Emotions high but Bale keeps Wales grounded for Ukraine playoff final
Wales captain is ensuring teammates keep centered on qualifying for a primary World Cup finals since 1958
It’s little greater than 24 hours from Wales’ greatest recreation since 1958, their final look at a World Cup, once they have been knocked out on the quarter-final stage by a 17-year-old Pelé. The Cardiff Metropolis Stadium goes by way of last rehearsals. Grounds employees trundle horizontally throughout the pitch with mowers. The plinth, residence to the match ball, is packed away, big Wales and Ukraine flags rolled up, the Uefa banner that carries a message for world peace folded up, and the nationwide anthems sound over the audio system. It’s, as Robert Web page is at pains to say, enterprise time.
Solely somebody is lacking. As a substitute of the Wales captain, Gareth Bale, conducting the pre-match press convention, it’s right down to the affable defender Connor Roberts to carry court docket on the fourth ground overlooking the pitch. “You’ve had the short straw really, haven’t you?” Roberts says, smiling from ear to ear. “Budget version of Gareth Bale.”