Bale will not start as Wales take on Belgium

By Sports Desk November 15, 2021

Gareth Bale will not start when Wales face Belgium in Cardiff for their final World Cup Group E qualifying match as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Wales are already assured of a place in the play-offs going into Tuesday's game due to their Nations League results.

But they need at least a point against Belgium to be sure of finishing second to Roberto Martinez's men in the pool, which would give them the best chance of a home draw in the play-off semi-finals. 

The Czech Republic are still in with a chance of catching Wales.

Real Madrid attacker Bale won his 100th cap from the start as Wales thrashed Belarus 5-1 on Saturday before being taken off at half-time in a planned substitution.

But if Bale, who has only appeared three times for Madrid this season, is to play any part against Belgium, it will be as a substitute and even that depends on how well he responds to training on Monday, which he completed individually away from the rest of the squad.

"He was never going to start against Belgium and we knew that coming into camp," said Wales boss Rob Page.

"The plan was always for him to get a half in the first game and then come on and maybe have an impact in the second game.

"He is going to be stiff. He has not played for a couple of months and to throw him in for that game was a big ask from a physical point of view.

"He's done his own recovery and we'll leave it to the last minute to see if he can any play minutes. He is getting there, slowly but surely.

"We will get him back to full fitness. It is frustrating for him. He made a tremendous effort to get fit for the game and he takes credit for that."

Wales captain Bale may not face his Madrid team-mates Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard as the Belgium duo are not expected to travel for the match, with their country's place in Qatar already secured.

Belgium's progression to the World Cup was sealed with a win over Estonia, who are the Czech Republic's last opponents at the same time as Wales and Belgium do battle.

Related items

  • Football rumours: Arsenal among several clubs interested in Wolves’ Pedro Neto Football rumours: Arsenal among several clubs interested in Wolves’ Pedro Neto
    What the papers say

    Arsenal are reportedly lining up Wolves winger Pedro Neto for a summer transfer. According to the Daily Mirror, the Gunners considered launching a bid for the 23-year-old in 2022 but nothing materialised. The club are believed to have maintained their interest however, and join Liverpool, Aston Villa and Atletico Madrid in keeping tabs on the Portugal international.

    Staying with Arsenal, the Daily Mail says negotiations have begun over a new contract for defender Ben White. The development comes despite the 25-year-old England international having three years left on his £120,000-a-week deal.

    And The Sun says Manchester United have sent a scout to monitor 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio, with a view to a potential January deal.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Bryan Cristante: Calciomercato reports Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr are set to make a move for the Roma midfielder.

    Lucas Beraldo: Liverpool are keen on the 19-year-old Sao Paulo centre-back, according to website 90mins.

  • Mauricio Pochettino vows to continue to show belief in Chelsea’s young stars Mauricio Pochettino vows to continue to show belief in Chelsea’s young stars

    Mauricio Pochettino promised Chelsea will continue to show belief in their young stars after Mykhailo Mudryk scored his first goal for the club in their 2-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

    Armando Broja, making his first start since injuring his ACL in December, also netted as the visitors gave their most convincing performance yet of the manager’s reign and ended a run of three Premier League games without a goal.

    Chelsea took the lead after 18 minutes when Mudryk chested down Levi Colwill’s expertly-flighted cross and nudged the ball past Bernd Leno as the Fulham goalkeeper advanced.

    And within a minute it was two, Cole Palmer dispossessing Tim Ream who was careless with the ball at his feet and feeding Broja, who deflected the ball home off Ream’s attempted clearance.

    It was a dominant first half from Chelsea with Palmer, making his first Premier League start for the club after impressing in the EFL Cup win against Brighton last week, making a critical difference coming deep to collect the ball and starting the visitors’ attacks.

    Ian Maatsen, on at half-time in place of Mudryk, struck a post after the break as Pochettino’s side threatened a third, and it was not until 14 minutes from time that a lacklustre Fulham threatened a response when Robert Sanchez blocked Sasa Lukic’s close-range shot.

    Pochettino pointed to the patience the club have shown in waiting for their expensively assembled but young side to come good, particularly Mudryk who finally broke his scoring duck nine months after jointing from Shakhtar Donetsk for £88million.

    “The difference (tonight) is the result,” said the manager. “The performance was really good. First half I think we played really well, second half we controlled the game.

    “I’m pleased for Mudryk, and for Armando. For Misha because he has scored his first goal in the Premier League and then for Armando, after a long period out he’s scored again. The competition is really good for the team.

