Emotions high but Bale keeps Wales grounded for Ukraine playoff final

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Wales captain is making sure teammates stay focused on qualifying for a first World Cup finals since 1958

It is little more than 24 hours from Wales’s biggest game since 1958, their last appearance at a World Cup, when they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by a 17-year-old Pelé. The Cardiff City Stadium is going through final rehearsals. Grounds staff trundle horizontally across the pitch with mowers. The plinth, home to the match ball, is packed away, giant Wales and Ukraine flags rolled up, the Uefa banner that carries a message for global peace folded up, and the national anthems sound over the speakers. It is, as Robert Page is at pains to say, business time.

Only someone is missing. Instead of the Wales captain, Gareth Bale, conducting the pre-match press conference, it is down to the affable defender Connor Roberts to hold court on the fourth floor overlooking the pitch. “You’ve had the short straw really, haven’t you?” Roberts says, smiling from ear to ear. “Budget version of Gareth Bale.”

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Written by Ben Fisher
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/jun/04/gareth-bale-wales-ukraine-world-cup-playoff-final under the title “Emotions high but Bale keeps Wales grounded for Ukraine playoff final”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.