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Ukraine misses the World Cup after losing 1-0 to Wales


CARDIFF, Wales — Ukraine missed out on qualifying for the World Cup on Sunday after the war-disrupted side were beaten 1-0 by Wales in the European qualifier final for the showpiece FIFA football.

Andriy Yarmolenko inadvertently headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear Welsh captain Gareth Bale’s free kick in the first half.

As Wales head to a first World Cup in 64 years – opening against the United States in November – it was an agonizing end to Ukraine’s emotionally charged mission to qualify for Qatar while remaining under the invasion of Russia.

Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey’s right leg fended off Viktor Tsyhankov’s shot after 10 minutes as Ukraine struggled to equalize. Artem Dovbyk’s 84th-minute header looked destined for the corner of the net until it was cleared away by Hennessey’s left hand.

Back home on the 102nd day of the war, Ukrainians took a break from pain and suffering as they watched the Cardiff game in bars, including in the capital Kyiv which had been hit by Russian airstrikes Earlier in the day.

The specter of war was evident in the Welsh capital with a message of peace in English and Ukrainian on screens at Cardiff City Stadium. Rivalries were put aside when the Ukrainian national anthem was played and it was applauded by local fans.

Of the 1,800 places allocated to Ukraine, 100 free tickets have been given to refugees who have been forced to flee Ukraine since the invasion began in February, leading to Russia’s disqualification from qualifying for world Cup.

The Russian Football Union protested on Sunday against Wales wearing the shirt because Ukraine featured Crimea – which Russia annexed in 2014 – as part of its card.

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