Wales' first World Cup appearance in 64 years ends with group-stage elimination after 3-0 defeat by England; Defiant Wales captain Gareth Bale dismisses suggestions it could be his final appearance for his country: "I'll keep going as long as I can and as long as I'm wanted."
Wednesday 30 November 2022 13:35, UK
Gareth Bale intends to continue his international career despite Wales' elimination from the World Cup.
Wales participation at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ended on Tuesday as a 3-0 defeat against England left them bottom of Group B.
Bale played just 45 minutes before succumbing to a hamstring injury at half-time, but the 33-year-old dismissed suggestions it could be his final appearance in a Wales shirt.
"I'll keep going as long as I can and as long as I'm wanted," the Wales captain told BBC Sport.
"It's a difficult moment now. But we go again. We have a qualifying campaign [for the European Championship] starting in March and we have a few months to get away from international football now, which is obviously disappointing."
Asked if he would be involved in the qualifying campaign, he replied: "I hope so, yes."
Wales had waited 64 years to play at a World Cup only to be knocked out by neighbours and Group B winners England, with Tuesday's 3-0 defeat sending them home with no wins, one point and one goal to their name.
It was not the conclusion Wales wanted but Bale was keen to stress it should not take away from the achievement of ending their long wait for a World Cup finals appearance.
He added: "Everyone is disappointed. I think we're all proud of what we've achieved to get here. We have to look at how far we've come.
"Of course, we would have loved to have gone past the group, but football is difficult. Teams go through good runs and bad runs, and we didn't quite live up to our expectations this tournament.
"But we'll take massive experience from it and going forward we need to look at how far we've come.
"To be at a World Cup, if you'd asked us that two years ago, we'd have all pinched ourselves. It's disappointing to go out but we'll all walk out of that changing room with our heads held high and proud of each other."
Manager Rob Page expressed his disappointment at Wales' World Cup elimination but insisted the overring emotion was pride - pride in the performance and pride at ending the nation's long absence from the tournament.
"It's very tough to take," Page said. "In the first half we were outstanding, the effort the players put in off the ball was exceptional. We could have been a little bit better on the ball, but I won't say a bad word about those players, they have given everything today.
"I don't want to talk about negatives, the boys put a shift in. We're disappointed to leave the tournament but if we're going to go out, that's the way to go out, our first-half performance was excellent."
Page continued: "Five minutes before half-time he [Gareth Bale] felt his hamstring. Joe Allen threw everything at it in his first 90 minutes in ages. Ben Davies had to come off with an injury. It was a massive effort from all the group. To get here is a massive achievement. I couldn't be prouder of them."