CAPTAIN Gareth Bale hailed the “last piece of the jigsaw” after Wales beat Ukraine to qualify for the World Cup.

The 64-year wait to play on the biggest stage will be over in November thanks to a nervy but wonderful win at Cardiff City Stadium.

Robert Page’s side, who beat Austria in the semi-finals in March, took the spoils after Andriy Yarmolenko glanced a Bale free-kick into his own net in the first half.

Wales held firm to earn showdowns with the USA, Iran and England in November with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey producing an inspired performance to deny a spirited and classy Ukraine side.

"It's difficult to put it into words,” said talisman Bale, who starred at Euro 2016 and 2020.

“It's what we've been working all our careers for and to do this for the fans, the nation, ourselves and our families is an incredible achievement, and it will be something that we will be forever proud of.

"It means everything. It is the last piece of the jigsaw that we all wanted and we're going to celebrate well tonight."

South Wales Argus:

Page saluted his players and the fans after seeing them clinch a place at the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958.

“It’s unbelievable. I’m so proud of these boys,” he said. “They thoroughly deserved that. The one thing they needed was a World Cup and they’ve got it.

“The fans were incredible. They’re the best supporters in world football, I’m telling you. They helped us from the first minute and deserve all the credit.

“I was more excited than nervous before kick-off because I trust these lads. I see them in training and have complete faith in these lads.”

Ukraine tested Wales throughout but Hennessey produced a string of saves and the defence ultimately held firm to take the spoils and earn qualification for another major tournament after playing in Euro 2016 and 2020.

"There was a lot of emotion in this game, but we stood up brilliantly,” said defender Ben Davies. "Every challenge they threw at us we dealt with.

"It's incredible, a dream come true, as a squad we've worked so hard for this. We may not have the most talented group but we give it everything we have got."