Gareth Bale, then Welsh / MDL 2022 / Play-offs / Wales-Austria (2-1) /

Author of a brace against Austria on Thursday night (2-1), Gareth Bale was the main architect of Welsh qualifying for the 2022 World Cup play-off final. One was missing, that the striker could be finished off for the Real Madrid. , but not for football.

It took 90 minutes and two actions, qualified as “period solo performance” by the BBC, to see Gareth Bale back in the saddle. Before Austria and the 33,000 spectators at Cardiff City Stadium, the Welsh captain once again donned his savior and leader suit to lead his people to victory. A convincing double and a qualification to the key, which the boy from Glamorgan signed with his characteristic leg.

Two kicks from the left

The start of his recital, Bale decorated it with a free kick. The favorite exercise of one of the best pyrotechnicians of his generation, this free kick was hit well enough to land under the bar for Heinz Lindner (1-0, 25me). What followed was another rhetorical figure, this time coming from a recovery in the rival area and a crossed missile in the left corner of the Austrian goalkeeper (2-0, 51me). Classic. To the statistics, Gareth therefore added the second level, with intense activity on the attack front of the Dragons, captain’s armband on his arm and 101me layer in the bag.

Because that is precisely where the 32-year-old’s strength lies. In his ability to transcend under the red tunic, despite the commotion generated by his situation in the club. Banned from Real Madrid since Zidane’s second era, Gareth Bale never looked as accomplished as when he was away from the White House. Sharp, where many undesirables are delivered, the person in question rarely disappoints when he gets enough playing time. This is shown by his successful loan to Tottenham last season (16 goals in 34 appearances). Weakened by 270 bad minutes played in this 2021-2022 campaign (spread over five games, none of which were played in full), he therefore has a hard time remembering his value. This same value forgotten for almost two years.

Revenge of the lazy golfer

In selection, this performance is all the more noticeable. Decisive in Wales’s last five outings (five goals, one assist), Bale has been able to stay in the momentum of a generally successful European Championship, completed in the round of 16. Precise and powerful shots, endless rides or formidable hooks: this first round of the World Cup play-offs brought everything up to date.

Aware of his repercussion and of the responsibilities incumbent on him in the national team, the top scorer in the history of the Welsh (38 pawns) does everything possible to erase this image of the indifferent golfer, in favor of an unfailing dedication to the welsh. And the return of the Welsh to the footballing limelight is just one legitimate illustration of this. “I can tell you that I am in excellent shape for these play-offs.narrated in the columns of guardian before challenging Austria. Anyway, even if he was injured, he would have played, he would have fought until the end and he would have left everything on the field. For my country, I put everything. » A statement that, behind its air of cliché, actually reveals the state of mind of an old veteran, eager to lead an emerging workforce to the heights known to him: “Beautiful moments in the national team, I have lived them. And this experience must now serve this new group. I can think of absolutely nothing, apart from the selection. I’m not worried about my situation at the club, or what people say, or my future. The aim is to see the Welsh experience a World Cup! »

One step away from the absolute dream, Wales can therefore count on their Gareth Bale. Captain, technical leader and, above all, player far from finished.

By Adel Bentaha

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