Gareth Bale insists play-off heartbreak in 2017 will drive Wales to Qatar as the captain prepares to become the second player to hit 100 caps for the Dragons in Belarus World Cup qualifier
- Gareth Bale will hit 100 caps for Wales in their game against Belarus on Saturday
- He with be the second Wales player, after Chris Gunter, to reach the century
- Wales are guaranteed a spot in play-offs due to their Nations League campaign
- But finishing second in the group would give them a more favourable draw
Gareth Bale has urged Wales to use the pain of failure to drive them to the World Cup as he prepares to win his 100th international cap.
The Real Madrid star is due to become only the second Wales player, after Chris Gunter, to reach the century as his side take on Belarus in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Cardiff.
Wales are already guaranteed a spot in the play-offs in the spring thanks to their performances in the last Nations League campaign but finishing second in the group, rather than third, should give them a more favourable draw as they try to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1958.
Gareth Bales hits his 100th cap for Wales as they face Belarus for World Cup qualifying
Wales’ home defeat by the Republic of Ireland in 2017 cost them a play-off spot and Bale is determined that doesn’t happen again.
‘The way you learn is by heartbreak in football and by things you haven’t achieved,’ said Bale, who won his first cap as a 16-year-old in May 2007.
‘We have had down moments like against Ireland and other situations so hopefully we can lean on that experience and that hurt to drive us on further and have that bit more know how on how to do things.
The Welshman made his debut for his country in 2006 in a friendly with Trinidad and Tobago
‘We’ll definitely be diving back into a bit of experience to try and help us and hopefully the youngsters can give us that little advantage. From when I first came in every player has wanted to play in a World Cup.
’It’s just that internal drive. We know all the fans will want to go to a World Cup, especially having the experience of going to the Euros.’
Bale may not be able to play the full 90 minutes as boss Rob Page will want the 32-year-old involved against Belgium on Tuesday. Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey is also expected to feature in both games.