London – Gareth Bale believes Wales’ contrasting experiences at Euro 2016 and in failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup will prepare them perfectly for today’s decisive Euro 2020 qualifier with Hungary in Cardiff.
Win and Wales will be guaranteed their place at next year’s tournament, four years on from a remarkable run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016.
A year later, that joy turned to despair when defeat at home to the Republic of Ireland saw Wales fail to qualify for the World Cup.
“We have got the kind of euphoria of qualifying for our first Euros and doing so well at the competition that we really want to do that again,” said Bale on Monday.
“We’ve also got the negatives of knowing how it feels to miss out on qualifying for a tournament like we did with the World Cup.
“Looking back on that now I think we can use that as a positive. We can see how we don’t want to feel after the game.”
Bale’s absence through injury for the final qualifier against Ireland proved fatal to Wales’ chances of reaching a first World Cup since 1958, but he has shrugged off a calf injury that has kept him sidelined for Real Madrid in recent weeks to make himself available to coach, Ryan Giggs.
The 30-year-old played made his first appearance in a month during Saturday’s 2-0 win in Azerbaijan before being replaced by Aaron Ramsey after an hour.
“I’m ready. I hadn’t played in four weeks so it was important to get 60 minutes into my legs and get some match sharpness,” added Bale.
“We spoke at the start of the week about trying to get 60 minutes and hopefully being a couple (of goals) up before I came off. It worked out well, no problems and I’m ready to go for Tuesday.” – AFP.