Men's Team

Zinchenko and Ukraine miss out on place at 2022 World Cup finals

Oleks Zinchenko’s hopes of helping Ukraine reach the World Cup finals ended in heartbreak as Wales emerged 1-0 winners in Sunday’s Qatar 2022 European play-off final.

A 34th minute Andriy Yarmolenko own goal via Gareth Bale’s free-kick ultimately proved decisive in a game played out amidst a raucous and emotional atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium.

For Wales, it was a momentous moment as they ended a 64-year wait to appear on international football’s biggest stage.

For City star Zinchenko and his Ukrainian team-mates however, defeat marked the end to their hopes of reaching this winter’s showpiece.

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Oleksandr Petrakov's side dominated both territory and possession with Zinchenko also seeing an early effort disallowed for offside.

Ukraine also found Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey in inspired form with the Burnley star producing a series of incredible saves, especially in the second half.

Ultimately though the match was settled by that Yarmolenko own goal and it means Wales will take their place at Qatar 2022 in Group B where they will be pitted against England, Iran and the United States.

The former West Ham striker could only divert a 34th-minute Bale free-kick into his own goal to ensure that it was Rob Page’s side who booked their plane ticket to Qatar.

Elsewhere, City youngster Shea Charles made his full international debut as Northern Ireland secured a goalless draw in their latest Nations League clash away to Cyprus.

The holding midfielder, who shone for our Elite Development Squad in their Premier League 2 title-winning campaign, had made his international bow as a substitute in Northern Ireland’s 1-0 Nations League loss to Greece last Thursday.

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But afforded a first start at international level, the 18-year-old produced an assured display in Larnaca before being replaced just past the hour.

It was a first point for Ian Baraclough’s side in Group C2 with Northern Ireland back in action on Thursday when they travel to take on Kosovo.

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