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World Cup: Bale hoping to face Belgium

Wales star Gareth Bale has allayed injury fears after coming off at half-time in Saturday's World Cup qualifying win over Belarus and insists he is now looking ahead to Tuesday's clash against Belgium.

(This article was originally published on 14.11.2021)

Rob Page's men welcome Belgium to the Cardiff City Stadium for their eighth and final World Cup qualifier and the hosts are available at 12/5 to pick up the win, while the visitors are 6/5 and the draw is 11/5.

Second up for grabs

Wales are unable to finish first in Group E, that position has already been secured by the Red Devils, but if the Dragons are able to get a point from Tuesday's clash they will secure second place and advance into the play-offs.

If the Welsh outfit suffer defeat and the Czech Republic, who occupy third place, beat Estonia by at least a two-goal margin, it would see the Czechs jump into second and secure their place in the play-offs.

However, this wouldn't end Wales' hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar as they are already guaranteed a play-off place having won their Nations League group last year but, to have any chance of a home draw, they must finish second in the group.

Wales did warm-up for the Belgium clash with a convincing 5-1 win over Belarus and there was also another positive on the night, as Bale returned from injury to start the game and earn his 100th cap - just the second person from his country to achieve this feat.

Fitness worries

There were doubts over the Real Madrid star's fitness after he was substituted at half-time, leading to claims he picked up a knock, but the 32-year-old insists coming off was planned and he is hoping to be involved against Belgium.

"I've obviously been out for two months and it was always planned that if we were up in the game, I would come off and try to get ready for Tuesday and see how I feel," he told Sky Sports. "I was happy to get the reception before the game and enjoy the occasion.

"As much as I would have loved to have come off to an ovation, it would have been a bit greedy. The team is the most important thing. I'm happy to be back. It was a hard road to come back from injury and it was well worth it."

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