    “It’s about maturity, adaptation. We need to understand that young people need time, need to settle. Massive change for him when he arrived here. I think when you arrive in a team, it’s not easy to settle because there were too many young players that arrived in a team (that) was not solid.

    “They need to add something to the team, to build something important. Always it’s difficult, but it’s about time and to have patience, to trust these guys and these young, talented players, and to build their confidence.

    “It’s a massive job. It’s step by step. Sometimes people have not the patience, but for us it’s about being patient. Even when we were losing and when we didn’t win from the beginning of the season, we were calm and kept the belief.

    “Now that we’ve won two games in a few days it’s (still) important to stay calm.”

    It was the fourth game in a row in which Mudryk had started, having not been in the starting XI for any of Pochettino’s first five matches in charge.

    He was withdrawn at half-time with what the manager said was an issue with his quad, but he is expected to be fit for Saturday’s trip to face Burnley.

    “He played because he deserved it, and he showed in training that he deserved it,” said the manager. “He was really focused in training and had the confidence to go on the pitch and play.

    “Normally it’s the player that needs to show us that we can trust in them.”

    Fulham boss Marco Silva reflected on a game in which he felt his team lacked the required aggression as they fell to a third league defeat of the season.

    “Disappointing result for us,” he said. “At certain moments, performance-wise as well. They started intense from the first moment, winning some individual challenges that gave the boost they needed.

    “Our first half was not aggressive enough on and off the ball. We were sloppy in some moments. We did not bring the dynamic that we should. Even our first pressure didn’t work very well.”

  • Consistency the key for Vincent Kompany as he bids to lift Burnley Consistency the key for Vincent Kompany as he bids to lift Burnley

    Vincent Kompany is refusing to put any extra emphasis on Tuesday’s trip to face fellow Premier League new boys Luton as his side look to end their winless start to the season.

    Kompany has spoken repeatedly about the tough start Burnley have faced – they have already suffered defeats against Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham, and Aston Villa – and many fans have been looking to the postponed trip to Kenilworth Road for a much-needed victory.

    But the 37-year-old Kompany said it would do his side no good to treat this match differently to any other.

    “It’s a mental exercise for me to really try and make no distinction,” he said. “It’s how I have been brought up, it’s how I know football.

    “When you’re at the very top and you underestimate the small sides, you lose points. When you’re at the bottom and you overestimate the big sides…you don’t stand a chance.

    “So I want to have consistency in every game, doing what it takes to get a result. I understand Luton is someone we faced last season so we’re looking forward to meeting our old friends again.”

    This fixture was originally due to be played in the second week of the season but was postponed while Luton worked to upgrade their ground following promotion and Kompany said he felt the delay had benefited both sides in terms of their improvement since the campaign began.

    But while Luton’s work was rewarded with a first win when they beat Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday, Burnley have taken only one point from their opening six games.

    Results are needed now, but Kompany said there had been no loss of confidence within his squad despite the tough start.

    “What we did is we went into this with eyes wide open,” he said. “We did a lot of work on managing expectations.

    “I can draw a little bit on my own experience. When you get to a certain level, year one or the first three or four months might not feel straightaway when you feel you belong in a place.

    “But they’ll battle themselves through it and then they’ll see soon enough that a lot of these players, most of these players, are good enough to play this at this level and actually enjoy success at this level. But you know you’ve to learn the tough way sometimes.”

    Kompany insisted he has not been losing any sleep himself, other than during a brief illness last week.

    “No chance, on the contrary,” he said when asked if his own confidence had been dented. “I’ve seen enough to believe in the squad.

    “But to the point as well, like I’ve said, I’m conscious that it’s not the words ‘I’m happy’. I’m not happy but I’ve seen enough in terms of habits and how these guys approach it to know that they’ll come out stronger from this. They’ll come out a good team.”

    Lyle Foster is likely to go straight back into the side after serving a three-match ban for his late red card at Forest and could bring a much-needed boost to a Burnley side who are the lowest scorers in the league.

    Foster had scored two in five for Burnley, also netting for South Africa, before his ban.

    “I think he was on a trajectory where he showed good signs to be a good player in this league,” Kompany said.

    “I think the guys who filled in did well, but you know when you have someone with momentum, you want to keep him as much as you can involved.

    “Hopefully tomorrow we can have the Lyle that we had before the suspension and and then everybody knows he is a threat and he scores goals as well.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.