Wales grabs final World Cup slot in US group

Joe Morrell of Wales celebrates after their sides victory during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Wales and Ukraine at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on June 5, 2022. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wales defeated Ukraine 1–0 on Sunday to claim the final spot in Group B of this fall’s World Cup.

Wales will be the first opponent for the United States on Nov. 21 in Qatar. Iran and England complete the group.

The only score came on an own goal by Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko, who stopped a 25-yard free kick off the foot of Wales captain Gareth Bale. But instead of the ball squirting away, it got past goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan.

The home crowd at Cardiff City Stadium in Wales was euphoric as their team qualified for the nation’s first World Cup since 1958.

And the Ukrainian players appeared heartbroken following the defeat, wanting to give their country a positive after it has endured three months of bombardment by Russia.

“The most important game of our lives,” Ukraine defender Oleksandr Karavayev said Saturday.

Ukraine hasn’t qualified for the World Cup since 2006. This match was delayed about three months because of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which was banned from competing in the qualifier.