Wednesday , 20 September 2017
Home / Sports / Day of history arrives for Bale and Wales

Day of history arrives for Bale and Wales

Friday, 10 June 2016

Gareth Bale is gearing up with Wales for its inaugural European Championship finals, the first time the team appears at major tournament since the 1958 World Cup
Gareth Bale is gearing up with Wales for its inaugural European Championship finals, the first time the team appears at major tournament since the 1958 World Cup

Gareth Bale and Wales will play their inaugural European Championship finals game on Saturday mixing the joy of a special day with nerves over whether they can get back to winning ways.

The Group B game against Slovakia will be the first time that a Wales team has appeared at a major tournament since June 19, 1958 in Gothenburg, Sweden, when a 17-year-old Pele settled a World Cup quarter-final in Brazil’s favour and consigned the Welsh to the international wilderness.

The years in between have brought a succession of failed managerial regimes and agonising near-misses, but come kick-off, the call of the country’s long-suffering football fans will finally be answered.

“It has been a bit surreal being here, especially with Wales having not been there so long,” Bale told reporters at the team’s Dinard base in Brittany on Thursday.

“Whenever there was a major championship on I would be sat at home, watching on TV, so to be involved is amazing.

“I imagined qualifying. It was one of my dreams to do so, but to make dreams come true is not easy.”

Welsh dreams were realised last October when, despite a 2-0 defeat away to Bosnia-Herzegovina in their penultimate qualifying match, Chris Coleman’s side secured their place in France.

– Joy and uncertainty –

The final game, a 2-0 home win over Andorra, became a 90-minute party, as players, staff and fans united in celebration of the team’s feat and in memory of former manager Gary Speed, who committed suicide in 2011 after sowing the seeds of the side’s revival.

Jubilation, however, has given way to uncertainty in the months that have followed. Wales have failed to win any of their four subsequent friendlies, losing to the Netherlands, Ukraine and Sweden and drawing 1-1 with Northern Ireland.

Bale, though, had been absent until Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Sweden in Stockholm, where he came on as a second-half substitute.

The Real Madrid forward’s return to the starting XI, as a free electron operating behind a lone striker in Coleman’s 3-5-1-1 formation, will give his team-mates — and Wales’s fans — an incalculable lift.

– Slippery wingers –

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will line up with him, but Joe Ledley is due to start on the bench after Coleman said it would be “reckless” to start him just a month after he fractured a fibula playing for Crystal Palace.

Striker Hal Robson-Kanu, meanwhile, has declared himself fit to start despite sustaining an ankle injury in a pre-tournament training camp.

While Wales go in search of lost momentum, Slovakia enter the tournament on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run that includes a stunning recent 3-1 win away to world champions Germany.

Jan Kozak’s side also beat defending European champions Spain in qualifying and are looking to emulate their achievements at the 2010 World Cup, when they knocked out holders Italy before falling in the last 16.

Like Wales, Slovakia are appearing at their first European Championship and will also come up against Russia and England in Group B.

Right-back Peter Pekarik says that his team-mates are in high spirits.

“The atmosphere is great,” he said.

“We have good experience and players from quality teams, so now it’s necessary to transform our positive energy into our performance. We will do everything to keep Bale out of the game.”

Bale will relish the thought of running at Slovakia’s old school centre-backs Martin Skrtel, the captain, and Jan Durica.

But with slippery wingers like Vladimir Weiss and Robert Mak in Kozak’s armoury, Slovakia are well placed to exploit the spaces left by Welsh wing-backs Chris Gunter and Neil Taylor.

Slovakia’s only injury doubt concerns left-back Tomas Hubocan, who has missed their last three friendly games with a toe problem. Dusan Svento will continue to deputise if he cannot prove his fitness in time.

Source by: AFP

Check Also

King attends Trooping the Colour ceremony

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 :  The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V attended the Trooping …

特朗普威胁将“完全摧毁”朝鲜

星期三,20/09/2017 特朗普(Donald Trump)周二表示,除非平壤方面收敛核武野心,否则美国将“别无选择,只能完全摧毁朝鲜”,他利用自己向联合国大会首次发表的演讲向“邪恶的少数”高压政权发出直白的威胁。 “火箭男正在为他自己和他的政权执行自杀任务,”美国总统在谈到朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong Un)时表示,此言将他平时在Twitter上即兴发表的爆炸性言论所用的措辞,带到汇聚世界领导人和外交官的联合国正式年度大会上。 特朗普的演讲结合了对政治理论的有分寸探索和对上帝及道德观念的更为高亢的祈愿,呼吁世界各国直面和孤立朝鲜和伊朗,称这两个流氓政权既不尊重本国公民,也不尊重他国主权。 “如果正义的多数不去直面邪恶的少数,那么邪恶就会胜利,”他宣告。 特朗普在发出对朝鲜的威胁之后接着说道:“希望这不是必要的——这就是联合国应该发挥作用的事情。”但他也嘲笑了以往为了遏止伊朗开发核武而开展的外交努力。伊朗是第二个受到他猛烈批评的国家。 他表示,如果2015年与德黑兰达成的历史性核协议为伊朗最终建立核计划提供了掩护,美国就不能遵守该协议。 FT专栏作家拉赫曼:埃及和叙利亚局势,都对奥巴马构成明显而紧迫的挑战。美国应该终止对埃及的援助吗?应该对叙利亚实施军事打击吗? “那份协议让美国蒙羞,相信我,这件事还没完。”他表示。尽管他没有承诺退出这项多边协议,但他领导的美国行政当局已一再质疑该协议的未来。 突显华盛顿与莫斯科和北京关系微妙的一个迹象是,特朗普在讲话中对俄罗斯和中国既有赞赏,也有压力。他感谢俄中支持 “动真格”的联合国对朝鲜制裁决议,但间接批评两国侵犯主权,提到乌克兰和南中国海存在他所称的不可接受的对主权的威胁。 他还对委内瑞拉的尼古拉斯•马杜罗(Nicolás …

Leave a Reply

WooCommerce Themes Free
X