August 13, 2022

Gareth Bale says reaching the World Cup with Wales is the “last piece of the puzzle” after they edged out Ukraine to reach the competition’s final for the first time since 1958.

Wales manager Robert Page, who has reserved praise for the “world-class” performance of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, said he was looking forward to a tantalizing Group B match against England. England in Qatar and a victory dedicated to the late Gary. The rapidity. Page said the jubilant scenes in the locker room after the game were incredible and praised his team’s spirit.

“Gary Speed ​​started 12 or 13 years ago,” Page said. “I also want to dedicate this to Gary. He launched the culture. There was a difference, there was a change in the environment. I inherited that. Chris Coleman took it to another level. We’re just confident for the games now. We don’t expect to qualify for the Euros or a World Cup now, we believe we can do that, so there’s been a huge shift in mentality.

Of Hennessey, Page said: “I thought he was gorgeous, world class, absolutely. I fired Wardy [Danny Ward] and showed him that respect to tell him that I was starting Wayne. It was purely because he played in the semi-finals, he didn’t let us down and it would have been hard to let him down. There was no question of me leaving it aside. He delivered as we know he can. I thought he had moved on to another level. I thought his performance was exceptional.

Page joked that the younger players in his squad had been “spoiled rotten” compared to experienced members such as Bale and Aaron Ramsey after qualifying for successive majors. “I said a few words, how proud I was for them,” Page said. “I said that the young players were spoiled rotten by qualifying for a Euro and a World Cup consecutively. The seniors had to wait a long time for this. It shows the path we are on.

After Ukraine’s defeat, Oleksandr Zinchenko called for an end to the war. Photography: James Gill/Danehouse/Getty Images

Ramsey said it was unbelievable that “little old Wales” is playing at a World Cup. Bale, whose first-half free kick was deflected by Ukraine keeper Georgiy Bushchan by Ukraine captain Andriy Yarmolenko, took the win. “That’s what we’ve worked for our entire career and to do this for the fans, the nation, ourselves and our families is an incredible achievement, and it’s going to be something we’ll always be proud of,” he said. he declares. ” That says everything. It’s the last piece of the puzzle we all wanted and we’re going to celebrate tonight.

Oleksandr Zinchenko said he and his teammates must continue to fight on behalf of their country. Ukraine displayed a flag given to them by soldiers defending Russia’s attacks in their locker room. “Everyone has to keep fighting, as footballers we have to represent our country as best we can,” the Manchester City midfielder said. “Everyone must live in peace and we must stop the war completely. Today it’s Ukraine, but who knows tomorrow we have to stay together. I’m sorry for our fans, but I wish Wales all the best for the World Cup.

Disheartened Ukraine head coach Oleksandr Petrakov chose his words carefully and was applauded before leaving the press conference room. When asked what his message would be to ensure Ukraine is not forgotten, he replied: “We have war raging all over the country, we have children and women dying daily and our infrastructure [is] to be ruined by Russian barbarians. The Russians want to hurt us and the Ukrainians are resisting and defending their land. We just want your support. We just want you to understand what’s going on at home.

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Petrakov said he couldn’t criticize any of his players and hopes the Ukrainians will remember his team’s efforts, which will be completely different for their Nations League game against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday. “I think we did everything we could, but I really want Ukrainians to remember our team, our efforts,” he said. “I mean sorry we didn’t score but that’s sport and that’s how it goes. I don’t know what to say.”