Monday, June 27, 2022

Bale mulls more late-game heartbreak for Wales

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Gareth Bale says it’s better Wales make their mistakes now rather than at the World Cup after suffering more injury-time heartbreak against the Netherlands.

Memphis Depay gave the Netherlands an eventful 3-2 Nations League win in the third minute of injury time in Rotterdam, just seconds after Bale equalized from the penalty spot.

Wales are bottom of their A4 group by one point after losing three of their four games.

Robert Page’s side have conceded crucial late goals in all three defeats, with their only point coming in a 1-1 home draw with Belgium.

“It’s hard to take but I’d rather this happen now and we address it than it happen at the World Cup,” Bale told S4C after the game.

“We have to use these Nations League games to improve and get better. Of course we all know what happened, but how can we prevent this from happening again?

“We need to address that and make sure that doesn’t happen at the World Cup. I said in the dressing room we’re playing big teams in League A.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that we conceded late, but we’re playing against these big sides in every game now and it’s just the subtleties that we need to iron out.

“If we can do that, we’ll be in a good position for the World Cup.”

It was a case of Double Dutch for Wales as Holland scored an injury-time winner in Cardiff last week.

But Page denied his team had been naïve in Rotterdam after Holland scored twice in the first quarter before Brennan Johnson halved the deficit.

Page said: “First and foremost, we’re dealing with a very good team. One of the best teams in the world.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t see the game again. This experience will stand us in good stead. They’re small tweaks.

“I’m not sure if it was naivety. We forced Holland to play route one football, we have to be ruthless to watch games.

Page preferred to see the bright side of a long and demanding camp that has seen Wales qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

He said: “Overall there are too many positives in the camp to think about. Brennan grows game by game. It’s valuable experience he gains playing in these games.

“We are all disappointed. I will focus on the positive and we will build on that. it was crazy The boys need to take off their boots and take a break. The demands are high.

“We don’t have the luxury of rotating 11 players like Holland did. I couldn’t be prouder of us as a group.”

Page praised Netherlands midfielder Frenkie De Jong for being “phenomenal” on the ball and “running the show”.

The Barcelona midfielder has been heavily linked with returning to his former Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag at Manchester United this summer.

De Jong told reporters: “You’re always flattered when teams show an interest in you as a player. I’m at the biggest club in the world at the moment and I feel good there. So no news.”

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