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Wales qualifies for final after 64 year wait

Wales has qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years after beating Ukraine in a play-off for this year’s finals in Qatar.

Wales beat Ukraine 1-0 in Cardiff after captain Gareth Bale’s free-kick was deflected into the visiting goal by Ukraine skipper Andriy Yarmolenko.

Wales will play in Group B with England and Iran at November’s World Cup.

Wales’ first minister joined Michael Sheen, Gabby Logan and Welsh fans from around the world praising the team.

“It’s amazing what we can achieve when the whole country comes together,” said Mark Drakeford.

“Commiserations to Ukraine – despite our differences on the field, Wales stands with you.”

The Welsh men’s team have not played at football’s World Cup finals since 1958 – the longest drought of any team in Europe.

Only Cuba and Indonesia – who played at the 1938 finals in France – have gone longer than Wales without qualifying for another World Cup final.

Ukraine had a goal disallowed in the first-half at the Cardiff City Stadium when Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko was ruled to have taken his free-kick too quickly.

But Wales held on in front of a sell-out crowd after a game where both sides missed chances.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker congratulated the Wales team after Sunday’s victory, tweeting: “It’s a shame it had to be at the expense of Ukraine, but it’s a wonderful achievement. Well played.”

Ukraine fans had praised the home supporters for their welcome in Cardiff while the Welsh FA had invited the UK’s Ukrainian ambassador to the game in support to the people of Ukraine in the war with Russia.

As well as holding banners in solidarity to Ukraine before kick-off, fans enjoyed a rousing rendition of Welsh football anthem Yma o Hyd from folk singer Dafydd Iwan.

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