For the first time since 1958, Wales have earned themselves a place in the FIFA World Cup. 64 years of heartache had let to many Wales fans thinking they’d never hear their anthem sung out at the World Cup finals, until a rainy day in Cardiff changed everything.
The dreams of the 33,000 Wales fans and the 3 million at home were made real against Ukraine in the World Cup play offs. In front of a sell-out crowd in the Cardiff City Stadium, fans were blessed to see Wales scrape a tense 1-0 victory against a war-torn Ukraine in the final of the World Cup Play offs.
Gareth Bale’s free kick was headed in by Ukraine’s Yarmalenko in the 34th minute for the only goal of the game that saw a spirited performance by both sides. The goal was one of the few Welsh chances in the first half in a game that was mostly dominated by Ukraine, although Wales saw some great chances by Bale and Aaron Ramsey go begging in the second half.
The atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium was electric as Wales fought off a valiant Ukraine attack who had a number of chances to score. However, Wayne Hennessey, a surprise replacement for Danny Ward, and Ben Davies had the game of their lives to keep Ukraine from scoring and keeping Wales in the lead.
The man of the match was keeper Wayne Hennessey, although he was joined in brilliant performances by Ben Davies, Neco Williams and late substitution Brennan Johnson. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey had uncharacteristically poor games and wasted great chances each, but both did enough to help Wales qualify or their first World Cup since 1958.
After 64 years of waiting, Wales finally qualified for the World Cup and solidified Gareth Bale as the greatest Welsh player of all time and the greatest British player in the 21st Century.