cusp of staking their place at the 2022 World Cup !
Davies needs attention and the defender along with Hennessy have been excellent today...both players instrumental in keeping Ukraine at bay.
Hennessey once again is on hand to save as Ukraine resort to shoot from distance.
Five to go...Harry Wilson strikes a free just outside the Wales box and the ball is deflected wide for a corner.
Hennessy with a big save yet again as he palms away an excellent Artem Dovbyk header.
Wilson on for Wales as Bale is the man who makes way. Not been a vintage performance from the former Real Madrid man but his role in the goal could be enough to drive Wales on to Qatar.
Last ten in Cardiff.... Tension and nerves palpable at the Cardiff Stadium... Wales on the verge of a World Cup place for the first time since 1958.
Ben Davies saves Wales yet again... Hennessey was the hero for Wales in the first half and the Spurs man is saving the day for the home side in the second period.
Double switch for the visitors.
Artem Dovbyk and Mykhaylo Mudryk on as Viktor Tsyhankov and Yaremchuk are replaced
Bale goes close and the Ukraine keeper does well saving the day.
Ukraine's play is just all too predictable as they keep the ball but that sense of belief seems to have evaporated.
More changes for the visitors imminent...
Wales hit the post as Johnson drills the ball off the woordwork and a goal there would have sealed the night.
Time running out for Ukraine now and Wales have been impressive in hanging onto their lead. The visitors lacking the creative thrust that we saw from the side in the first 45'.
Dan James off and replaced by Johnson
Double switch for Ukraine:
Mykola Shaparenko and Serhiy Sydorchuk with Stepanenko and Ruslan Malinovskyi making way
Wales really are well drilled at the back and there is a suspicion that the visitors are failing to have that creative cutting edge that we saw in the first half. Wales don't look uncomfortable and it may be time for the Ukraine boss to make changes.
Fine shot from Ruslan Malinovskyi who gets decebnt power into his shot but watches in frustration as the ball drifts wide.
Wales do look sharp when they counter... Ukraine now looking for a way through the well drilled red shirts.
Wales go close as Bale finds James who sees his shot loop high with the keeper having to tip over the box.
The next goal will be decisive here ... Wales score, then one can't help but failing to see Rob Page's side in Qatar... a Ukraine goal and one can see the visitors pushing on and advancing.
Less than 30 minutes remain in Cardiff and the game is wonderfully poised as Ukraine push, Wales defend and the prize of a trip to Qatar looms larger...
More danger for Wales as Ben Davies is on hand to slide the ball away just as Yarmolenko was poised to strike inside the Welsh area.
Just a hint of nervousness creeping into Wales play with still over 30 minutes of the game remaining. The way Rob Page manages the contest will be vital now for the home side.
Ukraine almost draw level and lady luck smiles down on Wales as Hennessey saves and the rebound falls just behind Roman Yaremchuk.
Ukraine have not really got into their stride with the second half already 8 minutes old. It's the home side who have enjoyed the better of this second spell.
Rob Page gets a card for failing to see eye to eye with the Spanish ref.
Great move from Wales as Moore and Ramsey combine well but the Rangers man fails to hit the target to finish the move off in style. Best passage if play from the home side and a golden chance to double their lead.
Are Wales set for a World Cup place 64 years later ?
Wales to start the second half...
The sides take to the pitch again and it appears that there have been no changes at the interval.
So, as things stand, it will be Wales who will complete Group B at the 2022 Qatar World Cup and will join Iran, USA and England in the group.
Despite being ahead, Ukraine have been the better side on the night and have certainly created more chances than the home side. They did have the ball in the net in the third minute but Spanish ref Mateu Lahoz failed to give the signal to take the free kick.
The whistle sounds and Wales lead after an entertaining 45'.
Bale with the free and Yarmolenko heads the ball into his own net is the difference between the sides. Still a long way to go in this contest one feels.
Last minute corner for Ukraine.... Zinchenko the man to take as the ball ricochets into Hennessey's arms.
We'll have 2 minutes of added time.
Free for Ukraine as James clatter into a blue shirt. Some distance out as Zinchenko goes short. The move breaks down and we're just a minute away from the interval.
Check over and no spot kick for Ukraine
Zinchenko shoots with the left foot again and it's Hennesy on hand to deflect for a corner as Ukraine look for a penalty as Allen clips Yarmolenko. Ref checking with VAR booth.
Rob Page will want his men to be sensible now and maintain this lead with the interval just eight minutes or so away
The home fans are in fine voice now as they enjoy the opening goal of the evening. Poor old Yarmlenko who looked distraught with his error.
Fine delivery from Bale and heartbreak for the West Ham man who heads past his keeper.
Yarmolenko it was with the unfortunate touch steering the ball into his own net.
