Bale: I’m ready, we have no excuses now | Allen to miss Wales’ WC opener


Gareth Bale insists his fitness is “right where I want to be” but Joe Allen will miss Wales’ World Cup opener against the USA.

Bale signed for Los Angeles FC in June to boost his fitness ahead of the Qatar tournament although he only started two matches for the MLS side, seeing the majority of his 347 minutes by coming off the bench.

However, ahead of their first World Cup match since 1958, the Wales captain believes he is heading into the Group B clash in fine shape.

“I’m right where I want to be – I’m here! I’m ready to go,” Bale said in the pre-match press conference.

“We’ve all been training hard in the last week, adapting to the heat and time zone. We have no excuses now. We’ve put all the hard work in. It’s game time tomorrow and hopefully we can step up and deliver what needs to be delivered.”

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Actor Michael Sheen delivered another passionate motivational speech to the Wales team ahead of the World Cup.

Bales’ brief spell in the States has given him a closer look at what Wales can expect from their opposition.

“I have some experience of playing against and with some of the US team” he said.

“They’re a good young squad with some fantastic players. We’re under no illusions that they’re here to win the game just as we are. We know their weaknesses, I can’t share them with you right now as long as we stick to our game plan and do what we do we’ll be OK.”

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Wales defender Ethan Ampadu says there is an excitement amongst the Wales camp as they get ready for their first World Cup group game against the USA.

Bale has been Wales’ talisman for over a decade having made his international debut aged just 16. Reaching a World Cup with his country was a dream come true.

“As a kid you dream of seeing Wales in a World Cup but to actually be in the team that achieves it is an incredible feeling, an honour to be able to do it for our country,” he said.

“It’s going to be a fun time for us hopefully and one that we want to enjoy and have fun on the pitch as we always do as the national team.

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Wales defender Chris Mepham looks ahead to their opening clash against the USA, and his ambitions of getting into the side to help the country progress as far as they can in the tournament.

“In terms of watching World Cups, it was always a little bit disappointing because Wales weren’t there. As a kid it does take that little bit of specialness away. Everybody’s dreamt of it for such a long time.

“For us to be the team that got over the line was incredible for us, but most importantly, the best thing was to do it for our country, inspire another generation and to get more kids playing football. By doing that we’ll hopefully have a stronger national team in the future.”

‘We don’t want to risk losing him completely’

Wales boss Rob Page won’t push Joe Allen to play against the USA and risk losing him for the entire tournament.

The midfielder hasn’t played since September after injuring his hamstring – and a return for the opening game is still too soon.

“We said from the start we’re going to give every possible chance that we can to get him to play that first game, he’s probably not going to make it,” said Page.

“We could have pushed him but if it breaks down then he’s definitely out of the tournament, let alone the second game. Risk and reward. We’d have liked him for the first game, but we’re not going to push him to the point of completely losing him.”

Wales’ Group B fixtures

USA vs Wales – November 21, kick-off 7pm

Wales vs Iran – November 25, kick-off 10am

Wales vs England – November 29, kick-off 7pm

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