Welcome to Sportstar's highlights of the World Cup Qualifier playoff final between Wales and Ukraine being played at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
This was Neeladri Bhattacharjee bringing you buildup of this high-voltage decisive fixture along with minute-by-minute updates of the match as it happens. That was all for the night in this match. Thanks for tuning in and take very good care of yourselves.
Wales 1-0 Ukraine
Despite a last minute challenge to attack and equalise, it was Hennessey's prowess between the sticks and Gareth Bale's clinical free-kick was the difference as Wales entered the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
90+3' Substitution for Wales! In: Norrington-Davies, Out: Williams
90+2' Zinchenko delivers a cross from outside the box, but Ben Davies keeps the pass in check, which is cleared away
90' Five additional minutes for Ukraine to find an equaliser, five minutes to end a 64 year wait for Wales and the host clings to the slender lead
89' Attempts, one after the other with Sydorchuk trying this. But Wales has all bases convered to contain the attack.
86' Wilson takes the free kick, which hits the wall and Wales gets a corner kick. Wilson takes it which is too long and lands to Johnson
85' Free Kick! Wales attacks on the break with Ramsey leading the attack, passes to Wilson, who is fouled at the edge of the box
84' WHAT A SAVE! A cross from the left and Dobvyk jumps and heads it on target, but an abasilutely stunning save by Hennessey denies yet another goal to Ukraine
82' Substitution for Wales! In: Harry Wilson, Out: Gareth Bale
82' Wales tries to attack on the counter and gets a foul with Williams at the receiving end of the foul. Free Kick to Wales!
79' Ukraine gets the ball in front with action along the left flank. Zinchenko carries the ball into the final third and Sydorchuk goes for goal from distance this time. No problem for Hennessey to stop it this time as Cardiff erupts with chants and songs.. Just 11 more minutes of regulation time.
77' Save! Ukraine attacks on the counter with Yarmolenko and Karavaev involve, but brilliant defending by Davies and Hennessey keeps Ukraine's score at zero
76' Save! Bale gets the ball in front of the goal and shoots. This time Buschan makes the save denying Wales the second goal
74' Shot! Shaparaenko goes for goal, trying teh audacious attemopt to become the super-sub, but ths shot flies over the goal as Wale s fans cheer in what has been a brilliant display in composure in the game so far
72' Sydorchuk is marking Bale well enough with Mykolenko going for a shit and Hennessey makes another save. Wales is staying put after such a long wait for the final
70' Double Change for Ukraine! In: Sydorchuk, Shaparenko, Out: Stepanenko, Malinovsky
Change for Wales as well! In: Johnson, Out: James
69' Chance! Zinchenko makes a run from the right flank, gets the ball, but croses instead of shooting and the attacks ends right there.
68' Ukraine coralles itself at the back with Wales having seven of the 10 palyers invoved in the defence
67' Stepanenko's scross lacks direction as Wales keep the back fortified. The team is looking for a chance to play in the tournament after six decades
65' Zinchenko tries to find a gap fro the midfield, passes to Stepanenko , but Wales has two lines of five and four men respectively. Malinovsky, out of options, goes for a shot from distance, but it is off-target
64' Chance! Bale makes a run along the left, beats the defender on teh left, but Ukraine has enough back-up as the ball is cleared by the men in blue
62' Chance! Wales attacks on the counter with Ramsey passing to James, whose shot, after a block by Matviyenko lands on top of the net
60' Ukraine buiding play with small one-twos and it gets a corner kick. Tsigankov whips the ball in, but Wales clear it out of danger easily
59' Chance! Zinchenko makes a run and passes to Yarmolenko, but Ben Davies tracks back on time to deny any chance for the former West Ham player to score
58' Hennessey gets the ball in action with a goal kick, but Ukraine gets the ball in its control again.
57' Zinchenko loses the ball, but Ukraine gets it back and Ramsey concedes a foul with Ukraine taking the free-kick quickly
55' Save! Ukraine goes on attack, and the final shot is taken by Yarenmchuk. But Hennessey makes a remarkable save to deny the equaliser
53' Chance! Ramsey delivers a long bal for Moore, who heads the bal in the centre, but the ball goes out for a throw-in. The throw sees Mykolenko's headed deflection being caught by Buschan to safety
52' Karavaev manages to keep the ball in play and as James tries to carry the ball into the opposition box, he is dispossessed of the ball as Ukraine gets back control
51' Mykolenko tries to find space in the midfield with a lofted pass, but the ball is blocked by Wales and there is action on the sidelines with Rob Page getting a yellow card for dissent regarding a decision on the field
49' Miss! Moore makes a run along the right flank, receives the ball from James and then passes to Ramsey, whose shot is poor given the circumstances and Wales miss a chance to double its lead
48' Rob Page looks on as Wales continues to search for spaces along the flanks. But it is Ukraine that goes on the attack, but Yarmolenko is dispossessed of the ball
46' Yarmolenko looks to have picked up a knock after a challenge by Aaron Ramsey, but soon he gets back on his feet and play resumes as usual
Second Half begins!
