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Bale hopes ‘hostile’ Baku crowd can fire up Wales


Baku (AFP) – Wales captain Gareth Bale said on Tuesday a “hostile” Baku crowd supporting Turkey in their Euro 2020 Group A match will motivate his side.

Bale’s team face the Crescent Stars on Wednesday and the locals will be backing Turkey due to the historical and cultural links between Ankara and Baku.

According to the Azerbaijani football association, some 4,000 Turkish fans have made the trip to the city on the edge of the Caspian Sea.

“Hostility is no problem. This is what we do for a living. We’re used to playing in away games and being in front of hostile crowds,” Bale said. 

“It’s something we enjoy doing.

“If anything it spurs us on to be a bit more ruthless on the pitch and hopefully we can keep them silent.”

Wales, who surprisingly reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals in just their second appearance at a major tournament, began their campaign with Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

They trail Group A leaders Italy by two points, before heading to Rome on Sunday.

Robert Page’s side likely need to avoid defeat at Baku’s Olympic Stadium to keep their hopes of a last 16 spot alive.

“It’s not always about the performance, sometimes in tournament football you have to find a way to get a result and we’ve done that,” Page said.

“We’ve shown resilience. We’ve identified this one (Turkey) as one we can do alright in. 

“Four points from two games will set us up nicely going into the game against Italy,” he added.

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