Gareth Bale, the outgoing winger of Real Madrid and current captain of Wales national team, would not be sorry if his national team end Ukraine’s dream of playing in the forthcoming World Cup.
War-torn Ukraine is the only obstacle standing in the way of Wales’ dream of playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar for the first time in 64 years. Wales has to beat Ukraine in the World Cup play-off later today, June 5, 2022, to grab a ticket to Qatar. The match will kick off at 17:00 at the Cardiff City Stadium in Wales.
Recall that the World Cup play-off had to be postponed from March to June due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Ukraine played the semi-final of the play-off against Scotland on June 1, 2022, and they won 3-1 miles away from home. While Wales made it to the final of the play-off after defeating Austria 2-1 on 24 March 2022.
Gareth Bale who did not play in Wales’ 2-1 defeat to Poland in a Nations League match on June 1, 2022, is expected to be in action against Ukraine later tonight. Ahead of the game, the 32-year-old winger who would be without a club from July 1, 2022, said he and his teammates would be competitive against Ukraine despite Ukrainian plight at the hands of Russia.
Gareth Bale made it clear that even though Ukrainians are going through a horrible experience due to Russia’s invasion of the country, he would not apologize if Wales end the country’s World Cup dream tonight.
“As horrible as it sounds, no. As it is a game of football and it is a competition that we want to get to as well”, Gareth Bale said.
“Everyone in the world feels for Ukraine. It is a sport that unites everybody. We understand what it will do for Ukraine, but we want to get to the World Cup.
“That is not coming from a horrible place. It is coming from our country and hearts as we want to deliver for our fans…
“We’ll be the most popular team in the stadium, that’s the main thing.
“We understand the awful things going on in Ukraine. Our hearts go out to the kids, families, and people of Ukraine.
“We’ve all felt awful during this time and not been able to do too much. But come Sunday, it’s a game of football. We want to win.
“It’s difficult to say whether it’s ‘the’ big game [of his career], we played in a semi-final of a European Championship.
“But it’s a massive game. There’s no hiding it. We’ve only ever played in one World Cup. This is a stepping stone onto the biggest level and we’re desperate to win to achieve our goal.
“Everyone wants to play at a World Cup. It’s no different for me – it is missing [on his CV] – or for every member of the squad and coaching staff.”
Ukraine is a threat according to coach Rob Page who confirmed that Gareth Bale is ready
Ukraine ended Scotland’s World Cup dream decisively away from home which passed a message to Wales that though the country is at war with Russia, they are determined to play in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Hence, the manager of Wales, Rob Page would leave no stone unturned as he prepares his team to face the resilient Ukrainian side in Cardiff City later tonight.
“I thought they gave a great account of themselves against Scotland,” Rob Page said.
“We’ve analyzed the game and Ukraine pose a threat. They’re there for a reason, they’re a good outfit. Irrespective of what they’ve been through to get here.”
On Gareth Bale’s relevance in the Wales team, Page added: “It was always part of the plan coming in. With the senior players, we ask them what they need to get in the best place for game day. He’s got a plan in place, and he didn’t want to veer away from that.
“I’ve learned one thing as Wales manager, that if you want your best players on the pitch, you’ve got to be able to adapt. They’ve never let me down.”