Ukrainian Soccer Team Falls Short Of World Cup Qualification After Loss To Wales

Topline

The Ukrainian national men’s soccer team’s ambitions to compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup were dashed Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Wales, preventing what might have been a high-profile symbolic triumph for the embattled nation.

Key Facts

Wales’ victory at Cardiff City Stadium qualified the team to compete in the World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

An own-goal kick delivered by Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko gave Wales a one-point lead that Ukraine was unable to overcome.

Wales’ victory was also bolstered by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who made nine saves during the game, Sports Illustrated reported.

Ukraine’s decisive loss came four days after its 3-1 victory over Scotland at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, which put Ukraine just one win away from qualifying for the World Cup.

The World Cup is set to run from November 21 to December 18 in Qatar.

What To Watch For

The Ukrainian national team’s next match, against Ireland in the UEFA Nations League competition, is set for Wednesday.

Surprising Fact

Ukraine has only qualified for the World Cup once, in 2006.

Key Background

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Ukraine’s national team went on hiatus and the country’s domestic soccer season was canceled, sparking doubt that Ukraine would compete for a spot at the World Cup. However, Ukraine returned to the field June 1, defeating Scotland in a match that had been delayed more than two months. Popular Ukrainian soccer clubs FC Dynamo Kyiv and VC Shakhtar Donetsk participated with the national team in games during a non-competitive “Global Tour for Peace” in May. Ukrainian soldiers’ enthusiasm for soccer reportedly remains high, despite heavy shelling by the Russian military: Ukrainian midfielder Taras Stepanenko told The Guardian Saturday he receives daily messages from soldiers who wanted him to “do everything [he] can go to the World Cup. ”

Further Reading

“Ukrainian National Soccer Team On Verge Of World Cup Qualification After Historic Win” (Forbes)

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