Wales 5 Belarus 1
Gareth Bale never wanted everything to revolve around him on international duty, where he was always – at least in his opinion – just another member Wales page. The outside world has, of course, rarely seen this that way, but there is a suspicion that Bale might have quietly enjoyed the fact that they shared the pleasures of his 100th international appearance with his team instead of focusing entirely on him.
Yes, that was the night the Captain of Wales became the captain of his country. But when the action began, it was far from the Bale show, s Aaron Ramsey, Neco Williams, Ben Davies and Connor Roberts also contributed memorable moments on the second exciting night for Rob Page.
In the end, there was a lot of talk about the Welsh performance that Bale only needed 45 minutes. Wales was completely dominant against the poor Belarusian team, with and without their talisman, and Bale’s recent injury problems meant he didn’t have to take any chances on such a smooth evening.
It helped that the rest of the Welsh attack was so effective in front of goal, with Ramsey scoring twice to draw attention to his quality again. The midfielder played just six minutes for Juventus last month, but he looked sharp here as Wales continued to search for next year. World Cup final.
The victory in Cardiff meant that Wales only needed a point against Belgium in the middle of the week for second place in their qualifying group, which would in theory allow him an easier path to the World Cup. The point against Belgium is far from easy, but Wales has every reason to be confident in front of his fans.
Inevitably, Bale’s name would be the first to sing the “Red Wall” of Welsh fans, who have never shyly declared themselves the best scorer in their country’s football history. Bale spoke this week about his “special connection” with Wales – which has undoubtedly felt more special due to problems at the club level in recent years – and there is no doubt about his pride in representing his country.
The highlight for him on the international stage would, of course, be his appearance at the World Cup, a tournament that has eluded Wales since 1958. This qualifying campaign has therefore always felt like the last chance for Bale, who has only him and his older teammates. seemed more important.
The pressure of this special match was reduced by last week’s results and various complications of the new international calendar. Spain’s victory over Greece secured Wales a final for the World Cup next year, thanks to the exploits of Page’s side in the League of Nations.
Only with second place in this qualifying group were they able to ensure that the playoffs will be a home game, and such details could have a significant impact on their search for Qatar. Therefore, there were still many reasons to match and fight Belarus in Cardiff and more than enough justification for Page’s decision to start Balea in attack.
A knee tendon injury prevented Bale from playing a single minute of competitive football in the more than two months since his last appearance for Wales. He had to be careful with his star’s condition, he is not too strong or too far before the match with Belgium on Tuesday.