James fouled and despite it being ideal for a right footed player Bale takes and the ball is deflected home....
We've seen little from Gareth Bale tonight and Rob Page would have been hoping for more from his captain.
Mykolenko carded as he seems to elbow Dan James as the Welsh winger was looking to sprint free.
Zinchenko with a fine left footed effort and once again it's Hennessey to the rescue for Wales. Ukraine now with a wave of sustained pressure laying siege to the Welsh box.
Viktor Tsyhankov breaks through the Wales back line and fires wide with the goal beckoning.... the flag was up though...
Tonight's game could see extra time and even be decided on penalty kicks should things remain level at the end of 90 and then 120 minutes. Keeper Heorhiy Bushchan still looks uncomfortable after that earlier knock.
Nerves for the Wales rearguard as the visitors work the ball well and its Karavayev with the final shot which is blocked.
The game is developing a pattern of waves of pressure and domination for both teams. Wales now on top as they peg Ukraine back. Bushchan now getting attention and seems to have a problem with his left knee.
Ukraine stopper Heorhiy Bushchan is clipped and may need attention as the rain gets heavier and heavier making conditions trick for both keepers.
Roman Yaremchuk finds space and with time, drills the ball straight at Hennessey. Ukraine have adapted to the contest in better shape one feels with the Burnley stopper Hennessy in the Wales goal far more active than Buschan.
Viktor Tsyhankov shoots with the left peg and forces Hennessey to save well. Pressure now coming from the men in blue as the Wales stopper is the busier of the two goalkeepers so far.
Better from the home side as they launch a series of high balls into the Ukraine box. The ball falls to Bale and the former Real Madrid man is unable to control.
The conditions are not helping matters with players losing their footing and slipping constantly as Wales win a corner and the noise levels increase.
Zinchenko fires the free into the net but Wales are spared as Lahoz claims the whistle had not sounded and the kick will be retaken... This time it's Malinovski who fires the ball into the arms of Hennessy in the Wales goal.
An early card for Joe Allen and Dan James. Allen for the foul and James for appealing to the Spanish ref.
It's the men in blue dominating the ball in the opening minutes of the game with Wales yet to get a look-in.
All set in Cardiff, the fans make wonderful noise as the rain starts in the Welsh capital. The tension is palpable as the visitors start the game.
Now the turn for Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh national anthem which belted out with great gusto...
Wales in their classic all red kit tonight and Ukraine in their change all blue kit with yellow trims.
Both teams pose beside a banner bearing the words 'Peace' in english and Cyrillic as the anthems play out via the stadium PA system.
A packed Cardiff stadium awaits
A full house in Cardiff tonight with all 28,000 plus tickets sold as the teams make their way to the pitch. Spain's Mateu Lahoz is tonight's match official. A massive game awaits !
Tonight's game really is a tough one to call with very little to choose between both teams and I anticipate a close contest with possibly just the solitary goal to decide the outcome.
AS USA prediction: Wales 0-1 Ukraine
A reminder of the team news for those just joining us as kick-off looms in Cardiff
- 13Illia Zabarnyi
- 4Ben Davies
- 7Joe Allen
- 20Daniel James
- 3Neco Williams
- 13Kieffer Moore
A fine promo video from Sky Sports ahead of the Wales-Ukraine clash with the invasion by Russia adding another emotional dimension to a game of football.
Ukraine's preparation going into these World Cup games has been unorthodox given the complexities Russia's invasion has caused.
The national team were forced to play friendly games against the likes of Empoli and Borussia MG and have established a training camp in Slovenia ahead of the games against Scotland and Wales.
Page: 'As Wales manager, you have to be able to adapt'
Speaking ahead of today's play-off, Page stated, “I’ve learnt one thing as Wales manager, that if you want your best players on the pitch, you’ve got to be able to adapt. They’ve never let me down.”
Page will also welcome back the likes of Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey for what will be a tough encounter with a place in the tournament Qatar at stake, with their opponents riding a wave of support amid Russia's invasion of their country.
“I thought they gave a great account of themselves against Scotland,” Page said of the opposition.
“We’ve analysed the game and Ukraine pose a threat. They’re there for a reason, they’re a good outfit. Irrespective of what they've been through to get here.”
Wales’ only previous World Cup finals appearance was in Sweden in 1958 where they lost to Brazil in the quarter-finals.
“We’re all excited. The atmosphere in the training ground, you can see what they’re all about as a group. We understand the importance, but we’ve got a plan in place and it’s about trusting the plan now,” Page added.
Zinchenko sees Wales decider as a 'game of survival'
Midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, one of several outstanding performers against the Scots, has no doubts that the team will be ready to take on a Wales side looking to secure their first World Cup finals appearance since 1958.
