England clash will be feisty, Gareth Bale predicts

Date published: Sunday 12th June 2016 3:14

Gareth Bale: Named in Robbie Savage's combined England/Wales XI

Gareth Bale is expecting a “feisty” affair with England when Wales seek to secure qualification for the knock-out stage of Euro 2016.

Wales’ opening 2-1 victory over Slovakia in Bordeaux on Saturday evening has given them a great chance to progress into the last 16 of their first major tournament for 58 years.

And with Group B rivals England held 1-1 by Russia in Marseille, the pressure is really on Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions to win the ‘Battle of Britain’ in Lens on Thursday.

“We understand it’s going to be a derby,” said Bale, who said before the weekend that England could not match Wales for pride and passion.

“It’s going to be feisty. But we’ll prepare well.

“We’ll be preparing for the next four days for the next game, and no matter who it is we’re trying to win.

“We’re concentrating on ourselves and nobody else – and we’ll be ready for the game.”

Real Madrid forward Bale set Wales on their way in Bordeaux with a trademark free-kick, his 20th goal for his country after scoring seven times in qualification.

It put Bale on his own in fifth place on the all-time Wales list, and within eight of equalling record goalscorer Ian Rush.

“Obviously on a personal level it’s great to get the goal, but it really doesn’t matter who scores – we just want the points,” said Bale.

“We want the wins and we want to go as far as we can in this tournament.

“But we are just going to concentrate on the next game.

“We want to win the game, we want to play well and we want to do everything we did against Slovakia.”

Bale said winning their first game of the tournament was vital to Wales’ campaign.

“We weren’t concentrating on anything else than Slovakia,” Bale said.

“We have just worked hard as a team, we ran until we couldn’t run any more.

“We were under the cosh a bit towards the end, but our fans were the 12th man and pulled us through.”

Joe Allen was named the official man of the match as he underlined his importance to Chris Coleman’s team after injury.

Allen was crucial in preventing Slovakia dangerman Marek Hamsik from being a major influence on the game, while his ability to break up the play was often the launchpad for Wales attacks.

“The message was if we lost this game it wasn’t over, but having won it we’re still not through,” said Allen.

“Our focus has to be that no complacency sets in now, and we go into the remaining games with the same attitude, effort and mindset to get a positive result.”

On Bale’s contribution, Allen said: “We’re running out of words to describe Gareth.

“I love talking about him because every time he steps out on the pitch for us he does the business.

“To come up with a moment like that is why we love him. He’s world class.

“You have to mention the shift he puts in, he could rely on the rest of us to allow him to have his moments.

“But that’s not his approach. He’s willing to put in as much work as everybody else.”

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