Sports

Wales qualify in second World Cup after 1958

Oviri Kelvin

Wales have qualified to feature in the World Cup finals in Qatar after they defeated embattled Ukrainians 1-0 to clinch the golden opportunity since 1958.

In a tumultuous journey to see Ryan Giggs’ side gifted an own-goal by Ukraine’s Andriy Yarmolenko at the Cardiff City Stadium, complimented their renaissance to feature in the global football event after their first appearance in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

Wales formerly 117 in world ranking, staged a renaissance when Gareth Bale broke into the ranks of football greats and succeeded in featuring for the first time in the UEFA European championship in 2016 where they recorded their best-ever result by reaching the semifinals.

The team, propelled by the success in the 2016 UEFA EURO hosted by France, qualified in the successive 2020 edition where they were eliminated in the round of 16.

Prior to the final qualifying playoff with Ukraine, Bale, whose nine years reign at Real Madrid ended last week and have bid the club a farewell, stressed that his focus was on the deciding cracker to feature in World Cup finals in Qatar.

However, the player who will seek to continue his career elsewhere after a scintillating spell with Los Blancos, accepted that the journey to clinch the World Cup ticket to Qatar was crazy.

“It’s been a crazy journey from where we were to qualify for two European Championships and a World Cup,” elated Bale told the media post-match.

“It’s literally what dreams are made of, especially for all of us who have been there from the start. We’ve paved the way for the youngsters as well, we’ve welcomed them in and it’s hard to describe what it means to us.

“I think we were too young (to have targets) when we started. We were just happy playing for Wales. You just get better and you grow. Players become bigger and stronger and we’ve gelled well as a team. There’s no ego in our team, we just fight for each other,” he added.

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Wales presently ranked 18 in the world, will on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, entertain Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League and Belgium on Saturday, June 11, in the third before they head to De Klup Stadium to take on Netherlands on Tuesday, June 14.

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