Wales vs Ukraine news: All eyes on Cardiff as England wait to learn World Cup opponents

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Wales and Ukraine meet in a high-stakes clash in Cardiff this week as they battle it out for a spot at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Both nations have their own reasons to put everything into the game, which could make for an end-of-season classic. Ukraine are going through a lot at home due to the invasion by Russia, and their players will be keen to provide as much joyous distraction as possible for their beleaguered nation. While obviously sympathetic, quite how charitable Wales will be is another matter entirely. They have not qualified for a World Cup since 1958 and recent good performances at the 2016 and 2020 European Championships have definitely whetted the appetite. Whichever team comes out on top in Cardiff will join England, USA and Iran in Group B in Qatar.

When: Sunday June 5, 5PM GMT

Where: Cardiff City Stadium

Where to watch: Sky Sports

Follow the game in our live centre

Who is the referee for Wales vs Ukraine

Spaniard Antonio Mateu Lahoz will take charge of this crucial clash and he will be a new name for Welsh supporters.

He has previous history with Ukraine though, having officiated their 2-0 away win in Bosnia-Herzegovina last November.

Lahoz certainly seems to be a cool head. He has not brandished a single international red card in his career, although he did send off Alexis Sanchez for Inter against Liverpool in the Champions league in March.

Recent form

Wales lost their most recent outing, a Nations League match in Poland last week, although it was very much a second string team so it's tough to read too much into it.

That was their only defeat in 2021/22, with the side winning four and drawing five of the other nine.

Obviously Ukraine have not been especially active in 2022, with their 3-1 win in Scotland to in the World Cup play-off their only competitive outing of the year so far.

Wales vs Ukraine players to watch

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale with his winner medal after the UEFA Champions League Final
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale with his winner medal after the UEFA Champions League Final

There are no secrets when it comes to Wales. Gareth Bale is their main man and leading his country to the World Cup finals is about all he has left to achieve with Wales. For Ukraine, Manchester City man Oleksandr Zinchenko was absolutely brilliant against Scotland and played a part in the Citizen's title success. He has said he would be in Ukraine fighting if it was not for his daughter in Manchester, which makes what his achieving right now all the more remarkable.

Previous meeting

Ukraine 1-0 Wales (March 28, 2016)

The only recent meeting between these two sides came six years ago in an International friendly. Wales travelled to Kyiv just as things were starting to build nicely under Chris Coleman, but they were beaten on the day. West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko grabbed the only goal midway through the first half.

Wales vs Ukraine head-to-head

Wales wins: 0 Draws: 2 Lost: 1

Managers thoughts

Wales manager Robert Page was clear about what this game was from their perspective. "This is the biggest game in Welsh history since 1958," he said. "There's no hiding behind that and we're all excited by that." Ukraine boss Oleksandr Petrakov, meanwhile, said the win over Scotland was for the "men fighting in the trenches" back home. Zinchenko, though, was keen to look ahead to Cardiff: "Everyone knows the situation right now in Ukraine and every single game for us is like a final. "We have a dream as a team to be at the World Cup and we have one more game - one more final - and we need to win it."

Wales vs Ukraine predicted teams

Possible Wales starting line-up: Hennessey; Rodon, Ampadu, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Allen, Williams; Wilson, Bale, James Possible Ukraine starting line-up: Bushchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Malinovskyi, Stepanenko, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Tsygankov

Wales vs Ukraine prediction

Ukraine were exceptional against Scotland, but with respect to the Scots they don't have anything like the attacking quality that Wales do. We'll go for a 2-0 Wales win.

The article Wales vs Ukraine news: All eyes on Cardiff as England wait to learn World Cup opponents appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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