Wales vs. Ukraine score: Gareth Bale helps send Dragons to 2022 FIFA World Cup

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Wales have booked their ticket to the 2022 World Cup after a 1-0 victory over Ukraine on Sunday in Cardiff in their playoff final. It's the first World Cup berth for the Dragons since 1958, and it is also the final spot for UEFA as Wales will go into Group B alongside the United States, England, and Iran, with their first match being against USA on November 21 at 2 p.m. ET.

Andriy Yarmolenko made the difference but not in a way that he would have liked as his own goal in the 34th minute gave Wales a lead that they wouldn't surrender. After a Gareth Bale free kick, Yarmolenko's unintentional header gave George Buschan a ball that he wouldn't be able to deal with 34 minutes in.

Here's the goal:

A strong performance in goal from Wayne Hennessey made sure that Wales would keep their lead as Ukraine's road ends in the finals of Path A.

Hennessey made nine saves after getting the backing from Robert Page in this match. Danny Ward was the starter for the national team leading up to the match but Page's gamble in going with experience worked out in a big way.

Ukraine had plenty of chances as one of their best was an Oleksandr Zinchenko header following a Vitalii Mykolenko cross that was just barely saved by Hennessey. Wales had a few key chances to double their lead as Aaron Ramsey missed a chance from point-blank range and Brennan Johnson struck the post after being introduced. 

A goal from Ukraine looked likely, but a lack of precision when it mattered most saw their World Cup dreams end. 

Outlook ahead of facing USMNT

One of the biggest questions facing Wales will be where Ramsey and Bale will be playing next season as they look to get in form ahead of the World Cup. There will be no shortage of suitors for Bale, while Ramsey's future is a little murkier as Juventus may be looking to terminate his contract after he returns from his loan move to Rangers. While in the Scottish Premiership, Ramsey only started five matches, scoring two goals and assisting one more. 

Heading to the World Cup, Wales' younger options will be getting important experience in the Premier League if Neco Willams is able to stay at Fulham following a season long loan from Liverpool. Harry Williams, Chris Mepham, and Johnson were recently promoted to the Premier League while Daniel James was able to avoid relegation with Leeds United.

A lot will need to improve for Wales to sneak out of Group B, but they will head to the World Cup with confidence in their abilities, making it back to the biggest stage after 64 years. 

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Wales are back in the World Cup!

It took nine saves from Wayne Hennessey to see out the 1-0 victory but they'll be heading to the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

June 5, 2022, 5:58 PM
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After a heroic block, Willams will be subbed off

He needed to receive treatment after putting in an impressive shift at left back instead of his favored right back position. on the day and will be replaced by Rhys Norrington-Davies

June 5, 2022, 5:54 PM
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Just minutes stand between Wales and the World Cup

The defense were tested from start to finish but they were able to hold strong and keep Ukraine off the board.

June 5, 2022, 5:50 PM
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Hennessy won't be beaten!

Zinchenko did everything he could following Mykolenko's excellent cross into the box but it's another save in Hennessey's locker.

June 5, 2022, 5:44 PM
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Harry Wilson enters now for Wales

Wilson will come in for Gareth Bale. It's impressive that Bale has made it this long into the match considering how few minutes that he has played recently but it's an addition of fresh legs to close the match out. Can Wales hold on?

June 5, 2022, 5:43 PM
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Ukraine almost equalizes

Zinchenko teed up Yarmolenko but Davies was there again for a last second block. Davies has been an absolute rock in defense for Wales.

June 5, 2022, 5:38 PM
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Off the Post!

SO close to a match winner for wales but Johnson has been electric since entering. Bale had a chance to score a winner but Buschan came up with a massive save.

June 5, 2022, 5:36 PM
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A positive change for Wales

Daniel James will leave the match for young Brennan Johnson. Fresh off of earning promotion to the Premier League with Nottingham Forest, he can help push his national team to their first World Cup berth since 1958.

June 5, 2022, 5:32 PM
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No big changes

Ukraine are keeping their intensity from the first half but they've been unable to beat Wayne Hennessey who has made six saves and counting as the match goes on. It didn't feel likely that the game would end in a clean sheet but Wales are gaining confidence by the minute.

June 5, 2022, 5:29 PM
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Ben Davies is making a difference

The Tottenham defender has cleaned up quite a few Ukraine chances as the Welsh defense has gotten stronger as the match wears on.

June 5, 2022, 5:21 PM
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Ukraine needed to open up things...

But it's Wales who are taking the advantage. The stadium is bouncing as Wales are pushing forward with ease and creating chances. Moore and James have been much improved after the half.

