Football

Gareth Bale wants Germany in Final to face Toni Kroos


Gareth Bale is eyeing up a Wales v Germany Euro 2016 Final so he can prove his critics wrong, especially his Real Madrid team mate, Toni Kroos.

Bale has reveled he’s endured years of jibes from club team-mates, including Kroos, who didn’t fancy Wales chance of making it past the knockouts.

Wales have qualified for their first major tournament in more than 50 years and will face Wales Portugal on Wednesday for a place in Sunday’s Paris final.

Bale would love to take on Germany, who face France on Thursday, after revealing banter between him and Real Madrid colleague Toni Kroos from before the tournament.

“I remember Toni Kroos saying we’d only have three games here,” said Bale. “So it would be nice to meet him in the final.

“It was a good laugh and a joke – a bit of banter – but I’ve had a lot of abuse over the years.

“When we used to lose and we were 100th in the world, people would say, ‘You have nine weeks’ holiday instead of two’.

“So it’s great to finally be in a major tournament actually doing great things with our national team.”

The semi-finals are further than Wales have ever been in a major tournament, with the 3-1 win over Belgium taking them past the quarter-final stage the famous 1958 World Cup team of Ivor Allchurch and company managed.

But Bale says there was always belief inside Coleman’s camp that they would be able to cause a major upset.

“We’ve obviously exceeded a lot of people’s expectations, we understand that,” he added. “But we always believed we could go all the way – you see the fairytale of Greece and Denmark in the past and you think, ‘Why can’t we do it?’.

“We grew as a team in qualifying and we’ve just grown more throughout the tournament. The England game [a 2-1 loss] we learned from our mistakes of not passing the ball.

“When we’ve had to win ugly we’ve won ugly, and when we’ve had to play football we’ve played football.

“I fully believed that we could do something, that is why I booked my holiday for the 11th [of July]. I am not like the others. We gained a lot of confidence, especially from the Belgium game in qualifying.

“We felt we could beat the big teams and we have grown from there. We learned a lot from the first two games against Slovakia and England, we have really progressed since then and got a lot more confident.”