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Watch: How did Wales get to Qatar? The Dragons’ route to their first World Cup finals in 64 years

08 Nov 2022 4 minute read
Wales’ Gareth Bale celebrating after the game. Picture by David Davies / PA Wire

Wales reached their second World Cup – and first for 64 years – by finishing second in a qualifying group behind Belgium.

Robert Page’s side won four, drew three and lost one of their eight qualifiers to reach the play-offs, before beating Austria and Ukraine at home to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Here is every step of Wales’ qualification journey:

Belgium 3 Wales 1 (March 24, 2001)

Wales’ campaign got off to the worst possible start in Leuven after Harry Wilson put them ahead with a fantastic team goal. Kevin De Bruyne, Thorgan Hazard and Romelu Lukaku cut the visitors’ celebrations short.

Wales 1 Czech Republic 0 (March 30, 2001)

Daniel James’ late header gave Wales victory in a fiery Cardiff qualifier played behind closed doors due to Covid-19. Both sides were reduced to 10 men with Wales defender Connor Roberts and Czech striker Patrik Schick sent off.

Belarus 2 Wales 3 (September 5, 2021)

Gareth Bale’s second international hat-trick spared Wales embarrassment in a tie played on neutral Russian soil in Kazan. Bale scored two penalties and a stoppage-time winner as Wales fought back from 2-1 down.

Wales 0 Estonia 0 (September 8, 2021)

Wales were frustrated as Cardiff City Stadium hosted an international match without crowd restrictions for the first time since 2019. Bale hit a post as stubborn Estonia, ranked 110th in the world, clung on for a point.

Czech Republic 2 Wales 2 (October 8, 2021)

Stand-in skipper Aaron Ramsey put Wales ahead early in a Prague thriller. Wales fell 2-1 behind after goalkeeper Danny Ward’s own goal howler but James equalised with an assured 69th-minute finish.

Estonia 0 Wales 1 (October 11, 2021)

Wales’ victory was as scruffy as Kieffer Moore’s early winner, prodded home from a yard following a goalmouth scramble. Ward made good saves late on to atone for his Prague gaffe.

Wales 5 Belarus 1 (November 13, 2021)

Bale won his 100th cap after two months out injured, but left the action at half-time. Wales led 2-0 by then and goals from Ramsey (2), Neco Williams, Ben Davies and Roberts secured a thumping win.

Wales 1 Belgium 1 (November 16, 2021)

Tenacious Wales secured a home World Cup play-off semi-final by holding the number one team on the FIFA rankings list. De Bruyne’s superb 12th-minute strike was cancelled out by Moore before half-time.

Wales 2 Austria 1 (March 24, 2022)

Bale scored two brilliant goals to take Wales through to a play-off final, striking a majestic first-half free-kick before shooting superbly on the turn after the break. Marcel Sabitzer scrambled Welsh nerves with a deflected effort.

Wales 1 Ukraine 0 (June 5, 2022)

The play-off final had been delayed for over two months because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On a night of high emotion, Bale’s deflected free-kick and Wayne Hennessey’s goalkeeping heroics took Wales through to their first World Cup since 1958.

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