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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Wales v Ukraine: World Cup 2022 qualifying playoff final – live! | World Cup 2022 qualifiers

6 mins: Davies pings a shot from 30 yards which is deflected behind. James swings in the corner from the left which Bushchan, who looked suspect against Scotland, punches clear.

4 mins: Zinchenko takes a quick free-kick which catches out Hennessey and ends up in the back of the net but the referee calls it back. Malinovskyi takes the free-kick legally by thundering his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

2 mins: Ukraine have started well, enjoying the majority of the ball. Their quality is undoubted but their stamina will come into question later in the game due to the fact a number of their team is lacking match practice.

Joe Allen goes into the book after catching Stepanenko. James is also cautioned by Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz for a moan.


Peep! Peep! Peep! Here we go!

The roof comes off for the Welsh anthem.

The Welsh fans are in fine voice.
The Welsh fans are in fine voice. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

The Ukrainian players belt out the anthem while swaddled in their nation’s flag.

Ukraine flags
Photograph: David Davies/PA

Here come the players …

“There’s been lots of talk of all neutrals rooting for Ukraine,” says Duncan Edwards. “I’m not Welsh but not only do I want Wales to qualify, I actually wanted them to beat Scotland in this game to reset the heartbreak of the 1978 qualification campaign. Would also like Dan James to prosper.”

Only 15 minutes until kick-off. The stadium is filling up in Cardiff, the rain is falling. Things are about to get serious.

The aforementioned flag in the Ukraine changing room.

A Ukrainian flag with personal messages from soldiers at the heart of the battle is hanging up in Ukraine’s dressing room 🇺🇦❤️ pic.twitter.com/hoSVu2usg2

— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) June 5, 2022

Do it for Bubbins!

“Sitting here in Victoria, BC, I am truly torn,” admits Bob Zoellner. “No ties to either, but would love to see Ukraine in the World Cup, but also want to see Bale and Ramsey there, too. Hope for a clean, non-controversial match!”

David Brooks on his health: “I feel alright, day-to-day-wise it’s getting back to normality. It’s quite a surreal feeling to get the all clear. To think six to eight weeks ago I was still on treatment schedules shows how quickly it can turnaround.”

And also fantastic to see David Brooks speaking on Sky. He could help inspire a Wales win.

Sky have the great Cliff Jones on discussing Wales’ 1958 World Cup qualification. A class act of a man.

Bale’s last big chance …

Matt Dony emails: “Best case scenario – Wales finally qualify for their second World Cup, which is a dream for so many of us. But it’s the most controversial World Cup in history. And everyone will hate us. Should that happen, the actual World Cup campaign will be amazing, whatever happens. Finally seeing these players on that stage will make my heart burst. But it will have a bittersweet element. Wales losing today would be a heartbreak. There’s no two ways about it. But if I had to pick any team to potentially lose to, it’d be these. Just hoping for a decent game, no controversy, no reliance on luck. Just the better team to win. Can’t argue with that, whichever way it goes.”

Starting lineups

Wales: Hennessey, Roberts, Rodon, B Davies, N Williams, Ampadu, Ramsey, Allen, James, Moore, Bale.

Subs: Ward, A Davies, Gunter, Mepham, Wilson, Johnson, Morrell, Norrington-Davies, J Williams, Harris, Thomas, Matondo

Ukraine: Bushchan, Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko, Malinovskyi, Stepanenko, Zinchenko, Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Tsygankov.

Subs: Sobol, Bondar, Syrota, Sydorchuk, Dovbyk, Pyatov, Mudryk, Pikhalyonok, Kacharaba, Zubkov, Riznyk

Pitch inspection.

Oleksandr Zinchenko talks a walk.
Oleksandr Zinchenko talks a walk. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Obviously, we also have a piece from Mr Wales himself Elis James. Wishing Elis all the best today with the match and his cancelled house move.

Wales will be inspired by this Dafydd Iwan.

Ben Fisher has the details …

There’s plenty of stuff to get you in the mood for this match starting with Ed Vulliamy …

Good afternoon

Here we are. The final European place at the World Cup later this year will be decided in Cardiff today.

Wales host Ukraine in one of the most emotionally charged games in history. The visitors arrive with the support of the world following Russia’s invasion. A national flag sent from the frontline will adorn the changing rooms at the Cardiff City Stadium an indication of how football and war are intertwined in this qualification campaign. Qualifying for the Qatar 2022 will mean the world to Ukraine.

For Wales this is a final chance for Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey to qualify for the World Cup and they will be desperate to achieve it in front of their home fans. Undoubtedly, the atmosphere in the Welsh capital will be a raucous one as, for 90 minutes, the host cannot afford to show sentimentality. There is plenty at stake for Wales, too, that’s for sure.

Ukraine made relatively light work of Scotland in the semi-final, so are coming into this joust in fine form. They have had a few days to recover emotionally from the victory in Glasgow and regain their equilibrium.

Whatever the outcome, it will be an incredible result for one nation. Let’s just hope it’s a cracker of a match to take someone to Qatar 2022.

Kick-off: 5pm

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