Wales captain Gareth Bale has been passed fit for their World Cup playoff semi-final against Austria. Wales is bidding to reach a World Cup for the first time in 64 years when they eliminated Israel 6-0 on aggregate. Should they win they will face the winner of the match between Scotland and Ukraine which has been postponed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The match will take place in June with the final set to take place later that month.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest games I’ve played in for sure,” Wales captain Gareth Bale said before their World Cup playoff. “Having not qualified for a World Cup before, it’s something that I want to achieve, the country wants to achieve, and the fans want to achieve. I guess it’s another big game we need to get ready for and take in our stride like we always do.”

“I’m so nervous. It took us years to build this,” Joe Ledley said. “I came through the ranks with Gareth, Aaron, Chris Gunter, and Wayne Hennessey – we are all about the same age – and then the likes of Ashley Williams, Joe Allen joined. We had to stick together and change the way Welsh football was going. We had been shocking over the years. We always had the ability but we needed to show togetherness. And we did. Everyone started to mix in, get involved in the banter and enjoy meeting up with Wales. We started this and I’m proud it has kept going – now we are just two games away from the World Cup.”

“They are my mates at the end of the day. They aren’t colleagues or teammates anymore – they are my friends. That goes a long way. I’ll be keeping in touch with these boys for the rest of my life,” he added.

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