Wales and Ukraine go head to head for a spot in the World Cup

(Football news) There is only one European spot left in the World Cup. Ukraine and Wales will fight for that one spot in the Playoffs final. The winner of the match will be pitted in a World Cup group with England, Iran and USA. The match will be played at the Cardiff City stadium where the atmosphere is expected to be electric as always. Ukraine fans made their presence felt in their last match against Scotland and Sunday will be no different.

Ukraine finished 2nd in their group behind France. After defeating Scotland a few days ago, they have earned their place in this final. Wales on the other hand edged Czech Republic to finish behind Belgium in their group. A Gareth Bale masterclass led them to victory over Austria and now they are just one step away from reaching their first ever World Cup. On paper the two teams are pretty evenly matched but there is one player who could be the difference between the two sides and that is Gareth Bale. Even though Bale hasn't had enough game time at club level with Real Madrid, he has shown in the past that he can deal with it.

Apart from Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies will also be very important for Wales. As for Ukraine, captain Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko are absolutely crucial for them. Dan James' pace is going to be very difficult for Wales to handle. The battle between Davies and Yarmolenko will be one to look out for in the game. The good thing for Wales is that they rested their players in the Nations League clash against Poland while all of Ukraine's first choice players had to play against Scotland.

Wales possible starting XI:

Hennessey; Rodon, Ampadu, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Allen, Williams; Wilson, Bale, James

Ukraine possible starting XI:

Bushchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Malinovskyi, Stepanenko, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Tsygankov

In these sorts of games temperament often proves to be more important than quality. It will be important for the teams to be patient and not rush into anything. Some reports since the past year have stated that Gareth Bale will retire from professional football if Wales don't qualify for the World Cup which gives the Welsh players something more to play for. As for Ukraine, football is the one thing that has the ability to give joy to their people in these testing times and a qualification for the World Cup will be an incredible achievement.

Also read: Italy host Germany to try and bounce back from Finalissima defeat


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