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When your football team wins a match to qualify for the World Cup, it’s understandable to get really pumped up and maybe even forget about the other team and what they might be going through at that moment. That couldn’t be more true for the Wales football team, which hadn’t qualified for the World Cup in more than six decades.
But on Sunday, when Wales won against Ukraine, the Welsh team took a moment to console their opponents for the loss not only on the football field but also the losses being faced in their war-torn country.
Fans followed suit, with Wales fans applauding the Ukrainian fans in the stadium, and Ukrainian fans returning the gesture. Fans swapped jerseys after the game, and the teams had only kind words for each other.
“We just wanted to show our appreciation to them and what they’re going through as a nation," said Wales manager Robert Page. “I thought their team were outstanding in the two games and they deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve done, and their supporters as well. We wanted to show them that respect."
“We did everything that we could," Ukrainian coach Oleksandr Petrakov said through a translator, “but I really want the people of Ukraine to remember our team’s efforts."