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Wales v Finland : Pre Match Build Up & Wales Covid Test Results
Tuesday, 17th Nov 2020 16:58

Gareth Bale said Wales must secure the point they need in a “massive match” with Finland today and guarantee promotion to the top tier of the Nations League. Bale says making the step up to League A is key to facing stronger opposition and gauging the progress the team is making.

Wales are a point clear of second-placed Finland going into the game. “It’s a massive game for us,” said Bale at a press conference today. “To win the group and get promoted is something we set out to do at the start. “It’s important for us as a country to get that winning mentality and that feeling going into the Euros in the summer. “We want to get better and improve and the only way we’ll do that is by playing better teams.”

Bale is Wales’s record goal scorer with 33 but he has not added to the tally in the past 13 months. However, the 31-year-old says his old sharpness is returning, having had a decent run of fitness and some game time since he re-joined Tottenham Hotspur on loan from Real Madrid. “The more games I’m playing the better the body is adapting,” he said. “I still need to get a little fitter and sharper but I am getting there. “It takes a bit of time when you’re a bit older, but I am just excited to get back to full fitness and hopefully it won’t be too long. “Leading into the Euros in the summer, that’s where I want to be peaking.”

Gareth Bale at 31 is still Wales driver to more success

Bale was integral to Wales’s fairytale run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, where they lost to eventual champions Portugal. This time round they may fancy their chances of making the knockout stages again having been drawn in a group with Italy, Switzerland and Turkey.

Wales Covid Test Results

All Wales' players have tested negative for coronavirus after facing a Republic of Ireland side including two players who tested positive. Matt Doherty and James McClean, tested positive after playing in their 1-0 loss to Wales on Sunday.

Wales, who host Finland in their final Nations League match on Wednesday, tested their players on Monday. "We've tested all of our players and they've come back negative," said Wales assistant manager Robert Page. "They've had a tough time of it, the Republic of Ireland, with the amount of people who have tested positive. "The medical team have worked tirelessly to make sure we've got the best care and protocols in place. "We've tested negative on three occasions and that's really good for us. "We're organised before camp. The staff get tested by the FAW [Football Association of Wales] anyway. "We don't have to and then Uefa do it two days before a game and we get those back 24 hours later."

Wales are top of Nations League Group B4 with 13 points from five matches, one ahead of second-place Finland. Winning the group would secure promotion to the top tier of the Nations League and potentially lead to a World Cup qualifying play-off.

"That's why it's a big game - it's for many reasons," said Page. "For us to be able to go into the World Cup qualifiers and worst case scenario you might still get a play-off place, it means there's everything to play for. "The icing on the cake would be to win the group."

Robert Page: Everything to play for

Tottenham right-back Doherty is a club team-mate of Wales forward Gareth Bale and left-back Ben Davies, who both played the full 90 minutes as Doherty did on Sunday. "We spoke to him, me and Ben briefly. I think he is doing fine," said Bale. "He's got mild symptoms, hopefully he recovers fine and does not have any problems and will be back playing as soon as possible. "It's a slight concern for everyone when you have been playing someone and in close contact on the field but maybe not long enough to catch it. "Obviously you're a bit wary but it is good news that everyone has come back and tested negative and now we can concentrate on the game."

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Huw Evans

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