Wales 1-0 Ukraine
The deflected free kick of Gareth Bale remains the difference at the halfway mark with the host one goal head, with Yarmolenko with the own goal.
45+1' Davies gets the ball for Moore, but his header is marked offside. Dan James goes for goal from inside the box, but Buschan makes a save.
44' Wales has a red shirt behind every Ukrainian player as the teams looks for a World Cup spot for the first time in 64 years
43' Daniel James complaining that he has been fould but the referee is not intersted with Karavaev noy in fault as seen in the replay
40' A sprawiling save by Hennessey off Zinchenko's shot Yarmolenko appeals a penalty for a foul second before the shot. After a VAR check, no penalty was given.
39' Joe Rodon tries to go for goal, but no advantage at the end of it as Cardiff continues to sing chants for the home team
34' GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! Gareth Bale shoots and the ball gets into the net with a deflection off Yarmolenko
WAL 1-0 UKR
33' Foul! Malinovsky fouls James this time and Wales gets a free kick froma scoring position, a distance similar to where Bale scored against Austria
32' Yellow Card! Daniel James tries to make a run along the right, but Mykolenko stops him in his tracks with his elbow and the referee books the player, with the card the second booking of the match
31' Excellent Stop, again by Hennessey! Yaremchuk delivers the ball for Tsigankov in the box, but a crucial touch by teh keeper forces a corner kick
30' Save! Zinchenko gets the ball in front of the penalty box and shoots and Hennessey makes another stop to deny Ukraine the opening goal
28' Off Side! Tsygankov runs behind the Welsh defence and barges into the opposition box and then shoots. Just then the linesman raises his flag
27' Moore and Bale get together to orchestrate an attack, but the final pass does not reach Daniel James and Ukraine gets the ball back as fans in yellow-and-blue jump up and down
26' Shot! Zinchenko gets the ball in the midifield and goes for goal. However, it is blocked as Ampadu stops it
25' Foul! Zinchenko is caught by Ramsey as play stops for a quick free kick and Ukraine starts from the back again
23' Chance! Wales goes on the attack, with Ramsey making a run along the right flank and he crosses for James, but the Leeds player fails to reach the box on time
22' Save! Ukraine goes on the attack, but the final touch by Tsigankov is caught by Hennessey again as the Wales goalkeeper refuses to be beaten time and again
21' Shot! Hennessey's gal kick is revceived by Moore, who passes to Bale and Bale goes for goal with a shot from distance, but it flies off-target
20' Buschan lookes to be in some pain after the clearance minutes ago, but is back on his feet after receving some medical attention
19' Wales goes on attack agasin with Williams trying to keep the ball into play off a through ball, but failks as Ukraine gets a throw-in
17' Williams and James pair up for attack along the left flank and James' shot is blocked for a Wales corner. James takes it, which after a pass from Ramsey is delivvered into the box. Buschan puches it out, but hurts himslef in the process
16' Wales is forced to retreat and tries to get into attack with small passes through channels in the midfield. Gareth Bale, surprisingly is playing very deep down the field for now.
15' Wales gets the ball up front with Ukraine having eight men at the back.
12' Save! Yaremchuk gets a through ball with a run behind Ampadu and he runs into the box and shoots. Hennessey makes another save.
