SPORTS Gareth Bale denies he will retire after 3-0 loss to England


Gareth Bale denies he will retire after 3-0 loss to England


14:36, November 30, 2022

Gareth Bale (C) of Wales looks on after the 3-0 loss to England in the FIFA World Cup game at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, November 29, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

Gareth Bale of Wales said he won't retire after the 3-0 loss to England in their final group game in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday and exit from the tournament.

Bale only played the first half against England due to a hamstring injury, but he was in poor form even before being substituted as he touched the ball only seven times.

"I will keep going as long as I can and as long as I am wanted," Bale said. "We [Wales] go again in March."

The qualification tournament for the UEFA European Championship in 2024 will begin on March 23, 2023. Bale wants to play for Wales in those competitions. The 33-year-old didn't produce many highlights in the World Cup – one of them should be the penalty kick he made against the USA in their first group game. That was the only goal of Wales and gave them the only point.

Bale failed to play savior again in the team's 2-0 loss to Iran. He could still make some good passes, but already missed the speed and explosiveness to change the opponents' defense by himself. Then in the competition against England, he was nearly invisible on the field.

In fact, Bales' performances like the above should have been foreseen by Wales based on his form in Major League Soccer (MLS). Since he joined Los Angeles FC in June, he hasn't played any full game for the club. However, he scored a late goal for them in extra time against Philadelphia Union in the MLS Cup. Los Angeles FC wouldn't have won this title in penalty shootout.

Simply speaking, Bale's role is a little special for any team he plays for. He is unable to contribute consistently but can generate a key highlight from time to time.

Rob Page, manager of Wales, wants Bale back when they participate in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, starting with the first game against Croatia on March 25, 2023.

"I don't think it will be the last time you see Gareth in a Wales jersey. We have games in March for the start of our Euro 2024 campaign and we want to make a flying start, so I'm sure you will see him a Wales shirt again," Page said.

"He was struggling during the first-half with his hamstring and would only have been 70-percent fit for the second-half and we needed everybody at full strength, so it was the right decision for the team to take him off and he accepted that."

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