Ukraine’s World Cup Quest Ends With 1-0 Loss to Wales (VIDEO)

From Associated Press
June 6, 2022

Rivalries were put aside in the Welsh capital as a message of peace in English and Ukrainian was shown on screens at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Ukraine’s players cried in the rain and applauded their dejected fans after failing to qualify for the World Cup by losing 1-0 to Wales in Europe’s final play-offs for the FIFA football showpiece on Sunday.

The nagging moment in a tight game came in the 34th minute when Andriy Yarmolenko accidentally headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear Wales captain Gareth Bale’s free-kick.

As Wales head towards a first World Cup in 64 years – opening against the United States in November – Ukraine’s emotionally charged mission saw this as a game too far away to qualify for Qatar while remaining occupied by Russia became.

Mike Egerton/PA via AP

“We did everything we could,” said coach Oleksandr Petrakov through a translator, “but I really want the people of Ukraine to remember the efforts of our team.”

Petrakov’s priority, with the World Cup dream snuffed out, was to ensure the suffering at home is not forgotten by the world.

“War is raging across the country,” said Petrakov. “We have children and women dying every day. Our infrastructure is being ruined by Russian barbarians. The Russians want to harm us, but the Ukrainians resist and defend their country. We just want your support. We just want you to understand what is happening at home.”

At home, on the 102nd day of the war, Ukrainians took respite from the pain and suffering by watching the Cardiff game in bars including Kyiv.

The war and rocket attacks in the Ukraine capital earlier Sunday apparently dampened any party spirit for the game.

Still, architect Dmytro Leshehenko dug out his bright yellow national team jersey – bought in happier times when Ukraine co-hosted the 2012 European Championships – and marched with his flip-flop-clad brother past two of Kiev’s gold-domed cathedrals to a bar where he was staying They watched the game with friends and were washed down with two huge 3 liter mugs of beer, fried bread, smoked meat and other nibbles.

“People on the battlefields saw it on their phones,” Leshehenko said, recounting conversations with friends who served in the armed forces.

When the giant screens in the bar lost signal in the second half, patrons gathered around cell phones to watch the action. Some joked that Russian hackers must have turned off the transmission.

The sadness of the loss was tempered by the fact that, by and large, the war is much more important. The game was just a moment of relaxation.

“We have more problems than that,” Leshehenko said. “Today is a day when we can feel that there is no war. It’s a holiday for us.”

Ultimately, it was Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who proved an impenetrable barrier. No other team has had as many shots on goal as Ukraine without scoring a goal in EURO qualifiers.

Ten minutes into the second half, Hennessey’s right leg blocked Viktor Tsyhankov’s shot as Ukraine struggled to equalize. Artem Dovbyk’s 84th-minute header seemed destined for the corner of the net until it was pushed away by Hennessey’s left hand.

“He made some incredible saves,” said Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko. “We didn’t deserve to lose today, it was so close. We have to keep going, work a lot.”

Additional coverage from The Associated Press. Ukraine’s World Cup Quest Ends With 1-0 Loss to Wales (VIDEO)

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