Ukraine players share emotional moment with their fans after Wales defeat


Ukraine players share an emotional moment with their fans in Cardiff after World Cup hopes were ended by Wales, with striker Roman Yaremchuk unable to hold back the tears three months into Russian invasion

Ukraine striker Roman Yaremchuk was unable to hold back the tears as he thanked his country’s fans after their World Cup dream was brought to an end on Sunday in Wales.

Despite creating numerous chances, Ukraine did not manage to find a way past Wayne Hennessey, and they were made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge as Andriy Yarmolenko’s own goal handed Wales a place in Qatar.

Around 2,000 Ukraine fans travelled to Cardiff to take in the action, and they all rose to applaud their team at the final whistle.

Their appreciation was reciprocated by the players, who stood in the corner of the ground and clapped along with their supporters.

On an emotional evening in the Welsh capital, Yaremchuk was clearly distraught after representing his war-torn nation.

Back in late February, it appeared doubtful as to whether Ukraine would even get the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup after their country was invaded by Russia.

Roman Yaremchuk (R) was clearly distraught after Ukraine’s defeat against Wales

Andriy Yarmolenko's own goal proved to be the difference between the two teams

Andriy Yarmolenko’s own goal proved to be the difference between the two teams

The team applauded their fans after an incredibly difficult few months for Ukraine following the full-scale invasion of their country by Russia

The team applauded their fans after an incredibly difficult few months for Ukraine following the full-scale invasion of their country by Russia

Having made the play-offs, Ukraine’s semi-final against Scotland was postponed in March, and was rescheduled for June 1. 

A number of Ukraine’s squad did not play a competitive match for several months due to the full-scale invasion of their country, but they mustered up a huge effort to battle past Scotland 3-1 at Hampden Park on Wednesday.

This put them within one win of making the World Cup for just the second time in their history. 

Artem Dovbyk threw his shirt to the crowd as the squad showed their appreciation to the fans

Artem Dovbyk threw his shirt to the crowd as the squad showed their appreciation to the fans

Welsh players also showed their support to Ukraine, with Gareth Bale embracing Yarmolenko

Welsh players also showed their support to Ukraine, with Gareth Bale embracing Yarmolenko 

They were sent messages of support prior to the play-off final from soldiers on the front line back home.

With their whole country behind them, and nations around the world willing them on as well, Ukraine gave a fine account of themselves against Wales, but they fell just short in their quest to qualify for the World Cup, which gets underway in November. 

Before the game, Ukraine’s Atalanta defender Ruslan Malinovskyi told Sky Sports: ‘(On people back home) We think about them every day, and I’m so happy that we give a little bit of positive emotion for them in this, also for our country, and they have a little bit of happiness.

‘I hope they do the job in our country, and we do our job on the pitch. We try to do again, something special, we will try.

‘(On messages from back in Ukraine) A lot of messages. “Guys, keep going” and “we’re so proud of you”, and a lot of soldiers send messages. We know before the game against Scotland, it is not easy to play physical football.

 ‘It will be a lot of duels, but we don’t lose a lot, and they (soldiers) said “last step, you need to do this.”’

Russia invaded Ukraine more than 100 days ago and Ukraine’s players were desperate to give hope to their people by qualifying for the World Cup.  

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