MX23RW : Saturday, September 18 13:59:37| >> :600:784420:784420:

Gareth Bale admits 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign could be his last

Gareth Bale admits 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign could be his last
© Reuters
The Dragons host the Czech Republic on Tuesday bidding to recover from an opening World Cup qualifying defeat to Belgium.

Gareth Bale admits his international career could be drawing to a close with Wales' current World Cup qualifying campaign possibly his last.

Wales play the Czech Republic in Cardiff on Tuesday seeking their first points in Group E after an opening defeat to Belgium.

Bale and company still have this summer's delayed European Championship finals to look forward to, but Tottenham's Wales captain will be 33 by the time of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

Wales v Mexico – International Friendly – Cardiff City Stadium
Gareth Bale (left) in action during Wales' 1-0 friendly victory over Mexico on Saturday (David Davies/PA)

"I haven't really thought too much past this campaign," said Bale, who insisted he had not been "disrespectful" last week when outlining his end-of-season plans to see out the final year of his Real Madrid contract.

"Obviously, there's no hiding we are getting older and possibly it is the last campaign.

"If it is, then it won't change my mindset. I'm going to be 100 per cent committed like always.

"We still have a big tournament to play in the summer and then continue with these qualifiers after.

"I'm purely focused on the present and what is happening now. Whatever will happen in the future will happen."

Bale had a slow start to his Spurs return on a season-long loan from Real after arriving with "a little problem in my knee".

But he scored six goals in as many games in February and early-March, and says he has the "form and speed" to trouble Czech opponents, who have opened their campaign by beating Estonia and drawing with Belgium.

Bale said: "Confidence is a massive thing in football. Whether you are the best player or the worst, confidence as a footballer, especially for me, is one of the most important things.

"Playing in the final third you need to take risks, you need to feel good about yourself and to be able to beat a defender, shoot and score goals.

"I wouldn't say it's a must-win match, but we want to win the match.

"We don't want to start a campaign off with two losses straight away. In the last Euros campaign, we started with a win but we had two defeats on the bounce.

"We're not thinking of losing. Us experienced lads, we understand it's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Rangers v Slavia Prague – UEFA Europa League – Round of Sixteen – Second Leg – Ibrox Stadium
Ondrej Kudela (right) misses the Czech Republic's World Cup qualifier in Wales after being accused of making racist remarks to Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara in a Europa League tie earlier this month (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Wales caretaker manager Robert Page says Ben Cabango is in the right frame of mind to be involved on Tuesday after being racially abused online over the weekend.

South Wales Police are investigating after Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were racially abused on social media following Saturday's friendly win over Mexico.

Matondo was one of three Wales players – Hal Robson-Kanu and Tyler Roberts were the others – sent home on Monday for breaching Football Association of Wales protocol.

The Czechs are without defender Ondrej Kudela, who was accused of racially abusing Glen Kamara when Slavia Prague beat Rangers in a Europa League tie at Ibrox on March 18.

Slavia refused to allow's Kudela return to the UK, due in part to fears over his safety.

On that Rangers incident, Page said: "We're aware of it. But my focus is on my players and making sure they are OK.

"They are strong characters and we will make sure they've got the full backing of the Football Association of Wales, they've got the full backing of the players and the staff.

"I had breakfast with both players the following morning and made sure that they were in the right frame of mind and as least affected by it as possible."

Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore, whose fifth international goal secured victory over Mexico, has been cleared to play after being troubled by a heel injury.

The 95-times capped Wayne Hennessey could start after missing out in Belgium following a thigh injury, the Crystal Palace goalkeeper having impressed against Mexico on his first Wales appearance since October.

ID:441079: cacheID:441079:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:10590:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Wales attacker Gareth Bale in action against Belgium on March 24, 2021
Read Next:
The big talking points ahead of Wales' clash with the Czech Republic

rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Premier League
Scottish Premiership
La Liga
Serie A
Ligue 1
Primeira Liga
League One
League Two
National League
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League
Greek Superleague
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Norwegian Eliteserien
Swedish Allsvenskan
Finnish Veikkausliiga
NIFL Premiership
League of Ireland Premier
Welsh Premier League
Belarusian Premier League
Segunda Division
Serie B
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
J1 League
Premier League 2 - Div 1
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd4310113810
5Manchester CityMan City4301111109
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton43015329
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs43013309
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham422010558
10Leicester CityLeicester420246-26
11Crystal Palace41215505
12Aston Villa411257-24
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves510425-33
16Leeds UnitedLeeds5032512-73
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle5023613-72
20Norwich CityNorwich4004111-100

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!