Euro 2020: Gareth Bale on Wales expectations ahead of Switzerland opener | Football news

Welsh captain Gareth Bale insists there “should be expectations” around the squad entering Euro 2020 following their semi-final of the tournament five years ago.

Bale, 31, is one of eight survivors of the Wales squad in France, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Portugal.

Rob Page will lead Wales to their third major international tournament, in a bid to emulate Chris Coleman’s success, with his first game of the competition against Switzerland in Baku on Saturday.

“It’s similar (to Euro 2016) coming into the tournament,” Bale said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.

“At the back of 2016 there should be expectations, but it’s a different team and a different tournament.”

Wales’ other Group A rivals Italy and Turkey will kick off the tournament in Rome on Friday night.

Unlike home country England and Scotland, Wales will not host any matches at Euro 2020, with their second group stage game against Turkey also in Baku on Wednesday before surrendering in Rome to face Italy on Sunday.

“We know this is a tough group to come out,” Bale said, with the top two from each group and the top four third qualifying for the final 16.

“They are all tough teams to play against, but we have to take it one game at a time.

“We are very happy to be here and someday away. I feel good and ready to give 100% for my country, as I always do.”

Bale said he was not concerned about his shortage of international goals, having last scored for Wales against Croatia in October 2019, but he has created four goals in his previous seven appearances.

“It doesn’t matter. I did assists. I always contribute. I’m not worried,” said the Real Madrid forward, who spent last season on loan at Tottenham.

“If the opportunities present themselves to score, I hope I can take them,” he added.

Page, who will take charge of the squad during the tournament as Ryan Giggs goes on trial in England next year, backed Wales all-time goalscorer Bale to deliver once again for his country.


Wales manager Rob Page said it would be an extremely proud day for him to lead his country to Euro 2020, and provided an update on Aaron Ramsey’s fitness

“It’s not the end of the world. If he doesn’t score, he scores goals,” Page said.

“If he doesn’t score, it’s important that he scores goals, and he does.”

Wales left Aaron Ramsey to rest for the two warm-ups ahead of the tournament against France and Albania and the Juventus midfielder missed Thursday’s training session.

However, Page says there are no concerns for Ramsey, 30, who also missed the Italian club’s last five games of the Serie A campaign with fitness issues.

Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey (PA)
Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey has only played 19 of the 44 games he has played since reaching the Euro 2016 semi-finals

“There’s no problem with Aaron. He didn’t practice yesterday. It’s always been part of the plan,” Page said.

“We worked backwards from Switzerland. Aaron has always been part of the process.

“He said yesterday that he was in a good position. This is great news for us,” he added.

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