Bale: Playoff against Austria one of ‘biggest games’ of my career


areth Bale has revealed his desperation to get Wales to a first World Cup since 1958 as they prepare to face Austria in a playoff semi-final on Thursday night.

That is Wales’ only ever appearance at football’s biggest tournament but they are two wins away from booking a place in Qatar at the end of the year.

Bale was not part of Real Madrid’s squad against Barcelona last weekend due to a “little niggle”, but he has confirmed he is fit and raring to go as Wales welcome Austria to Cardiff for what is certain to be a raucous occasion.

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“For sure it will be one of biggest games I’ve played in,” Bale said.

“Qualifying for a World Cup is something I want to achieve for the fans, the country. It’s definitely a massive game, we all want to do well.

“I remember (growing up) loving watching the tournament. Brazilian Ronaldo, Samba football, they were probably my first memories.

“It’s a dream come true for everyone to play in a World Cup. To do it for Wales would be an incredible achievement. It’s been a long time. But we’re thinking solely about the game tomorrow and not that far ahead.”

Should Wales get the better of Austria, they will face either Scotland or Ukraine for a place in Qatar. That match would also take place in Cardiff.

Wales are unbeaten in 11 competitive fixtures at the Cardiff City Stadium, stretching back to November 2018, and Bale is glad to have that history on side as Wales look to qualify for the World Cup.

Bale said: “It’s a big advantage being in front of our own fans.

“They know how important they are, they really are the 12th man and will push us through to the finish line for sure. The fans inspire us and push us on. It’s difficult to say why our record’s so good, but hopefully we can continue that.

“I wouldn’t say it’d be a regret if I didn’t play in a World Cup, but it’s something I would love to achieve, for myself, my country, the fans of Wales.

“It will only be a regret if we don’t give 100 per cent (against Austria); don’t leave anything in the tank.

“Once you’ve done that there won’t be regrets regardless of the result. Hopefully our best will be enough.”

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