World Cup 2022: Gareth Bale – the silent departure of a big star from the world stage

World Cup 2022: Gareth Bale – the silent departure of a big star from the world stage
WM Gareth Bale

The silent departure of a big star from the world stage

England wins in 96 seconds thanks to a brace – the highlights in the video

Undefeated and as the winner of the British duel, England moved into the World Cup round of 16. Striker Marcus Rashford in particular is hard to stop and hits a dream. Wales, on the other hand, disappointed again. See the highlights in the video here.

Gareth Bale’s 111th international match ended without a happy ending. Wales had no chance against arch-rival England. Does the end of the World Cup also end a great football career?

UGareth Bale went looking for a club in the summer to travel to Qatar in the best possible fitness. After becoming one of the best-paid bench pressers in football at Real Madrid and only playing sporadically, the 33-year-old Welsh star was certain: With the World Cup in mind, there must be a club that is outright on him sets and gives him the necessary match practice. Ultimately, he chose Los Angeles FC. Far from great glamor, the league is rather second-rate.

After all, the man with the wonderful feeling in his left foot was able to celebrate winning the US championship with his new club at the beginning of November. But his part in it was manageable. Two goals (including one in the final) in 12 games. Quite little for someone who had previously set standards in Europe and had won the Champions League five times with Madrid. So Bale was able to focus on the essentials quite early on: completing a strong World Cup with his home country.

After all, qualifying for the global showdown in Arabia was almost historic: thanks to victories in the qualifying play-offs, beating Austria 2-1 and beating Ukraine 1-0, Wales made it to a final for the first time since 1958. No nation had had to wait that long between two participations.

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Gareth Bale with his teammates before the game. The Welsh superstar was substituted at half-time

Quelle: AP/Thanasis Stavrakis

And because Bale had scored all three goals in the knockout games, he was able to state beforehand: “By participating in the World Cup, we’ve already ticked off the last item on my list. Because it was always my dream to play a World Cup with Wales. It is the biggest result in history for Welsh football. Everything that comes now is an encore.”

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Bale signed off against England

The fact that he managed to make the jump to the World Cup, which other prominent Welsh legends like Ian Rush or Ryan Giggs had not been able to do, quickly faded into the background. Bale did score in the 1-1 draw with the USA – Wales’ first World Cup game since losing on June 19, 1958. In the quarter-finals against Brazil with the then 17-year-old Pelé – a penalty kick to the final score. But after the following 0:2 against the selection of Iran, frustration was the order of the day: for him and for the entire entourage of the national team. “Obviously we’re disappointed with the results, but that’s football. It’s not easy,” Bale said on Monday.

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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Against their old arch-rivals, of all things, the almost impossible had to be achieved: Only with a win over England, that much was certain beforehand, could they still make it into the round of 16. Things turned out very differently at Doha’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday night. Before the break, Wales only allowed two chances through Marcus Rashford (9th) and Phil Foden (38th). But the 0-0 half-time score, which made everything seem possible, was quickly followed by disillusionment. First, Rashford scored a worth seeing direct free kick from 21 meters (51). Then captain Harry Kane took advantage of a mistake in the opponent’s defense and fit into the middle, where Foden had no trouble executing (52′). It was the knockout for Wales within 96 seconds. Rashford followed up with a nice solo to make it 3-0 (68′).

Is Bale coming back again?

Bale followed the decline from the bench, having been substituted slightly injured at the break. And so he remained pale during his presumably last big appearance on the big football stage. The 111th international match ended without a happy ending for him. In the few duels with his opponent Luke Shaw in the first half, he was almost never able to assert himself. It was a quiet departure for the 40-time goalscorer for his country. He was asked on Monday whether he would end his international career if he were eliminated from the World Cup. His answer: “No.”

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Gareth Bale bid farewell to Wales fans after game – forever?

Quelle: AFP/ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

But will he come back again? At the 2026 World Cup he would be 37 years old. And the EM participation in 2024 is also quite uncertain. Only in 2016 did Wales make it to the finals – and then even to the semi-finals with an outstanding Bale. Not only the fans from Wales may have wished on Tuesday evening in Doha that Bale’s farewell after the game was not forever.

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