June 5, 2022, 5:15 PM
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Aaron Ramsey will want that chance back

Wales had a perfect counter attack going. Moore crossed the ball across the face of net to an open Aaron Ramsay who scuffed his change. An amazing opportunity for Wales to double their lead was wasted.

June 5, 2022, 5:09 PM
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Back underway

No changes for either side but the rain has picked up.

June 5, 2022, 5:06 PM
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We've reached the half and Wales lead 1-0

Bale's free kick and Yarmolenko's unfortunate header are the difference between the two teams. Ukraine have dominated both possession and chances created but all that matters is the goal on the board. Oleksandr Zinchenko has been excellent taking three shots and completing 33 of his 35 passes but the defensive midfielders for both teams need some help in the second half. 

It could go either way but Wales have yet to get a shot on target and are heavily reliant on Wayne Hennessey standing strong in goal.

June 5, 2022, 4:55 PM
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Quite a chippy start

Three yellows handed out six fouls and a few players who could end up with a red if things don't change. Yarmolenko was lucky to not get a card for diving as he wanted a penalty shout but put himself into a position to get kicked by Joe Allen in the box.

June 5, 2022, 4:49 PM
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That goal has amped Wales up

While it will go down as an own goal to Yarmolenko, Wales won't care as their fans are behind them and the team is feeding into the energy. They're now pushing for a second to go into halftime with a real advantage.

June 5, 2022, 4:41 PM
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Who else but Bale! 1-0 Wales

It could go down as an own goal to Yarmolenko as his defensive header ensured that Buschan couldn't get to the ball but this is a goal that is against the run of play for Wales.

June 5, 2022, 4:38 PM
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Ukraine are testing Hennessey often

Zinchenko is dictating the game and has forced Hennessey into a big save. It's feeling like only a matter of time until Ukraine scores as they have seven shots for an xG of .43 early on.

June 5, 2022, 4:33 PM
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Bale has struggled to find the game

Only 12 touches and one speculative shot for Wale's key attacker. Ukraine are doing a good job with managing his involvement but Paige may need to tinker a little as Bale's free role isn't working early on.

June 5, 2022, 4:29 PM
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Buschan is receiving treatment

Ukraine may have to swap goalkeepers as Abdruy Pyatov is getting warmed up. Buschan will stay in the match for now but something to watch out for as Wales should get off early shots to test him.

June 5, 2022, 4:22 PM
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Ampadu will need to watch his lines better

Ukraine were kept onside due to Ampadu not being in line with Rodon and Davies allowing Yaremchuk to test Hennessy in net. The Keeper was strong to things but Wales will want things to slow down sooner than later.

June 5, 2022, 4:15 PM
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Wales are growing into things now

Ukraine are dominating possession but both teams have only taken an official shot in the first eight minutes. Hennessy has looked a little shaky in net after a surprising start over Ward and that will be something to watch as the game goes on.

June 5, 2022, 4:11 PM
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Already our first yellow card

Joe Allen went in hard on Stepanenko and has already been carded which will be something to watch with his importance in build up for Wales. Ukraine had the ball in the back of the net from a quickly taken free kick but the referee deemed that the ball wasn't set properly and it will be taken again.

June 5, 2022, 4:06 PM
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Wales are shaky early 

Conceding possession to Ukraine early in their defensive third isn't the way that Robert Page would like this match to start. Ukraine is a team that can cause enough danger in attack on their own that Wales will need to be tidy and not add to the pressure that their defense will face. 

June 5, 2022, 4:04 PM
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Less than 10 minutes until kickoff

In a few hours, another spot in the World Cup will be booked.

June 5, 2022, 3:52 PM
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Each team looks to qualify for their second World Cup ever

Wales' last visit was in 1958, they made it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Brazil from the competition. Ukraine has been to the World Cup much more recently also making it to the quarterfinals before losing to Italy. 

June 5, 2022, 3:29 PM
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Wales' Lineup

Staters: Hennessey, Ampadu, Rodon, Davies, Roberts, Ramsey, Allen, James, Williams, Bale, Moore

Reserves: Gunter, Mepham, Wilson, Johnson, Ward, Morrell, Norrington-Davies, Williams, Harris, Davies, Thomas, Matondo

June 5, 2022, 3:15 PM
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The lineup for Ukraine

Starters: Bushchan, Mykolenko, Matviyenko, Zabarnyl, Karavayev, Stepanenko, Tsygankov, Zinchenko, Malinovskyi, Yarmolenko, Yaremechuk

Reserves: Sobol, Bondar, Syrota, Sydorchuk, Shaparenko, Dovbyk, Pyatov, Mudryk, Pikhalyonok, Kacharaba, Zubkov, Riznyk

June 5, 2022, 3:14 PM
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