Ethan Ampadu played the full 90 minutes as Wales ended a 64-year wait to book their place at a World Cup finals.
The Chelsea defender lined up on the right-hand side of a back three as Robert Page’s side defeated Ukraine 1-0 in Cardiff, courtesy of an own goal from Andriy Yarmolenko.
The Red Dragons had to endure a lot of Ukraine pressure, especially in the second half as the visitors desperately looked for a way back into the play-off tie, but a number of vital blocks – mainly from Tottenham defender Ben Davies – ensured Wales kept a clean sheet and recorded a memorable victory.
Despite only recording 32 per cent possession and having 10 shots compared to Ukraine’s 22, it was the sea of Red that were celebrating come the final whistle in Cardiff.
It means that Wales will head to the World Cup in Qatar later this year after 64 years without a finals appearance (1958 was their last one), and will join England, USA and Iran in Group B.
The Welsh were roared on by a partisan home crowd and after some early pressure, they took a deserved lead after 34 minutes. Gareth Bale’s free-kick asked questions of the Ukrainian defence and Yarkolenko could only head into his own net when trying to defend the centre, with the goalkeeper left with no chance.
Ampadu played his part as the Wales rearguard defended heroically to deny wave after wave of Ukraine attack, with the versatile defender making a fine block when charging down a shot.
The Chelsea man, who spent last season on loan at Venezia in Serie A, looked comfortable on the ball when striding out of defence and caught the eye with a number of raking cross-field passes.
Despite Ukraine forcing Wayne Hennessey into a number of smart stops, Wales almost wrapped up the play-off encounter with 15 minutes to play, but Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson was denied by the post before Bale later saw an effort saved.
But it wasn’t to matter as the hosts held firm to secure victory and cause raucous scenes in the stands once the full-time whistle blew.
Later on Sunday evening, Marcos Alonso was part of the Spain side that claimed a last-minute draw away at Czech Republic in the Nations League.
The Chelsea defender played the entirety of the clash at left-back, impressing with his willingness to get up and support the attacks in the final third.
Spain twice came from behind in Prague to claim a share of the spoils, following on from their draw with Portugal on Thursday.
Jakub Pesek fired the hosts in front after just four minutes, before Gavi equalised in first-half injury time.
Czech Republic restored their lead shortly after the hour-mark through Jan Kuchta before Inigo Martinez struck in the final moments to level the scores. Cesar Azpilicueta was an unused substitute for Spain.
Elsewhere, Christian Pulisic played the entire 90 minutes as the USA were held to a goalless friendly draw by Uruguay in Kansas City.