1 DOHA: Gareth Bale said he was ready for a tough trip from the United States as he prepared for the “incredible” challenge of captaining Wales to their World Cup match since 1958 on Monday.
Bale will meet Wales’ captain against the United States in the opening match on Monday, his country’s first World Cup finals since losing to Pele’s Brazil in the quarter-finals 64 years ago.
“As a kid you dream of seeing Wales at the World Cup but to actually be in the team that achieves that is a great feeling and an honor to be able to do that for our country,” Bale told reporters on Sunday.
“Everybody’s been dreaming about it for a long time. We had so many close calls. For us to be the team to cross the line was incredible.
“But most importantly it is the best thing to develop football in our country, to inspire another generation. By doing this, we hope to have a stronger national team in the future.”
Bell’s Los Angeles FC teammate, Clean Acosta, said last week that the US players would need to “kick” the Welsh captain if necessary.
“I tried to avoid him kicking me the last two weeks before we came,” Bale joked.
“Nothing new. I’m used to getting kicks on the field, nothing has changed. I’m sure it’s going to be a fair game, but tough and you’ll play with great spirit.”
Wales reached the semi-finals at Euro 2016 and again reached the knockout stage at last year’s European Championship.
Despite suffering from injury and a lack of match intensity, the 33-year-old Bale was the driving force for a successful World Cup qualifying campaign.
The former Real Madrid star has only started twice since joining Los Angeles FC in June, but Bale is used to rising to the big event and insists he is ready to deliver in Qatar.
“I’m where I want to be,” Bell said. “I’m here the night before the first game and I’m ready to go.”
“We all trained really hard last week, adjusting to the heat, the time zones, and we have no excuses now.”
Wales will miss experienced midfielder Joe Allen, who was ruled out by manager Rob Page for the Group B opener.
Allen, a regular in Wales’ midfield for the last two Euros, has not played for Swansea since September due to a hamstring injury.
“It probably won’t work if I’m being completely honest with you. We could have pushed him maybe but then if he collapses he will definitely be out of the tournament,” Page said.
Page also confirmed that Bale will wear a rainbow armband as part of the “OneLove” campaign to promote diversity and inclusion, adding that FIFA has not attempted to intervene.