World Cup qualification 'greatest result' in Welsh football history, says Gareth Bale -

World Cup qualification ‘greatest result’ in Welsh football history, says Gareth Bale

Wales players celebrate after qualifying for the World Cup
Wales players celebrate after qualifying for the World Cup

Wales’ thrilling World Cup play-off final win over Ukraine on Sunday is the national team’s “greatest” result, says Gareth Bale.

The talismanic forward made the difference when his 34th-minute free-kick was headed into his own net by Ukraine captain Andriy Yarmolenko.

The result ended Wales’ 64-year wait for a World Cup finals appearance.

“It’s the greatest result in history for Welsh football,” Bale told Sky Sports.

“It means everything. It’s what dreams are made of. I’m speechless because I’m so happy.

“Words can’t describe how we feel at the moment.”

Wales will now head to Qatar in November, where they will face England, USA and Iran in Group B at the World Cup.

“It’s difficult to put it into words,” added Bale on BBC Radio Wales.

“It’s what we’ve been working all our careers for and to do this for the fans, the nation, ourselves and our families is an incredible achievement – and it will be something that we will be forever proud of.

“It means everything. It is the last piece of the jigsaw that we all wanted and we’re going to celebrate well tonight.”

Keeper Wayne Hennessey made a string of fine saves and Wales manager Rob Page said on Sky Sports: “I’m so proud of the guys, they thoroughly deserved it.

“The one thing these boys were missing was a World Cup and now we’ve got there.

“These are the best supporters in world football, they helped us from the first minute.

“When you see what these guys do in training, I had full trust in them.”

Wales’ World Cup pool fixtures:

  • USA v Wales, 21 Nov
  • Wales v Iran, 25 Nov
  • Wales v England, 29 Nov

The other side of the coin was the end of Ukraine’s fairytale, bidding to reach just the second World Cup finals in their history.

Their run had included beating Scotland at Hampden in the semi-final, giving much-needed cheer to a nation torn apart by war since Russia’s invasion a little more than 100 days ago.

Spanish referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz consoles Ukraine's Oleksandr Zinchenko after Wales' victory
Spanish referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz consoles Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zinchenko after Wales’ victory

Ukraine’s Manchester City player Oleksandr Zinchenko told Sky Sports: “Every one of us gave everything today, we left everything on the pitch.

“The goalkeeper for Wales [Wayne Hennessey] did amazing, he is definitely man of the match.

“In general I don’t think we deserved to lose, but that’s football, it happens.

“Football is about emotions. We can bring some great emotions to our fans, but unfortunately today we didn’t get the result we wanted.

“Everyone needs to continue to fight, as footballers we need to represent our country as best we can.

“Everyone needs to live in peace and we need to stop the war altogether. Today it’s Ukraine, but who knows tomorrow, we need to stay together.

“I feel sorry for our fans, but I wish Wales all the best for the World Cup.”

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