Round-up: Wales look up to Gareth Bale for inspiration and Italy will not miss Balotelli

A quick look at all the happenings in the world of football.

CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 09:  Wales player Gareth Bale in action during Wales training ahead of their UEFA 2016 qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina  at Cardiff City Stadium on October 9, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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If Wales are to reach a major tournament finals for the first time since the 1958 World Cup, then Gareth Bale will undoubtedly need to be fit and firing in the majority of their Euro 2016 qualifiers. So far, so good for Bale with the opening 2-1 Group B victory in Andorra last month secured courtesy of a fine double by the Real Madrid superstar. Wales are up against World Cup finalists Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight. The spotlight is again centred on Bale, the world’s most expensive player, particularly with key midfield duo Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen ruled out through injury. Ben Davies, the Tottenham defender, has urged the rest of the side to step up their game. “What Gareth is bringing to this campaign is clear – he’s a top class player with the quality he has got,” Davies said. “But you can’t rely on him as a player to do everything for us. We all have to step up to the mark and all do our best to win the game.”


Borussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile says absent compatriot Mario Balotelli will not be missed when new-look Italy host Azerbaijan for the first of two Euro 2016 qualifiers tonight. Immobile’s positive start to life in the Bundesliga since joining the German side from Torino has coincided with a recall to the national squad. His impressive club form is in stark contrast to that of Balotelli, who is struggling to make an impact at Liverpool since quitting AC Milan and has fallen out of favour with new Italy coach Antonio Conte. Immobile is expected to start up front alongside Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza when Italy host Azerbaijan at the Stadio Barbera in Palermo. “There are other strikers here who are playing very well. If they’re here, it’s because they deserve to be,” Immobile said. “I know Mario very well. He’s a good lad, but it’s the coach who picks the squad.”


Denmark striker Dennis Rommedahl is retiring from the national team after scoring 21 goals in 126 matches over a 13-year career. Rommedahl ends his career three games short of the record holder, retired goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. The 36-year-old player says he “hadn’t really thought” of beating Schmeichel’s record “but it would have been great”.


Spanish great David Villa’s 10-match loan stint has galvanised the Melbourne City club into one of the favourites to land this season’s Australian A-League title ahead of today’s kick off. Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer, will play with City, formerly Melbourne Heart, between October and December before linking up with New York City in Major League Soccer. Villa, 32, was the first major signing announced by Melbourne since they were bought by English Premier League giants Manchester City this year. Villa, who arrived last Sunday, is likely to play in Melbourne City’s season opener against hosts Sydney FC tomorrow. “I feel prepared. I’ve been working hard,” Villa said. “I’d like for the fans across Australia to have good memories and to enjoy my performances.”


Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has been ruled out of France’s friendly matches against Portugal and Armenia because of Achilles heel injuries. The French federation said Koscielny, who has tendinitis in both heels, has been released by France coach Didier Deschamps to return to Arsenal after discussions with the player and the team doctor. France host Portugal tomorrow and play in Armenia on Tuesday.