Euro 2016 witnessed Gareth Bale heroics in Wales march to the semifinal of the tournament. We expected a similar performance from the Real Madrid star in upcoming FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, but his absence in the later stage of the European Qualifier round led to Wales’ elimination.
Injured Bale had confidence in his team who reached to semifinal of their maiden Euro campaign that they’ll find a place in World Cup finals, but their neighbor Republic of Ireland left them heartbroken.
On the final day of European Qualifiers, both teams were up against each other and both needed a victory to book their place in play-offs. Serbia victory against Georgia made them group winners, and Wales or Republic of Ireland had only chance to make it the play-offs.
— Wales (@FAWales) October 9, 2017
Wales were favourite at their home stadium in Cardiff City Stadium, but Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side had enough resilience to stop their host going to the World Cup finals. Hosts controlled much of the match, but visitors took advantage of the lapse of concentration in 57th minute.
Jeff Hendrick dispossessed Wales captain Ashley Williams and set up James McClean to score a thumping half volley. It proved enough for the visitors to secure their berth in play-offs and keep their hope alive for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
Current Wales side looked like a team who can qualify for Russia 2018 for the first time after 1958 World Cup, but injuries to the key players forbid them to make it to the finals. Gareth Bale missed last three qualifiers when his team needed him most. Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey faced similar challenges at crunch time and Wales’ best team didn’t play together in most of the qualifying matches.
Gareth Bale presence has already been eliminated from FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 as we witnessed Zlatan Ibrahimovic absence in 2014 World Cup. There are many high profile players we could miss in Russia 2018 including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez, Luka Modric,etc.