Wales vs Ukraine predictions: Dragons face World Cup heartbreak

James Mason
LiveScore
Gareth Bale will hope to fire Rob Page's Wales to the World Cup against Ukraine after bagging a brace against Austria
Gareth Bale will hope to fire Rob Page's Wales to the World Cup against Ukraine after bagging a brace against Austria

There is the small matter of a place at the 2022 World Cup at stake this evening when Wales take on Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Rob Page's men overcame Austria 2-1 in the play-off semi-finals to move to within one victory of reaching the tournament in Qatar later this year. 

The Blue and Yellow downed Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday to reach the play-off final — and they may just have the edge again in this 5pm BST kick-off. 

It was 2006 when Ukraine, as an independent nation, last reached the World Cup, when they enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals.

The Dragons, meanwhile, are aiming to reach the main draw of the World Cup for the first time since 1958 — when they also made it to the last eight. 

Ukraine to break Welsh hearts

Wales continue to punch above their weight and they were impressive against Austria, with two-goal hero Gareth Bale the star once again. 

Gareth Bale scored two goals against Austria but has not played since April 9
Gareth Bale scored two goals against Austria but has not played since April 9

But the Real Madrid ace last played a competitive match on April 9 — coming on as a 74th-minute substitute — and there are doubts over his match sharpness.

The Dragons are unbeaten in their last 18 home games, which should instil confidence throughout the side, but Ukraine overcame the Hampden Park roar to defeat Scotland.

Barring a little wobble in the second half, Oleksandr Petrakov's side were by far the better side against the Scots and the 3-1 victory extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches. 

Ukraine have not tasted defeat since being thrashed 4-0 by England at Euro 2020.

And they have demonstrated how hard they are to beat throughout World Cup qualifying, winning two and drawing six of their eight games in Group D to finish second behind France. 

That may suggest the Blue and Yellow struggle when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net but they have scored 13 goals in their last eight, with five of these coming in the last two contests. 

Ukraine are a well-drilled, organised outfit and it would be no surprise to see them get the job done in 90 minutes once again. 

Yaremchuk a handful

Ukraine have no injury issues to worry about and that means the same starting XI that defeated Scotland is likely to take the field in Cardiff. 

One player who impressed was striker Roman Yaremchuk. He was a constant aerial threat and scored a brilliant header to put his side 2-0 ahead at Hampden Park. 

The 26-year-old ace has 13 goals from 37 international caps and will be relishing the chance to go up against a Welsh defence that has kept just one clean sheet in their last six outings. 

Feisty affair on the cards

With so much at stake, it would be no surprise at all to see some tackles flying in and this could bring the cards market into play, with over 4.5 not out of the realms of possibility. 

There were no less than five yellows shown in Ukraine's victory over Scotland — a three-two split — while there were four cautions handed out in Wales' victory against Austria.

Tags

WalesUkraineWorld CupGareth Bale
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