Gareth Bale says Wales must learn 'dark arts' ahead of World Cup

Wales lose Nations League match to Netherlands 2-1 after conceding late winner

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Gareth Bale said Wales must learn the "dark arts" to break up play when necessary after his side conceded a late winner at home to the Netherlands in the Uefa Nations League.

Wales, who secured their spot at the World Cup with a play-off win against Ukraine last week, equalised in the second minute of stoppage time through Ryan Norrington-Davies but failed to see the game out as Wout Weghorst snatched a 2-1 win with a diving header moments later.

Weghorst's goal came after Frenkie de Jong had cut through several Welsh challenges in midfield and Bale said one of his teammates should have fouled the Dutch player to stop him.

"To get the equaliser and to then concede was gutting but we have to learn the dark arts to take him down," Bale, who came on in the 77th minute, told broadcaster S4C.

"We need to use this as a learning experience. If that happens again in the World Cup, we need to do what we need to do ... when you play the top teams and don't do the things you need to do you get punished."

Both teams fielded shadow sides – in Holland’s case they made 11 changes from the side that had thumped Belgium 4-1 in their Nations League opener.

Bale won his 104th cap after being sent on for the final 13 minutes, but Wales slid to a second Nations League defeat following last week’s setback in Poland.

Wales manager Robert Page said: “I am coming away disappointed that we haven’t got at least a draw. We gave ourselves a great opportunity, then showed a little bit of naivety, but that is a lesson we have got to learn. I can’t fault the effort of the players again. I am really proud of them for that performance against a very good Dutch team.”

Wales, grouped with the United States, Iran and England in Qatar, host Belgium in the Nations League on Saturday.

Wales' Gareth Bale applauds the fans after the UEFA Nations League match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. Picture date: Wednesday June 8, 2022.

Meanwhile, the president of Spanish club Getafe on Wednesday claimed that Wales talisman Bale was offered to the Liga club by his representatives.

Angel Torres made the comments during the club's new kit launch. When asked by a presenter about the rumors of Bale possibly playing for the club, Torres said: “People may think it's a joke, but about 45, 50 minutes ago I spoke to his representative and they have offered him to us.”

Bale is leaving Real Madrid after nine years as his contract expires at the end of the month. He will become a free agent and Spanish media said the Wales player wants to keep living in Madrid, where Getafe is based.

“This is not an invention,” Torres said. “I had seen the news last night and I looked into the reasons why he would want to stay and come to Getafe. We have to study the possibility and talk to our coach, who is away now.

“He was offered and I listened to them and now we will discuss it with the sports director and the coach. Anything is possible," he added.

Getafe’s claim was denied by Bale’s management team.

Updated: June 09, 2022, 8:51 AM
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