Heartbreak for Man City star Oleksandr Zinchenko as Ukraine lose World Cup play-off to Wales
Ukraine and Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko have been left crestfallen after failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup at the last hurdle.
Ukraine, whose World Cup qualifying play-off matches had to be delayed after Russia launched an invasion into the country on February 24, fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Wales at a boisterous Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday evening. Understandably, a number of Ukraine’s players were emotional upon the final whistle as they applauded their supporters.
Despite having less than ideal preparations, with a large chunk of their squad not having played a competitive match since the outbreak of the war, Ukraine still managed to overcome Scotland in their play-off semi-final on Wednesday. They triumphed 3-1 with a brilliant performance at Hampden Park.
Just like they were in Glasgow, Ukraine were the better side on the night against Wales as they registered three times as many shots on target as the hosts and were denied what looked to be a clear penalty. However, they were unable to find a goal to cancel out Andriy Yarmolenko’s first-half own goal after he nodded in Gareth Bale’s free-kick.
City star Zinchenko played the full 90 minutes of the match and was seen in conversation with Bale upon full-time. The pair embraced before going to acknowledge their supporters.
Although there was heartbreak for Ukraine, there was jubilation for Wales who have qualified for their first World Cup in 64 years. They will join England in Group B for this year’s tournament, completing the group alongside USA and Iran.