UEFA WCQ Playoff: Wales vs Ukraine Game Preview, The World is Watching

Winner Qualifies for The World Cup, Can Ukraine Shock the World?

Ukraine One Win Away from Improbable World Cup Berth

Ukraine’s improbable run to Qatar 2022 continues as they head to Wales on Sunday with a World Cup berth on the line. In what’s nearly guaranteed to be Gareth Bale’s last attempt, Wales is attempting to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958. With tensions high, Ukraine is more likely to qualify for the World Cup, at -125 odds; however, at +170 odds, Wales are slight 90-minute favorites over +180 Ukraine. We’ll cover all the important factors affecting Sunday’s match in this Wales vs Ukraine game preview.

Wales vs Ukraine Game Info:

  • Location: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, U.K.
  • Date & Time: Sunday, June 5th, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

Head-to-Head

All Meetings:

  • Mar 2001: Wales 1-1 Ukraine
  • June 2001: Ukraine 1-1 Wales
  • Mar 2016:  Ukraine 1-0 Wales

Ukraine and Wales have met three times in their history with the most recent meeting in 2016. Andriy Yarmolenko, who scored the opener vs Scotland on Wednesday, also scored the game’s only goal vs Wales in Kiev. The Blue and Yellow drew their only previous match in Wales, in 2001.

Wales vs Ukraine game previews tend to find little separating these two sides and the odds show it. This match is listed as a pick’em with Wales very slightly more likely to win in normal time.

Wales Close to Making History

  • Last Match: 2-1 L vs Poland

Wales played in what was essentially a warm-up match on Wednesday vs Poland in the UEFA Nations League. Caretaker manager Rob Page played what amounted to a B-team and they kept things competitive in a 2-1 loss. Jonny Williams scored a long-range strike to put the Dragons ahead but Poland staged a late comeback.

Back in March, Gareth Bale scored a double in a 2-1 Playoff semifinal win vs Austria to bring Wales one win away from their first World Cup in 64 years. Bale played very sparingly this year with Real Madrid but has shown he’s still an elite player during his time with Wales.

This is an experienced Welsh team that has also integrated some promising talents in the last few years. With Bale, Kieffer Moore, and Daniel James up front, Wales is capable of putting a few past Ukraine. World Cup betting odds for Wales to qualify… currently stands at -105.

Ukraine Defying the Circumstances

  • Last Match: 3-1 W vs Scotland

With little preparation and their families stuck in a war-torn nation, the Ukraine players rose to the occasion vs Scotland on Wednesday. Ukraine was dominant from the first whistle to the last and picked up a massive 3-1 win with goals from Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk, and Artem Dovbyk. Our Wales vs Ukraine game preview would be incomplete without mentioning that it was Ukraine’s first competitive match in over six months.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ruslan Malinovskyi dominated the midfield battle vs Scotland and will look to get the better of Wales here. Since losing 4-0 in the quarterfinals to England in last year’s Euro, Ukraine has scored in each of their eight matches.

They are priced at -240 to score a goal in this one and with productive players like Yarmolenko, that’s no surprise. The West Ham man flashed his skill vs Scotland with incredible first touch and chip over Scotland keeper Craig Gordon for Ukraine’s first goal.

What to Watch For

This is a massive match for both sets of fans and a highly emotional one for Ukraine fans. Ukraine’s performance vs Scotland was completely unexpected given the circumstances and they’d do their country proud by qualifying for their first World Cup since 2006.

Qatar World Cup betting tips may suggest that whoever qualifies has a decent shot at advancing in a group with the USA, Iran, and England, but they need to get there first.

Gareth Bale has never played in a World Cup and that’s a shame for soccer fans who have never been able to see the Welsh legend vs the world’s best. It’s rumored that he may even retire if Wales does not qualify here, so there’s certainly a lot riding on this match. Bale has often risen to the occasion for both club and country, so a signature performance isn’t remotely out of the question.

A draw isn’t implied as much more unlikely than either side winning, at +205. It is certainly unusual to see Wales at a better 90-minute price but Ukraine at shorter odds to qualify. Bettors are expecting goals as over 2 sits at -135 odds.

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