Gareth Bale is left to punish ‘sloppy mistakes’ after Wales surrendered too soon in the defeat against Belgium … the striker invites his teammates to return to the next qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup against the Czech Republic
- REPORT: Wales sees its strong start in vain as Belgium sweeps them aside
- Harry Wilson finished a great team move for 1-0, but Wales soon fell
- Kevin de Bruyne responded before Thorgan Hazard headed ahead of Belgium
- Gareth Bale was due to lament on Wednesday for the ‘sloppy mistakes’ that cost Wales
Gareth Bale blamed “sloppy mistakes” for Wales ’defeat in the opening qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup against Belgium.
Wales led through an excellent opener in the 10th minute by Harry Wilson – the product of a sweeping move of 17 passes and a great Bale pass, before Belgium returned the win with 3: 1 in a way befitting the first world team.
Kevin De Bruyne, Thorgan Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, from the penalty spot, were targeted, while Belgium avenged their quarter-final defeat at Euro 2016 by Wales in Leuven.
Gareth Bale blames “sloppy mistakes” for Wales’ defeat to Belgium on Wednesday night
‘It was great to score an early goal. We felt that we were well placed, that our game plan was going well, ‘said Bale Sky Sports after the first competitive defeat in Wales in 12 games.
‘A few sloppy mistakes brought them back inside. We know they have a great side and they have great players. When you make a mistake, you will be punished.
‘We went into the half with 2-1 and still in the game. We came out of the second half and made a few small changes tactically and we were in the game for the big parts.
Harry Wilson broke the deadlock after finishing a wonderful team move for Wales
‘No team has created too many chances, especially clear ones.
‘We’re disappointed to lose, but we knew it was going to be tough here and we have to get positive things out of this into the next games.’
The next qualifier for Wales plays against the Czech Republic – which opened its qualifying campaign with a 6-2 victory away to Estonia – on Tuesday in Cardiff.
The Czechs play against Belgium at home on Saturday, while Wales entertains Mexico in a friendly against Cardiff, who will almost certainly see interim manager Robert Page, most, if not all, of his edge players.
Kevin de Bruyne (center) pulled Belgium to the level with a stunning shot from range in the first half
“We have to refuse,” said Bale, who was withdrawn in the final phase as a precaution.
‘We have to understand that this was against team no. 1 in the world, let us not be too strict with ourselves. Let’s go again.
‘It’s hard to score with their amount of possession and we weren’t lucky enough to admit a bit of what is probably an easy penalty.
Connor Roberts (right) slips to Thorgan Hazard to score for Belgium’s second home goal
‘It killed the game a bit, but we showed the spirit to move on as always to score another goal. But it was not judged. ‘
On a heavy surface that played a key role in the proceedings when Connor Roberts slipped to allow Hazard to score Belgium’s second goal, Bale said: ‘The pitch was not great at all. But you can’t use that as an excuse. It’s the same for both teams.
‘Obviously in an ideal world you play on better ground, but the surface is the same for both, with no excuses, and we move on.’
Inter Milano’s Romelu Lukaku was booked for kicking the ball away after the whistle
Chris Mepham kicked Dries Mertens as he tried to approve receiving a penalty
Belgian manager Roberto Martinez was delighted with his team’s performance after the shock of receiving an early goal.
Martinez said: ‘The game became even harder the moment we conceded the first goal.
‘Wales adapted to the game better than us and we had two choices.
‘To accept it and let the game go away from you, or to show personality and courage – and that’s what the team did.’