Sweden snatch qualification in World Cup play-off final, Bale carries Wales
A magnificent one-two dynamited a cold and balanced part. Served at the entrance to the area, Robin Quaison found Alexander Isak. Immediate surrender of the striker for his friend and finishing with the flat foot: here is Sweden in front in the 110th minute of play (1-0). The extension was imposed when neither of the two protagonists had animated the meeting.
The Czech Republic notably carried the danger via set pieces. At the start of the match, the goal scored at close range by Jan Kuchta was disallowed. Dejan Kulusevski responded to the Czechs on the half hour mark but the striker crossed his shot too much.
The 56,000 spectators of the Friends Arena in Solna were able to vibrate on a header from Mattias Svanberg from 5.50 meters. An opportunity to which the Czechs reacted with a strike from Kuchta a minute later (80th). In overtime, Quaison almost capsized the hearts of the Swedes earlier. Very close to the Czech cages, he preferred to put away his head, without finding a teammate. A quarter of an hour later, he no longer had anyone to slip the leather. So he adjusted Tomas Vaclik, sending an entire country to the play-off final against Poland on Tuesday, March 29.
Gareth Bale transcended himself to lead Wales to the play-off final. The Madrilenian scored his 37th and 38th goals in selection to defeat Austria (2-1). He started by slotting a free kick into the top corner of Heinz Lindner in the 25th minute. Returning from the locker room, after two Austrian alerts and a combination on a corner, Bale inherited the leather and catapulted it from the left into the opposite skylight (2-0, 51st).
Gareth Bale was the architect of Wales’ victory against Austria. (Charlotte Wilson / Offside)
Marcel Sabitzer reignited the Austrian flame (65th), well helped by Ben Davies, author of an unfortunate deviation on the Bavarian shot. The Welsh then messed up. James played the role of the master cruncher and punctuated good calls with bad balls or badly negotiated one-on-ones against Lindner.
Eliminated, Austria had nevertheless started the game with a face-to-face sent to the bar by Christoph Baumgartner. Franco Foda’s men tried to attract their opponents with short raises. If they were able to find space in the back of Wales, the Austrians also played to scare themselves. Until Bale’s first punishment.
Without having managed to kill the match, Wales held on. Robert Page and his foals will find the winner of the match between Scotland and Ukraine in the play-off final. Confrontation postponed due to Russian invasion of Ukraine.