Doha, Qatar – for most national team captains world CupThe dream is to be alive holding the trophy on December 18 at the Lusail Stadium. but for wales captain Gareth Bale, it’s a little different. He is in Qatar to win matches, that is clear, but there is something bigger at play as well. He hopes that when the World Cup begins in 2042, another player with memories of 2022 stuck in his mind will lead the Welsh side on football’s biggest stage.
It was Wales’ first World Cup in his lifetime and he spoke of his childhood memories of the competition being tainted as his country was not there. But he hopes that after leading Wales to their first qualification since 1958, there will be youngsters at home watching the games against him. United States of america, Iran — who does he face on Friday — and England And get inspired to follow in their footsteps.
Bell said, “As a kid I dreamed of seeing Wales at the World Cup, but it’s an incredible feeling to actually be in the team and it’s an honor to be able to do it for the country.” “For young people growing up now, to have Wales at the World Cup, even if they don’t realize it yet, it’s an incredible experience for them. It’s an experience I wish I had.”
“What we’ve done is hopefully we’re going to have a strong national team in the future and in 20 years’ time they’re sitting where I’m now saying Wales was motivated to qualify for the World Cup in 2022. To get them to play football and love it.”
Bale, while a five-time winner of the Champions League real madrid, has done as much as anyone to make football relevant again in his country. The last of Wales’ greats, Ryan Giggs, was regularly criticized for setting up his club, manchester unitedDespite making his international debut for his country and as a teenager in 1991, he did not play a friendly match until 2000. Their star players were as fit as possible, but at times there was a feeling that Welsh football did not matter, especially as many in Wales already regarded rugby union as their national sport.
Giggs played 963 times for United during his 23-year career but only 64 appearances for Wales. In contrast, when Bale starts against Iran at the Al Rayyan Stadium, he will win his 110th cap. He will hope to add something to Qatar by getting them out of the group, as Wales did in the European Championship in 2016 – their first major tournament for 58 years – and Euros in 2020, played in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It might be a stretch to contest them in the semi-finals of the Euros six years ago, but a 1-1 draw against the US in their first game opened up their chances of progressing from Group B and setting up a round-of-16 tie against Has been. Netherlands,
Something else is at stake. Wales has been particularly affected by the UK living crisis, with research from the Aberdeen Financial Fairness Trust and the University of Bristol finding. 22% of households have been forced to make significant cost cuts To deal with rising food prices and energy bills.
Wales manager Rob Page used his news conference before the opening game against America to say he hoped his team could provide some light relief for those struggling back home Will be He also paid special tribute to the supporters who have spent thousands of pounds traveling to Qatar to support the players.
“I have nothing but praise for the Red Wall and our supporters, they have played a big part in us qualifying for the World Cup,” Page said. “The commitment they continue to show in supporting us is incredible. We haven’t qualified for a lot of the big tournaments and I think they just want to be a part of it.”
“Even in the most recent Euro they couldn’t travel due to COVID, so I think that motivated them more to come to Qatar. I’ve got nothing but appreciation and respect because it’s a big It’s a big commitment.”
World Cup fever has spread not just in Doha but across Wales, from Cardiff and Swansea on the south coast to Wrexham in the north.
“We get sent videos and pictures from home in our WhatsApp group and friends are sending stuff,” Bale said. “You can see the flags are up, the bucket hats and shirts are out, so we’re coming back home.
“It was always a little disappointing watching the World Cup growing up because Wales wasn’t there. Not being your country at the World Cup as a kid, it takes away a little bit of the exclusivity.
“For us to be a team to get over the line is incredible. It is important to grow football in our country and inspire another generation to get more kids playing football.”
Bale’s first World Cup memory is from France ’98, but not because of any particular match or goal, but because he had a pencil case with the tournament logo. As close as they were for generations of fans, but Bell and Page ensured there was now a real connection by sharing a stage with the likes of England, Argentina And Brazil,
Wales, a country with a population of a little over three million – the same number as Iowa – and whose top domestic teams play in England’s league system, is targeting a place in the knockout stage in Qatar and one of the best. 16 teams in the world. However, there is a feeling that what they have already achieved off the pitch is of far greater importance.