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Ukraine fails to qualify for 2022 World Cup after Wales match

Neco Williams (R) of Wales in action against Oleksandr Karavaev (L) of Ukraine during the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification playoff final soccer match between Wales and Ukraine in Cardiff, Wales, on Sunday. Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE
Neco Williams (R) of Wales in action against Oleksandr Karavaev (L) of Ukraine during the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification playoff final soccer match between Wales and Ukraine in Cardiff, Wales, on Sunday. Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE

June 5 (UPI) -- Ukraine failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after its final match on Sunday against Wales, who will go on to compete in the tournament after its historic victory.

Wales defeated Ukraine 1-0 after an own goal was credited to Ukraine's Andriy Yarmolenko, who unsuccessfully tried to clear the ball during a free kick by Welsh player Gareth Bale in the first half.

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The match, held at the Cardiff City Stadium in Wales, was critical for Ukraine's national team -- which was unable to hold practice together for months after Russia invaded the country and hasn't qualified for the World Cup since 2006, the only time it has done so.

Wales has only ever qualified for the World Cup in 1958 and reached the quarterfinals during that tournament. Wales will now play against England on Nov. 29.

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Ukraine fought hard through the match to make it to Qatar and sports analysts determined that the team played better despite Wales getting the game-winning goal.

The Ukrainian team maintained possession through 67% of the match and making 13 attempts at a goal - nine of which were on target. Wales made just seven attempts at a goal with only three on target.

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However, Ukraine was never able to score after incredible saves for Wales throughout the match by goalie Wayne Hennessey and central defender Ben Davies.

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Ukraine played its first official match since November on Wednesday, beating Scotland 3-1 at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Dan Sabbagh, a defense reporter for The Guardian, tweeted that he was watching the match from a bar in Kyiv where he described the experience as "somewhat more subdued" than normal.

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