11' After a rather end-to-end start, Ukraine is building smoothly again with Zinchenko and Malinovsky pairing up, but the Red defence of Wales keeps the attack at bay for the moment
9' Another save! Tsigangov goes for a lofted ball from distance this time and Hennessey manages to get a glove to it again. The corner that follows is cleared by Wales
8' Save by Hennessey! Tsigankov goes for goal from distance for Ukraine and the Wales goalkeeper makes another save to keep the score 0-0
8' Shot! Williams controls tjhe ball beats his marker Yarmolenko and shoots, but it is off target as the ball goes clear off Buschan
5' Wales tries to build an attack from the back with Daniel James deliverig crosses from the right and a Ben Davies' shot goes out for the first corner for Wales. Buschan punches away the kick that was curling in
3' Save! Malinovsky takes the free kick the second time and this time the Welsih goalie has his gloves glues to the ball and Wales escape an early goal
2' NO GOAL! A quick free kick by Ukraine gets the ball into the net with Zinchenko taking the shot. But the referee rules it out as the field was not ready
2' Yellow Card! Joe Allen lands a late challenge on Stepanenko and the referee books him which is the first yellow card of the match
2' Ukraine gets back possession and tries building from the back. It is the same approach that the side took against Scotland initially
1' Ukraine begins the match on the attack with Zinchenko carrying the ball inthe Welsh half, but Wales pushed the team in blue back into their half, trying to absorb the pressure
9:30 pm: Kick Off! The match begins after the players take a knee and off the game starts.
9:25 pm: The players walk out of the tunnel with Ukraine in blue and the host, Wales, starting in its red kit. The stage is set. The crowd ready for the show to begin!
9:22 pm: It is a full house at the Cardiff City stadium with fans holding up the Wesh flag and support for Ukraine is evident with hundreds of yellow-and-blue flags.
9:10 pm: Players to watch out for:
Gareth Bale, Wales: The captain of Wales led from the front in the previous World Cup Qualifier against Austria with a brace, including a stunning free kick-goal. He is currently the country's leading goalscorer.
Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine: When Ukraine beat Wales six years ago, it was Yarmolenko who had found the net. The 32-year old has remained a consistent forward for the side and scored a goal in the last match against Scotland as well.
With 45 international goals, he sits just three short of Andriy Shevchenko's goal tally, the highest goalscorer for Ukraine.
9:00 pm: FORM GUIDE: The host Wales comes into the match with two wins in its last five matches and suffered a loss to Poland in the Nations League in its last match.
Ukraine, which had not played competitive football since November 17, 2021, announced its comeback in style with a comfortable win against Scotland and has not lost a match since July 4, 2021.
Wales last five matches:
- Loss: Poland 2-1 Wales (UEFA Nations League)
- Draw: Wales 1-1 Czech Republic (International Friendly)
- Win: Wales 2-1 Austria (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
- Draw: Wales 1-1 Belgium (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
- Win: Wales 5-1 Belarus (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
Ukraine last five matches:
- Win: Scotland 1-3 Ukraine (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
- Win: Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-2 Ukraine (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
- Draw: Ukraine 1-1 Bulgaria (International Friendly)
- Draw: Ukraine 1-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
- Win : Finland 1-2 Ukraine (UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier)
8:50 pm: HEAD-TO-HEAD: Wales and Ukraine have met thrice in the past and Ukraine has won once and drawn the remaining two. Neither side has been able to get the better of each other in the competitive fixtures though, with the win coming in an International friendly.
- Wales 1-1 Ukraine, March 28, 2001
- Ukraine 1-1 Wales, June 6, 2001
- Ukraine 1-0 Wales, March 28, 2016
The two draws came in the World Cup qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup at a time when Ukraine was managed by one of football's most respected and influential managers Valeriy Lobanovskyi. Under Petrakov, Ukraine will look to usher in a new era of optimistic football in times of crisis.
8:35 pm: Wales at the brink of history!
If Wales manages to win, it will break the record for the longest gap between two World Cup appearances for a nation, with it returning to the tournament after 64 years. Currently, Egypt and Norway share the record at 56 years.
8:23 pm: Starting Lineups out!
Wales: Hennessey (GK), Ampadu, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Allen, Ramsey, Williams; Bale, James, Moore
Ukraine: Bushchan(GK); Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Stepanenko; Yarmolenko, Malinovskyi, Zinchenko, Tsygankov; Yaremchuk
Wales and Ukraine will fight out for the final spot at Qatar 2022 from Europe in the World Cup play-off final in Cardiff on Sunday.
Both the teams have qualified for one World Cup each, with Wales playing in the 1958 edition of the tournament and Ukraine featuring in Germany in 2006.
The winner of this match will join Group B in the 2022 FIFA World Cup alongside England, Iran and the United States of America.
Rob Page's side beat Austria in the World Cup qualifier in March and had to wait for over two months to find its opponent amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. When the other semifinal happened, Ukraine found a win despite crisis back home with a 3-1 scoreline at full-time against Scotland.
When and where to watch the FIFA World Cup playoff final?