EMOTIONAL SCENES AS UKRAINIANS APPLAUD THEIR PLAYERS DESPITE FAILING TO JOIN OTHER TEAMS IN QATAR WORLD CUP 2022
Ukraine players and fans shared a wonderful moment in the stadium after their national side failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
Wales beat Ukraine 1-0 in a closely-contested affair in Cardiff that was decided by an Andriy Yarmolenko’s own goal from a Gareth Bale freekick.
They may not have won the game, but they surely won the hearts of a lot of people. The Ukrainian national football team failed in their pursuit of qualifying for the World Cup after an equally spirited Wales beat them in the play-off finals.
Let me just put this into context in case you have just landed from Mars and you have no clue what is going on. Ukraine has been ravaged by war since February 24th when Russia decided to invade the country due to some political differences dating back to 2014.
Like any other war, the effects have been massive with loss of lives being the hallmark. People have been displaced from their homes with infrastructure being destroyed. Ukrainians are at the moment looking at anything that can offer a semblance of hope for a better tomorrow.
And that’s why the Ukrainian national football team led by Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko felt the need of qualifying for football’s biggest tournament. Scotland and Wales stood in their way.
An emphatic performance at Hampden Park in Glasgow last week saw them sweep aside Scotland 3-1. But with only 90 minutes separating them from a place in Qatar, fatigue seemed to have crept in as Wales edged them 1-0 courtesy of a Gareth Bale’s deflected freekick.
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Look, we are taking nothing away from Wales’ performance. It will be their first showing at a World Cup in 64 years. The general feeling among football fans was that Ukraine deserved a spot, but in football, like any other fair sport, nothing is guaranteed, you have to fight for it.
Daily Mail reports that after the game, the players went to thank the fans who could make it to Cardiff. Striker Roman Yaremchuk was in tears as they applauded their fans. Close to 2,000 fans made the journey and they were proud of the team, which was constantly denied by an inspired Wayne Hennessey in the opposite goal.
Prior to the game against Scotland, some of the players had not played a competitive game since March. The determination and the willingness was intact from the fans and the players alike. But luck was not on their side.
Wales now join England, Iran and the United States of America in Group B at Qatar 2022.