Wales secured their place in the World Cup later this year with Gareth Bale heavily involved in the winning goal and the former Real Madrid player given an update on his future.
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Gareth Bale has laughed off questions about his immediate future after helping Wales to the World Cup for the first time in 64 years.
Bale played an important role in the decisive goal as his free-kick inadvertently deflected Andriy Yarmolenko and flew into the back of the net. Ukraine put the pressure on in the second half but couldn’t force the ball past Wayne Hennessey, who was in impeccable form between the sticks.
Yarmolenko came closest as his effort flew just over the bar but Wales held on to win 1-0 and secure their place in this winter’s World Cup in Qatar. They will join England, Iran and the United States in Group B, with the tournament starting on Monday, November 21.
There have been talks surrounding the future of star man Bale, who recently confirmed his departure from Real Madrid after eight years at the club. When asked on Sky Sports if the World Cup will postpone his retirement, Bale replied “a bit”, hinting that he will continue to play at least until the competition later this year.
The 32-year-old has been linked with a move to a number of English football clubs, including Welsh duo Cardiff City and Swansea City. Manchester United have been backed to sign the ex-Tottenham Hotspur star with the Red Devils looking to sign a new right-winger this summer.
But securing Wales’ qualification for the World Cup will no doubt be Bale’s main thought at the moment and he has delivered his reaction to his country’s narrow victory. Bale also called Wales’ success the “biggest” victory in the country’s history after reaching their third major tournament in six years.
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He said: “Yes, the result is the greatest result in the history of Welsh football. We are all delighted, you can see it with the fans, we are going to the World Cup.”
“This is what dreams are made of, this is what we’ve been working for since we came here, I’m speechless because I’m so happy,” he added. “We did this for all of our amazing fans. Words don’t describe how I feel right now.”
Bale has suffered from ‘back spasms’ over the past month but was deemed fit enough to start for Wales on Sunday night. This was after being named on the bench for Real Madrid in the Champions League final against Liverpool last weekend. He admitted the injuries had been “difficult” but was grateful to have come through the game.
He said: “It was tough, I haven’t done much in the last four weeks because of my back spasms which everyone knows. I was just happy to finish the game, to contribute in any way possible, the important thing was to get the win and qualify for the World Cup.”