"There is no time to rejoice. It's time to recover. Each of us is a professional who needs to know what he needs to do for this," said the Manchester City player.
"However, we all understand that the game with Wales will no longer be about physical condition or tactics - it will be a game of survival. Everyone will fight to the end and give their all, because we will play for our country," he added.
If the celebrations from the Ukraine fans in the stadium on Wednesday, over 2,000 of them drawn from around the U.K and even as far away as Australia, were not enough of a reminder of what the victory meant to the war-ravaged nation, the messages they received after the match made it abundantly clear.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a picture of the team celebrating on the Telegram app, accompanied by a brief message: “Sometimes you don’t need a lot of words! Just pride… They went out, fought, persevered and won. Because they are Ukrainians!”
But these playoffs are not just about returning to the field as a symbol of the country's resistance -- Ukraine are chasing the dream of a place in the World Cup finals for only the second time since the country's independence in 1991.
"This victory is for all Ukrainians, for those who are now at the forefront. We are with them. But so far we have done 50% of the task. The most important thing is the next match," said midfielder Ruslan Malinovsky.
Ukraine players gifted flag by soldiers ahead of Wales showdown
Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov said his players would hang a flag in their dressing room given to them by soldiers on the frontline before their World Cup playoff against Wales later today.
Ukraine beat Scotland in their playoff semi-final at Hampden Park on Wednesday in their first game since the Russian invasion of their country, a victory which Petrakov dedicated to his compatriots defending the Ukrainian borders.
"It is a really hard situation in Ukraine, and not everybody has a chance to watch football, and not everybody watches football because of all the problems," Petrakov told a news conference on Saturday.
"Despite this, we will try to concentrate tomorrow and have a great game."
"Personally, I am not in communication with any of the soldiers, but players in the team wrote to our soldiers, and they also received a flag from the war, which we've promised to hang up in the dressing room."
A win against Wales on Sunday in Cardiff will earn Ukraine a place in the World Cup finals for just the second time as an independent nation, while Wales have the chance to make their first appearance in 64 years.
"I've watched the coaching work of (Wales coach) Robert Page, and I've noted that the Welsh side cooperates well with very good players, especially Ramsey, Bale and James.
"I think that everyone will have a chance to watch a great game."
Petrakov said they are expecting no favours from their opponents.
"Sport is sport, and we don't expect any presents from Wales or an unfair win," he said.
Wales desperate to qualify for first World Cup since 1958, says Bale
Captain Gareth Bale said Wales are desperate to qualify for their first World Cup finals appearance in 64 years when they take on Ukraine in Sunday's playoff match at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Wales' only World Cup finals appearance was in Sweden in 1958, where they lost to Brazil in the quarter-finals.
"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, who sat out Wales' 2-1 Nations League defeat to Poland, told reporters on Saturday.
"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."
Most neutral viewers will likely be supporting Ukraine in the wake of Russia's invasion of their country, which Moscow calls a "special military operation."
When asked how it felt to be taking on Ukraine in such circumstances, Bale said the most important thing was that Wales would be "the most popular team in the stadium."
"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."
Group B awaits the winner
Tonight's winners will fill the void in Group B and will face the likes of England, Iran, and the USA at the 2022 World Cup which gets underway in November.
Wales have Cardiff, Ukraine the world support
The Dragons are only 90 minutes away from booking their spot in the biggest soccer event for just the second time. They have strung together an 18-game unbeaten streak in front of their own crowd since losing to Denmark in November 2018.
As for the visitors, Oleksandr Petrakov’s men will be looking to reach the World Cup for the second time as an independent nation. Even if they will be playing in Cardiff, they will probably have the support of the soccer world after Russia invaded their country back in February.
Ukraine XI confirmed
Ukraine manager Petrakov confirms his starting line-up for today's play-off with Ukraine looking for only their second ever appearance at at World Cup with a discreet showing at Germany in 2006 their only previous appearance at the biggest tournament.
Wales starting XI confirmed
Gareth Bale captains the Wales side with Wayne Hennessey manning the sticks. Wales looking for a place at a World Cup finals for the first time in 64 years.
Wales-Ukraine, recent meetings
Both nations have only placed three games against one another this century with each contest a tight fought battle. Ukraine hold the upper hand with one win and two drawn matches.
A massive game awaits for both nations with extra time and even penalty kicks a possibility as we discover which side is on their way to the 2022 World Cup.
The action at the Cardiff City Stadium gets underway at 12:00 pm (ET) or 18:00 CEST and the winner will become the 30th confirmed nation to play in the forthcoming Qatar World Cup in November 2022.
Hello and a very warm welcome to our live coverage as Wales face Ukraine with the final UEFA World Cup place at stake.