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Wales defeats Ukraine to join USMNT’s World Cup group

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The U.S. men’s national team now knows its first test at the 2022 World Cup, and it will be a team that has waited even longer to return the World Cup than the Americans.

Wales defeated Ukraine, 1-0 in a UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff to join the USMNT in World Cup Group B. An own goal from Ukraine captain Andriy Yarmolenko was all Rob Page’s side needed to punch its first World Cup berth in 64 years.

Gareth Bale’s dangerous free kick in the 34th minute was deflected into the Ukraine net after Yarmolenko tried to clear his defensive lines. However, the West Ham United forward watched in disbelief as his clearance snuck past George Buschan and propelled the hosts in front.

Veteran goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was Man of the Match for Wales, totaling nine saves in the victory at Cardiff City Stadium. Ukraine’s run in the qualification playoffs came to a sad ending after Oleksandr Petrakov’s side defeated Scotland on Thursday before falling to Wales today.

Wales now joins the USMNT, England, and Iran in Group B. Gregg Berhalter’s side will face Wales on November 21st in the final match of the opening day’s schedule at the competition.

The USMNT last faced Wales in November 2020, playing out a scoreless draw in Swansea.

Comments

  1. All it takes is one Bale free-kick to beat you. All three goals in the playoff round came from Bale set-pieces. They were widely out-played by both Austria and Ukraine otherwise. Beyond that, the Welsh offer a lot of grit and hustle and some promising youthful talent, but it’s not exactly the makeup of a team ready to replicate their Euro 2016 run.

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  2. I think we beat Wales like they stole something. I was shocked at how ordinary Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey looked – wow, Ramsey has dropped off from his Arsenal days – and most of the team looked worse than that. I actually liked a couple of the youngsters who came in as subs a lot more than the starters.

    They’re going to try to park the bus because their staff will know if they try to come out and play we’ll run past them like they’re traffic cones, and we struggle to break down low blocks, but if the Grape Juice Gang gets a goal down and have to come out the game could get away from them. They are not an athletic or skilled team.

    Ukraine was a noticeably better squad. They were just mostly unlucky.

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  3. Good and bad. Ukraine probably more dangerous, but I don’t like England playing Wales in the last group game. If England is already through at that point, they might take their foot of the gas vs. Wales, especially since Wales will possibly be viewed more sympathetically by the players (fellow Brits). The Wales game may be a must win.

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    • “If England is already through at that point, they might take their foot of the gas vs. Wales, especially since Wales will possibly be viewed more sympathetically by the players (fellow Brits). ”

      Not very likely. You don’t slack off in the World Cup. If you’re winning, you want to keep it going. The players on the England side are happy to beat the players on the Welsh side when their clubs are competing. Why should they be sympathetic and generous when it’s their national teams playing?

      The Wales game is a must win for the USMNT anyway.

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      • Also, Iran’s federation is apparently blowing their World Cup prep and is failing to schedule fixtures that could help them. Losing that Canada game hurts them bigly and their players, fans, and even coaches seem to be getting really alarmed by it. I’ve also seen repeated criticisms of this squad that they really have not shown a ton of identity during qualifying, which is not a hallmark of the team last fixture.

        I wasn’t even slightly impressed with Wales, and if Iran’s prep isn’t going well, that’s a huge open window for us to advance.

        https://www.si.com/soccer/2022/05/05/iran-world-cup-preparations-usmnt-qatar

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