Bale ‘over’ England defeat as Wales eye more history

Dinard (France) (AFP) – Real Madrid star Gareth Bale insists Wales have overcome the disappointment of losing out to rivals England as he looks to fire his country into the last 16 of Euro 2016 with victory over Russia on Monday.

Bale is tied for top scorer at the tournament having scored free-kicks in both Wales’ 2-1 opening win over Slovakia and heart-breaking, last-gasp defeat to neighbours England on Thursday.

“Obviously after the game we were very disappointed, especially to lose in that manner, but we have to forget about it. It’s over,” Bale said on Saturday.

“Our fate is in our own hands, and if you’d given us this at the start of the tournament we would have taken it.”

Wales are appearing in their first ever European Championship, but just need to beat a hugely disappointing Russia side — who have taken a solitary point from their opening two games — to guarantee progression to the knockout stage.

Chris Coleman’s side nearly withheld a second-half onslaught from England after Bale had given them the lead in Lens until Daniel Sturridge fired home the winner deep into stoppage time.

And Bale wants to have an even more central role against Russia rather than relying on their defence, with a point also likely to be enough to seal qualification as one of the four best third-placed sides.

“We’ve spoken about when we’re on the ball. We need to be better, more relaxed, move the ball like we have been in qualifying.

“Maybe we haven’t done that as much and that’s an area we need to improve.

“We’ve defended amazingly but, if we can get the ball down and play more, hopefully I can influence it a bit more.”

Bale was at the Millennium Stadium as a 15-year-old when Russia beat Wales to seal a place in Euro 2004. However, he insists revenge isn’t on a new generation of Welsh players’ minds.

“No one’s even thinking of that experience, we want to go in with a fresh mind,” he added.

“It would mean everything to us to make the last 16 and hopefully we can grab the chance.”

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